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Yousuf Raza Gilani—File Photo
Former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. — File Photo

LAHORE: With the Supreme Court taking up the government’s review petition in the NRO case on Aug 15, PPP leader and former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani warned on Sunday that if Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf was also sent packing by the court the party would not take the verdict ‘lying down’.

Mr Gilani, who himself was disqualified by the Supreme Court and asked to vacate the Prime Minister’s House on June 26 for failing to implement the NRO case, was talking to reporters.

“Everyday is not Sunday,” Mr Gilani said when asked how the PPP would react if Raja was also shown the door.

Asked if the government would move the Supreme Judicial Council, he said: “An unconstitutional verdict will not be accepted…The masses will not accept it… And we’ll resist instead of taking the decision lying down.”

He said the prime minister’s removal would be tantamount to destabilising the country. “Only and only judiciary will be responsible (for any untoward incident),” he said, adding that the third force was always looking for a chance (to wind up the system).

Although he himself as prime minister had appeared in the apex court thrice, he was against Raja Pervez appearing before the judiciary and said elected people needed to be treated with respect.

Criticising his own disqualification, he said he had accepted it without resistance because he wanted to be remembered in history as a prime minister who did not allow any undemocratic force to take advantage of the situation.

He said if the judiciary did not want to allow any prime minister to work then it should itself take charge and there was no need for holding elections.

“If the elected representatives are removed like this there is no use of the electoral exercise. Just wind up the democratic system and make nominations.”

Referring to the victory of his son in the Multan by-poll for the seat vacated by him after his disqualification, Mr Gilani said he had decided to go to the masses in line with one of the six options set by the Supreme Court in the contempt case against him.

“And the masses voted for us proving that the people are with us.”

He said he would not have written the letter (to Swiss authorities) even if a person other than Asif Ali Zardari held the post of the president because the head of state enjoyed immunity in the Constitution.

He cautioned politicians who, he said, were seeking crutches of the judiciary for reaching the corridors of power that “they are sadly and badly mistaken as democracy once lost will be restored in centuries”.

He accused PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif of always using crutches of the third force to come to power.

Asked if the court could ask for early election, he said not at all because it was the sole prerogative of the prime minister to dissolve the assemblies and announce early polls.

About the review petition, the former prime minister said it was aimed at providing a chance to the judiciary to make up for the mistake (in the previous verdict) instead of winding up the system. “Making up for one’s mistake is an act of greatness.”

He said he would not rule out a boycott of the present judiciary by the PPP because it used the weapon of contempt of court only against politicians but not against others for they (institutions other than political parties) did not listen to courts.