ISLAMABAD, Aug 28: PPP Senator and former president of Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan said on Tuesday that there was no middle path in the NRO case and one of the two parties would have to retreat from its position.

Talking to reporters at the Supreme Court building, he said it was not for the government but the court to find an option to resolve the matter.

Senator Ahsan said Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf would meet the same fate as that of his predecessor Yousuf Raza Gilani if he did not write a letter to Swiss authorities as ordered by the court.

Senator Ahsan said there was no middle path as far as the writing of the letter was concerned because the original seven-judge bench had not given such an option and, therefore, the five-judge implementation bench couldn’t suggest a new path.

“A new premier will come if the incumbent one is sent packing and the same string of events will continue till March next year,” Mr Ahsan, who was counsel for the former prime minister, said.

He reaffirmed that there was no precedent of a state sending its president to a foreign court because he enjoyed immunity even under the international law; hence, the apex court, of its own accord, might give a second thought to its verdict in this regard.

He said the 22-day reprieve given by the court to Prime Minister Ashraf was a welcome development because the court had not allowed this when he was pleading the case of Mr Gilani.

“The court may have realised that the verdict in the Gilani case had been delivered in haste.”

He said President Asif Ali Zardari enjoyed immunity not as a person but as the sitting president and the court was bound to respect it.

“I am quite satisfied with the reinstatement of the independent judiciary as a result of the lawyers’ movement; otherwise, former president Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf would have been sitting as a uniformed president even today,” he said.

The PPP leader saw no imminent threat of parliament’s dissolution and asserted that only the prime minister could advise the president to dissolve the assembly.

When asked why he was not representing the current prime minister in the case, he said: “Prime Minister Ashraf did not approach me to plead his case because I had already lost the case once.” He urged the prime minister to hire a counsel.

Barrister Ahsan contended that it would be problematic for the government to write a letter to foreign authorities against the president.

He said the possibility of reaching a middle ground lay in the option, if accepted by the court, that the letter to reopen cases against President Zardari be written when he ceased to be the president.

“Both parties are adamant in their points of view and one of them will have to give in eventually,” he said.

The PPP leader said the court could make mistakes and it had the authority to review its rulings. He said that if writing the letter was not an issue then not writing it should not be a problem either. The Supreme Court should also create the possibility of an alternative, he said, adding that the court was independent in its decisions.



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