Contempt case: Govt to file review plea on Gilani's indictment

Published: February 2, 2012

A paramilitary soldier stands guard outside the supreme court building during the corruption case hearing in Islamabad on February 2, 2012. PHOTO: AFP

A paramilitary soldier stands guard outside the supreme court building during the corruption case hearing in Islamabad on February 2, 2012. PHOTO: AFP A policeman in riot gear walks past the Supreme Court building in Islamabad February 2, 2012. PHOTO: REUTERS Aitzaz Ahsan (R) lawyer of Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani leaves the Supreme Court building after the case hearing in Islamabad on February 2, 2012.  PHOTO: AFP Supreme Court says charges will be framed against the prime minister in the next hearing. PHOTO: PID/FILE

ISLAMABAD: The government has decided to file an appeal for review of Supreme Court’s (SC) decision on contempt of court case against Prime Minster Yousuf Raza Gilani , Express News reported. 

The decision was taken on Thursday during Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) core committee meeting, in which Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan briefed the government about all the details related to the case.

Earlier in the day, the SC concluded its hearing of the contempt case against Prime Minister Gilani and summoned the premier on February 13. The court said that it will frame charges against the prime minister during the hearing.

“After the preliminary hearing, we are satisfied prima facie that there is enough case for further proceedings,” announced the court.

During today’s hearing, Barrister Ahsan strengthened his argument by presenting Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry’s earlier order which stated that the prime minister is obliged to take advice in all matters before taking any decision.

Ahsan had stressed in the last hearing that Gilani did not take the decision of not writing the letter to Swiss authorities himself, but was instead advised to take the step.

He argued that following the chief justice’s earlier order, Gilani was supposed to seek advice from the Law Ministry and the Human Rights Division before taking any action, and the advice he received in the NRO implementation case was not in favour of the court’s decision.

“In any civil or military issue, the government has to consult the Law, Justice and Human Rights Division,” he remarked. “According to the Rules of Business 1973, the prime minister should have consultations before taking any decision.”

Justice Nasirul Mulk, heading the nine-member bench, remarked that the premier was efficient in listening to the Law Ministry and the Human Rights Division, but did not give due consideration to the court’s orders. “The prime minister has the right to turn down Law Ministry’s advice,” Justice Athar pointed out.

The court said that if Ahsan ensures that its order in the NRO implementation case is followed, then the contempt case will be closed; however, Ahsan did not provide any assurances.

‘No Swiss cases against president, prime minister’

In a surprising revelation, Ahsan presented to the court a summary from September 23, 2010, which stated that there were no cases against the prime minister and the president in Switzerland.

He told the court that the Swiss authorities wrote a letter to Pakistani authorities asking for evidence, in reply to which, the government assured them that all the cases were closed in the country owing to the NRO.

The Swiss authorities closed the cases on lack of evidence, said Ahsan.

The court expressed surprise over the summary and asked why it has never been presented in any of the previous hearings, adding that if the cases are closed, then why is the government afraid of writing the letter.

The government should write the letter for our satisfaction, and then we will see what the Swiss authorities have to say in reply, the judicial bench maintained.

Ahsan also questioned the court that if it can send notices to Bhutto, Nawaz Sharif and Gilani, then why it can’t initiate any action against the generals who were involved in arresting the judges.

Saving the court from embarrassment

Ahsan remarked that he wants to save the court from embarrassment, which can happen if a letter is written to the Swiss authorities.

Justice Asif Saeed Khosa responded to the statement by saying that Ahsan is fine with the court being embarrassed inside the country, but claims to save it from embarrassment internationally.

The bench said that a letter should still be written as the court does not care about the consequences.

Ahsan says option of appeal available

Ahsan, while talking to the media after the hearing, said that there is “definitely” an option of filing an appeal against the court’s decision.

“My advice to my client would be to file an appeal, but the decision rests with him,” he added.

He emphasised on his earlier stance that the show cause notice issued to the prime minister should be discharged. The prime minister, he said, acted upon the advice of the law minister and law secretary – which was sent in a written form – and thus, did not commit any contempt of the court.

He stressed that he wants democracy to prevail in the country and wants the clash of institutions to end.

Reader Comments (51)

  • Hafiz Shah Ali
    Feb 2, 2012 - 11:15AM

    The Hon Supreme Court of Pakistan has to be tough to ensure that the decisions of the Court are implemented.
    If Mr Itizaz Ahsan feels that the President and/or Prime Minister enjoy immunity, then he should seek the immunity from the court. Let the Court decide if immunity is available for private acts or only for acts performed and done while discharging official duties.
    let justice be done.

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  • Malik Liaquat Hussain
    Feb 2, 2012 - 12:00PM

    Nothing will happen as it is fixed match.

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  • Shahid Malik
    Feb 2, 2012 - 12:00PM

    Aitzaz Ahsan has referred to Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry’s earlier order which stated that the prime minister is obliged to take advice in all matters before taking any decision. Ahsan’s argument that following the chief justice’s earlier order, Gilani was supposed to seek advice from the Law Ministry and the Human Rights Division before taking any action. Now, if the Prime Minister was advised not to write letter to Swiss authorities, he is on firm ground unless the Judges decide to proceed in an arbitrary manner like they have been doing since independence in general and last three years in particular.

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  • Feb 2, 2012 - 12:06PM

    Well played Aitzaz!

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  • Ali Tipu
    Feb 2, 2012 - 12:34PM

    I have lost all the respect for Mr. Aitzaz Ahsan. Cant believe he is the same guy who once used to deliver lectures on the Rule of Law and Equality. Turned out he is no different to his other companions in this Jungle like society. How on earth can he defend a ‘Kala Qanoon’ like NRO? And if the SC cant implement its verdict, next time it should not expect from other ordinary citizens to treat it and its orders respectfully.

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  • Sajjad Ashraf
    Feb 2, 2012 - 12:56PM

    The judges have this historic opportunity to show that all ciizens are equal before the law. Would they have spared a mortal like me if I had flouted the court order so blatently?

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  • Akram
    Feb 2, 2012 - 1:05PM

    Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani is really a very nice person. He is a sincere guy, who is always sincere and committed to the national as well as international issues. May Allah Almighty gift him success in all walks of life

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  • Mongol
    Feb 2, 2012 - 1:10PM

    It will be a clear discrimination if Supreme Court orders are not followed and the Court finds a way out for authorities not obeying its orders. Rule of law should prevail and letter should be written showing due respect to our courts.

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  • Feb 2, 2012 - 1:19PM

    Mr. Ahsan is playing so well! I like this step to step settlement of the case, this is fabulously played politics.

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  • ishaq
    Feb 2, 2012 - 1:27PM

    I don’t see any legal or moral authority of Supreme court
    Because Chief Justice himself has taken oath under PCO.

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  • Zahid
    Feb 2, 2012 - 1:29PM

    If PM had believed and acted upon the advice of his subordinates in supercession to the Orders of highest court of Pakistan, he should have reverted to the SC with whatever guidance or mis-guidance he had received.

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  • Zulfiqar
    Feb 2, 2012 - 1:34PM

    Surprise Surprise Surprise … I don’t know how many of them are still there in the box !!!!

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  • Sehr.Siddiqui
    Feb 2, 2012 - 1:41PM

    @Shahid Malik:
    The chief Law Officer of Pakistan, Mr. Anwar Mansoor Khan has said categorically that Government will have write a letter and Aitezaz Ahsan had also said so publically that letter has to be written. It was Babar Awan who had a different opinion. I think Aitezaz should also become counsel for Awan as they both are on the same page as convinced by Babar Awan.
    Please remember that you consult your Attorney General and not Party members to conform to requirement of consultation.

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  • jai zardari
    Feb 2, 2012 - 1:42PM

    judiciary is making mockery of itself ,of everyone is in contempt of court then may be some blame lies with the courts MAY BE CHIEF JUSTICE SHOULD RESIGHN

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  • Farhan Gilgiti
    Feb 2, 2012 - 1:53PM

    Law is not equal to Justice.
    Lawyer is not necessarily equal to saint.

    We need to learn these basics. Aitzaz Ahsan is a professional and he should be given due credit for his

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  • Feb 2, 2012 - 2:17PM

    @Sajjad Ashraf:
    No they would not have spared you at all because you are not the President of Pakistan. The President is claiming only that the immunity extends while he is President. Once he ceases to hold that office the immunity would also end. So please don’t confuse the issue. The Constitution grants the President immunity for well settled reasons which are internationally accepted. But unfortunately our court seems to be working out of malice towards a President who was elected not ‘selected’. Why don’t they initiate action against those who incarcerated them without any legal justification? We all know the reasons.Recommend

  • Malik
    Feb 2, 2012 - 2:28PM

    By paritcipating in this case, Mr. Aitzaz Ahsan has lost any credibility he had. His career is over.

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  • Malik
    Feb 2, 2012 - 2:33PM

    Aitzaz Ahsan’s argument that the prime minister, after getting advice from the government’s wiz kids in the law ministry, was satisfied that there was no need for writing a letter to the Swiss authorities is dangerous. If it is accepted, then everyone can defy and ignore the courts saying he/she has sound legal advice and that he/she was satisfied that there was no need to go by what the court has ordered.

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  • Haji
    Feb 2, 2012 - 2:34PM

    Well done SC ! Recommend

  • Ahmad
    Feb 2, 2012 - 2:44PM

    If there is any shame left, both Prime minister and President should resign and go home.

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  • Salahuddin
    Feb 2, 2012 - 2:49PM

    I do expect our honorable and independent judiciary to also summon those generals (retired or serving) who kept the honorable CJ as hostage for almost 5 hours and pressurised him to resign from his post. Doesn’t this act of Coercien against a CJ fall under “contempt of court”. When will our H’able Judiciary take action against civil/military servants and polticians, who helped Musharraf in implementing an emergency against the orders of SC. All segments of ruling elite should be made accountable for their crimes against democracy and judiciary. Judicial activism should be accross the board.

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  • Usman
    Feb 2, 2012 - 3:32PM

    Finally some tough justice. Well done SCRecommend

  • Rizwan
    Feb 2, 2012 - 3:36PM

    In my opinion the Government and S.C are both buying time ,the last date for the swiss case in Sizerland is 1 May 2012 the case will linger on till that and Government of Pakistan will write the letter on 2 May as per the instruction of S.C by that time the Swiss case will be time bared .Government will say we wrote the letter S.C will say we made them do it .In the end every one will benefit from the time bare clause .

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  • Rizwan
    Feb 2, 2012 - 3:46PM

    This can only happen in Pakistan SC seven member bench say write the letter ,PM says i am advised by the lawyer not to write the letter .

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  • Gill
    Feb 2, 2012 - 3:49PM

    “right to appeal” has been massively abused in this case!!!

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  • deendayal lulla
    Feb 2, 2012 - 4:07PM

    The chief justice of Pakistan himself is a product of amnesty deal. He was reinstated by the Zardari government. If the Supreme Court has struck down the NRO,then on moral grounds ,the chief justice should have resigned. Is this not mockery? Does the Pakistan Supreme Court has jurisdiction over Vienna convention?

    Deendayal M.Lulla

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  • Mahmood
    Feb 2, 2012 - 4:26PM

    Ignorance of law is not a excuse

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  • Cautious
    Feb 2, 2012 - 4:30PM

    Is this good or bad? Does US stand to lose in some form as far as its interests go? That is all I care about.

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  • Shocking Court
    Feb 2, 2012 - 4:34PM

    Is this a supreme court or a shocking court? The world sees it as if the Court has nothing else to do, except pursuing the country’s Pm for contempt. Looks like a tom and jerry movie??/!!
    In the process, Pakistan has become a laughing stock.
    When will this country ever learn???????

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  • Parvez
    Feb 2, 2012 - 6:00PM

    Write the letter or don’t write it, is a mere technicality. The perception of wrong doing is very palpable and erasing this is next to impossible, what is needed is a decision that would to some extent set this wrong right and uphold the principle of justice.

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  • Shahid Malik
    Feb 2, 2012 - 6:35PM

    Asif Zardari enjoys immunity during his tenure as President. When he is no more President, the letter can be written by Government of Pakistan. There is no need to make fuss about it. After all, there are cases which are pending before Supreme Court since decades.
    Supreme Court is not expected to indulge in politics nor is it expected to pursue personal vendetta. Recently, we saw all the fuss about Memogate and now all its promoters are cutting a sorry picture. Supreme Court, Army & Nawaz Sharif thought Mansoor Ijaz was speaking gospel truth and now everybody looks like a fool.

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  • Roadside Palmist
    Feb 2, 2012 - 6:35PM

    @Shocking Court: NeverRecommend

  • Zak
    Feb 2, 2012 - 7:24PM

    Those of you still supporting governments stance should be ashamed. Those questioning why supreme court is indulging, the question is why is the presidency indulging into politics. If he is playing illlegaly then why shouldnt common pak man be doing illegal stuff! If president does not intervene no one else would have to interfere in the first place!
    Those of you wondering why mansoor ijaz did not come, please read up the fact that the US embassy in switzerland met him and after that he changed his decisions. That suggests that ijaz was acting alone without US support and the US is desperate not to let zardari go by stopping ijaz from coming to Pakistan with solid evidence!

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  • Roadside Palmist
    Feb 2, 2012 - 7:50PM

    Yeah. That’s sounds plausible, according to me.Recommend

  • Mirza
    Feb 2, 2012 - 8:55PM

    Mansoor Ijaz is still a hero even though he ignored the court dates three times. No contempt and outrage against MI and his lawyer here? All the outrage of the PCO SC is reserved for the elected PM and sitting president. Not a single general including Mush has ever been brought in court even after they threw them in detention. Perhpas coalition govt should have followed the example of our generals.

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  • Feb 2, 2012 - 9:06PM

    Enough is enough. Courts should start handing out exemplary punishments to corrupt in every in every field to stop the destruction of Pakistan.

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  • Zak
    Feb 2, 2012 - 9:15PM

    There are a few things to mention here.
    1) to bring musharraf to court is governments not courts responsibilty.
    2) manor ijaz is providing evidence against government and it is his choice he has not been ordered by court to come where as the prim minister was ordered to write the letter to court. The only reason why it seems government is being targeted is because the same NRO case had been going on for 2 years now. If the gov had written te letter 2 years ago no one would have asked about nro afterwards! If gov was really being targeted then army would have been called on for implemtation years ago. So please don’t distort the facts. The fact is government has supported corruption eg: haj scandal which has been proven! So what do you you want courts to do? If government only did corruption once courts would summon them once. If the gov does it 100 times the court is responsible to call them 100 times!

    Don’t be naive about ijaz pakistan visit. Did you not see the open threats given to him before his arrival? Sounded very similar to the threats given by Musharraf!

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  • jai zardari
    Feb 2, 2012 - 9:33PM

    mr Zak ,whatever you say ,courts are suspect,you should have listened to president supreme court bar association,democracy is getting stonger,
    PCO courts are becoming weaker

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  • Zak
    Feb 2, 2012 - 9:54PM

    People you must realise that when the laywers movement was on they were already PCO judges. Why did BB the flag of chief justice chaudry mist be risen? Democracy is getting weaker because of these politicians. If they manage to get through this term and then come another term they will ruin the country all over again. So imagine 7 full years from 2007 – 2014 of corruption and mismanagement – on the front democracy seems to be moving but after those 7 years a military take over all of a sudden will become justified because this so called democracy would have had it’s chance! We need real democracy that is suitable for the country’s environment and that is not against Islam at the same time!

    It is not a good argument anymore and it is very rhetorical to continue to say ‘at least there is democracy and it’s getting stronger’! Clearly it is not getting stronger but every other institution including country’s defense institutions are getting weaker because of this government including nawaz sharif. This means in a few years time we will be more vulnerable than ever before! Please rise up in the numbers of 100000′s and I will be the first person to get a flight from London to pak for the revolution!

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  • Roadside Palmist
    Feb 2, 2012 - 10:09PM

    @Zak: While I’m all for democracy, the elected government is a do-nothing government, so far. Everything positive for the business/people the ‘dictator’ did has been undone by these elected politicians. Democracy is a means to an end not an end by itself. I can relate to your point of view.Recommend

  • Aftab kenneth Wilson
    Feb 2, 2012 - 10:22PM

    I feel total bias attitude of the SC in witch hunting of democracy. There are nearly million cases which are directly related with ordinary citizens. NRO, Memo cases and now contempt case are all about who is more powerful.

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  • Sohail Iqbal
    Feb 2, 2012 - 11:51PM

    sorry for aitazaz standing for corupt peopls, those destroyed every inst. If PM is found not guilty just for the sake of Itizaz it will a question mark on SC. right or wrong dicession must be implemented otherwise all crimanls should be released.Recommend

  • Furqan Haq
    Feb 3, 2012 - 12:47AM

    So now the people conclude:

    There was no Contempt of Court comitted as shown in the detail by Mr. Ahsan.
    The SC in reality showed & proved it’s own fallacy by forgeting its last verdict which now stand in its way.
    That Justice is best when Blind_ but Can’t See when it start to use it’s Eyes, now it will take side to preffered ones fall prey to its own trap.
    That a Judge is best when He acts as only a Judge and not as an Arguing Lawyer that changes its argument to prove you guilty at the end of day.

    The People now want to know:

    Why any Verdict or Charges of any sort have not being brought against any of the Illigal Actions Generals have taken on the justice system in particular and on the constitution in general.

    In the end it’s Barrister Ahsan’s “Simple Logic” that’s baffling, not the PM’s actions or in-action.

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  • ZKhan
    Feb 3, 2012 - 1:22AM

    Memo gate drama just fizzled out and now this contempt drama has been pumped in the pipe line. Aim is to keep the masses, media and others busy in such useless games so that no one gets the time to identify the actual problem this country is facing. Those claiming themselves national leaders, none has the courage to defend the aggression which has been launched against ongoing fragile democracy. When PM took a bold stance to allege army or ISI as state with in state, he should had stuck to it and should had preferred to get fired. He slipped back in the hopes of optimism. Since few months it is evident that PM and President have to go. Real power brokers of the country are continuously laying traps however which will prove fatal nation has to see and wait.

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  • munis sargani
    Feb 3, 2012 - 1:40AM

    well done aitzaz.. v all r wid u..Recommend

  • Qaiser k. Ahmed
    Feb 3, 2012 - 1:41AM

    This song and dance is is good entertainment. However, it has been pointed out that the cut-off date for the Swiss to receive the letter is April 12, 2012.

    Is that why everyone is dragging their feet? . .

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  • Said Arab
    Feb 3, 2012 - 4:26PM

    While one should agree with the non performance and subjective approach towards judiciary of the curent government, however, on the other side the Supreme Court of Pakistan has taken charge of every thing happening in the country. I’m unclear how the Supreme Court can ignore the very straight forward wordings of Article 248 (2). Does this mean the Sureme Court had ignored the basic job of protecting the Constitution and is determined to frame its own rules of business for the Country. While I was a fan of the Supreme Court in pursuing curruption cases, however, we should respect the prestigious positions of the President and Prime Minister on which position we an clearly see a change in very near future.

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  • Roadside Palmist
    Feb 3, 2012 - 5:04PM

    I believe Supreme Court judges of late have turned the role of judges more into something like “Executive Judges” taking advantage of the (fair or unfair) “extremely corrupt” image of those in top executive positions. From a constitutional point of view, to use very cautious words, the road ahead has become so hazy, (thanks to an exuberant focus on cases potent enough to stay in the media spotlight) that there is a clear and present danger of an autobahn style pileup. And you don’t need a freaky fortune teller to tell you that. It’s the supreme court’s call.

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  • Aftab kenneth Wilson
    Feb 4, 2012 - 12:29AM

    @Roadside Palmist: I agree with your view point. Sometimes one feels as if there are some extra powerful hands behind this anarchic attitude of our judges other than which we already have.

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  • Aftab kenneth Wilson
    Feb 4, 2012 - 12:37AM

    @Said Arab: We can only hope against this hopeless judiciary which is bent upon derailing the already fragile democratic system in our country.

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  • Pak Afgh
    Feb 6, 2012 - 1:00AM

    What’s going on?
    I thought atleast Judges are above human flaws. If they have Ego problems too then they are no different than the political leaders we are blaming for the system.

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