ISLAMABAD: The eight-member bench, hearing Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s intra-court appeal on Thursday, adjourned the hearing till tomorrow (February 10) and ordered Gilani’s lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan to conclude his arguments by 10:30am in the hearing.
During today’s hearing, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, heading the bench, remarked that the appeal itself was in contempt of the court.
Justice Saqib Nisar directed Ahsan to remove ‘objectionable’ paragraphs from his appeal.
The chief justice questioned Ahsan on how he could include paragraphs in his appeal which say that the contempt case cannot be initiated against a prime minister who helped in restoring the judges.
Ahsan, in reply, said that even if a contempt case was initiated against him, keeping in view his struggles for the restoration of the judges, he would have taken the same stance.
However, three objectionable points from the intra-court appeal were removed on the court’s insistence.
Ahsan maintained that the court should dispose of the contempt notice, saying that the case is not one of contempt whether the prime minister is right or wrong.
The bench remarked that instead of asking to dispose of the notice, the prime minister should be asked to tender a statement of repent and assure the court that he will comply with its orders.
“The prime minister should write the letter – we will pass the order,” the chief justice told the court earlier in reference to the court dropping its summons order for Gilani to face indictment for contempt on Monday.
Ahsan said that it is not the duty of the Supreme Court to enforce the orders, but is the responsibility of the High Court. The bench, in response, said that the High Court can proceed with the case, but even then there would be no way out.
“You have to implement the judgement in any case,” the judge said, addressing himself to Ahsan.
“You have to persuade the chief executive that this is court judgement and you have to implement it,” Chaudhry insisted.
The eight-judge bench appeared intransigent that the government must respond to its request in December 2009 to re-open corruption cases.
President Asif Ali Zardari and his late wife, prime minister Benazir Bhutto, were suspected of using Swiss bank accounts to launder about $12 million in alleged bribes paid by companies seeking customs inspection contracts in Pakistan in the 1990s.
The chief justice insisted the prime minister should have taken the initiative in re-opening those cases. The court said it had shown patience in the two years and three months since it ordered that the matter be taken up with the Swiss.
Ahsan pointed out that the Swiss authorities had themselves closed the cases in 2008, when Zardari took office, on the grounds of immunity, and that there was no third party to claim the funds.
“The prime minister should not be the person to undermine any institution. This money will not come to our pockets. Actually it is the nation which wants this money,” the chief justice said.
The bench was formed on Wednesday after Ahsan filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against its order of filing charges against the prime minister.
None of the seven judges, who had summoned the prime minister on February 13 for the framing of charges, are part of the bench hearing appeal against their order.