Hearing of Gilani's intra-court appeal adjourned till tomorrow

Published: February 9, 2012

Aitzaz Ahsan directed to conclude arguments by 10:30am in the next hearing. PHOTO: AFP/ FILE

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.

Reader Comments (37)

  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Feb 9, 2012 - 9:58AM

    It will be a face to face meeting in the court between CJ and Aitzaz Ahsan after the lawyers movement in which CJ used to be in Aitzaz’s car sitting on the front seat next to him.

    But this time the meeting will not be friendly.

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  • Mirza
    Feb 9, 2012 - 10:00AM

    How come these judges were available so quickly the very next day? Were they not doing anything important if at all? Why is the SC so active in Memogate or this case against the govt that no other cases have any importance anymore?

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  • Word Life
    Feb 9, 2012 - 11:02AM

    What a Joke

    Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan Sb proclaimed during the Lawyer’s Movement, time and again, that as long as CJ Iftikhar Chaudhary was in office, he will not plead any case infront of him

    So long for credibility Barrister Sb … You just lost my respect !

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  • Hamid
    Feb 9, 2012 - 11:17AM

    An incompetent individual who is holding the fate of his nation should not be given a chance based on doubts. Doubts can kill million of people in few minutes as we and our neighbors are equipped with fetal things. Its not the system, its the decision makers who makes nation and people suffer.

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  • Dan
    Feb 9, 2012 - 11:33AM

    @Mirza:
    Judges were also available for ZAB case. Were they not doing any thing important at that time???

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  • Mahesh
    Feb 9, 2012 - 11:46AM

    Where the people’s Constitution is supreme and where the Supreme Court is the ultimate guardian and expositor of the Constitution, before the President making claim to immunity, before the Prime Minister getting docked, aren’t the People deserving of an explanation of the Supreme Court’s demand for an act, which on the onset, on the face appears to conflict the very Constitution.

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  • Khawaja Faraz
    Feb 9, 2012 - 12:01PM

    my question is the morals of Aitezaz he on one TV show said that he will not represent any case infront of CJ….. and
    @Mirza…its the matter of Contempt…dishonesty….of the Executive

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  • Zamir
    Feb 9, 2012 - 12:09PM

    @Mirza:
    It is because we have a rotten government and it is a sensible priority to address the biggest problems first.
    It is simple really, if your intentions are right . . . but poor old Mirza, beating the devil’s drum on and on . . . to what end?

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  • M. R@fique Zakaria
    Feb 9, 2012 - 12:22PM

    Besides being a Barrister, Aitzaz Ahsan is also a politician and he has proved that politicians never practice what they preach.

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  • khan
    Feb 9, 2012 - 12:30PM

    @word life

    yes you are right ….this guy used to be respectable now …………….of nowhere

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  • Feb 9, 2012 - 12:37PM

    One thing i don’t understand why PPP is not willing to write letter to Swiss authorities, though the courts interference in executive’s affairs is also questionable but writing a letter will simply solve the problems

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  • Tariq
    Feb 9, 2012 - 12:51PM

    The no. of likes for Mirza’s comment says it all.
    @Word Life: loss of respect for an individual is nothing compared to loss of respect for an institution. Go figure!

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  • Beatle
    Feb 9, 2012 - 1:11PM

    @Dan:
    And what have they done so far? Put-off the hearing for indefinite time based on shallow excuses !!!

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  • Beatle
    Feb 9, 2012 - 1:16PM

    Here it goes. There are no limits to hatred and shamelessness.

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  • Khawlah
    Feb 9, 2012 - 1:20PM

    @Mirza: Agree with you. Justice Durab Patel once said ““Judicial activism of this second type (where judges feel they know better than parliament what the law should be) is likely to involve judges in political and religious controversies…this type of judicial activism may lead judges to seek publicity”

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  • sajid, india
    Feb 9, 2012 - 1:29PM

    in above picture, aitzaz ahsan look like james bond.

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  • Hasan
    Feb 9, 2012 - 1:32PM

    The patience of the Supreme Court is admirable and highlights the high level of integrity currently on the bench. The PPP, led government, however, never fails to show us their ineptitude. As for Mr. Gilani, he is obviously not skilled to perform the role of PM. He only ever opens his mouth to change his feet. More often than not he has both feet firmly wedged in his mouth, which leaves him with no legs to stand on. Mr. Prime Minister, for the sake of Pakistan, it is time for you to resign as your are an embarrassment to both our country and no doubt to your family as well – although I seriously doubt your family would know how to suffer embarrassment!

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  • Justice
    Feb 9, 2012 - 1:43PM

    Every Head of State (including President of Pakistan) has sovereign immunity from prosecution in other country under Vienna Protocol 1961/63. If Prime Minister writes a letter that means Pakistani is surrendering its right of protection to President. In future any court anywhere in world can call a Pakistani PM/President and we can not claim protection.

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  • A
    Feb 9, 2012 - 1:47PM

    @Mirza:
    Yes they are available so quickly so that our problem (i.e. corruption, NRO ) which was created in dictatorship era could be solved quickly.

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  • A
    Feb 9, 2012 - 1:49PM

    @Khawlah:
    Its a matter of national interest.

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  • Zamir
    Feb 9, 2012 - 2:07PM

    @Tariq:
    The number of likes for Mirza’s comment shows just how wrong the moral compass of this society has become!

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  • Feb 9, 2012 - 2:29PM

    appeal itself was in contempt of the court,
    note the above written remarks and let your mind
    to come to the conclusion,that would be the judgement
    on the appeal.

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  • Lt Col Imtiaz Alam (retd)
    Feb 9, 2012 - 2:55PM

    The PM should have been punished long time back. Travesty of Justice.

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  • jock
    Feb 9, 2012 - 2:57PM

    During the lawyers’ movement, Aitzaz once stated on record that he would never appear before Chief Justice Iftikhar’s court.

    “I am a slave to the words that I’ve spoken, and master of those that I haven’t.” Hazrat Ali RA.

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  • CB Guy
    Feb 9, 2012 - 3:37PM

    @ Mahesh: no constitution provides immunity to anyone who has committed a criminal offence in personal capacity. Besides immunity applies only to cases (non-criminal in nature and as a head of state) not against cases when you are a no body. The Mrs. and Mr. Bhutto Zardari were infact fined 10 million dollars each in one of the cases in Switzerland. This case should go ahead and this money, like the other billions of dollars should comw back to the people of Pakistan.

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  • Madiha R.
    Feb 9, 2012 - 3:56PM

    stance.

    stance. > 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.stance.

    Mashallah! What a ‘mature’ stance!!! How active participation in restoration of judges movement is a certificate that PM is holy? Does this mean that every lawyer/person who participated in the said movement can not be questioned ever if they commit contempt of court?

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  • Muhammad
    Feb 9, 2012 - 4:15PM

    Fully agreed that Prime Minister should be nabbed for contempt, But please also an order given by the same judiciary about the emergency was flouted and no contempt proceedings have been initiated. Is this the only problem facing the country. Just look at sindh high court where a few dozen vacancies are lying vacant can the judges please look into that as well in a speedy manner the way the have taken up this case. Also if today the missing persons are not produced will contempt be initiated. No one is saying that this is the best government but the judiciary is controversial as well they are asking the PM to give in writing about the sacking of army chief etc. are they right to do that.

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  • butt jee
    Feb 9, 2012 - 4:33PM

    @Mirza:
    For such cases which are too important and have serious implications and ramifications for the country, normal court cases can always be removed from the cause list. There is nothing so curious about it that needs to be questioned. After all the court has already waited for over two years before reaching this stage when they must be fed up with the Government’s delaying tactics.Recommend

  • butt jee
    Feb 9, 2012 - 4:40PM

    @Dan:
    Bhutto was tried for only for the murder of Nawab Muhammad Ahmad Qasuri. His trial could have prolonged further if he would have been tried for many other political murders for which he was blamed by the bereaved families. Murder of Khawaja Rafiq, father of Mr. Saad Rafiq is just one such example out of many political murders which are generally perceived to be engineered by Mr. Bhutto.

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  • butt jee
    Feb 9, 2012 - 4:55PM

    Aitezaz is an experienced lawyer. He should have known that the cases cannot be won on flimsy or emotional arguments. If his argument was to be accepted then tomorrow all those over two million people who had participated in the long march for the restoration of judiciary would become eligible to claim immunity against the contempt of court. I think in his bid to wash the dirty linen of corrupt leadership, he has lost his mind due to his frustration on account of his failure to find any convincing argument. Recommend

  • Sajjad Ashraf
    Feb 9, 2012 - 4:55PM

    As a citizen of Pakistan the question is simple. The PM was ordered to do take an action by the highest court. If he was sincere, as he claims, he should have come back to the court earlier and taken the plea of immunity. He did not. The question is will the court treat thos disobedience any differently – should not – if this nation is to be counted amongst respected nations.

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  • Zubair Kamal
    Feb 9, 2012 - 5:40PM

    Its been more than four years I have never witness any action my brilliant PM have ever taken against corruption. However, his name usually comes with the ones who are making sure nothing go clean in Pakistan. It was always the same judiciary which tried to intervene and stopped these experts at work. I hope Gillani and others to follow get a good chance to learn a lesson for future.

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  • Qaiser k. Ahmed
    Feb 9, 2012 - 5:41PM

    The letter has to be written.

    Gilani needs to go to jail.

    Aitzaz Ahsan should be barred for attempting to influence the Supreme Court.

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  • Truth writer
    Feb 9, 2012 - 5:45PM

    @Justice:

    But Our respected president has done this corruption in his personal capacity even before appointed president. No country in this world will appoint the most corrupt and thief person as their president except Pakistan

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  • Chanakya
    Feb 9, 2012 - 6:10PM

    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.

    This is not correct. The then AG wrote to withdraw the cases citing NRO.It seems Mr. AA is being too loyal to his party boss.Recommend

  • Mehwish
    Feb 9, 2012 - 6:49PM

    Aitzaz Ahsan lost his professionalism in this case just for the sake of unknown reasons.

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  • Aftab kenneth Wilson
    Feb 9, 2012 - 10:22PM

    Why the government is so reluctant to write a letter to the Swiss authority because the day they do so it will automatically be assumed that the president has no immunity at home under article 248. Why SC wants to implicate the president of their own country and that also at the hands of its own PM is a question of most importance. The most interesting thing about these judges is that they are all on one page when ever any case is filed against the present leadership in both LHC and SC. I totally agree with the arguments of Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan. The removal of three articles from the petition looks like a trap set for the government just as was done with NRO.

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