Defiance: Allies renew ‘support for democracy’

Published: February 13, 2012

Zardari and Gilani chaired a PPP core committee meeting. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

ISLAMABAD: All political players in the ruling coalition have resolved to ‘protect’ democracy in case Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani loses his office in the event of a conviction by the Supreme Court in the contempt case.

“It was our decision, our commitment. We will not let the system fall in any case. Even if Gilani has to go,” said a senior Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader on the eve of the premier appearing before the apex court to face contempt charges.

President Asif Ali Zardari chaired the meeting of key leaders from all the parties from governing coalition and at least three officials from various groups said all had assured their support to the system.

“Everybody looked to be on the same page … all said they would stand behind democracy,” the PPP official added in what appeared to be calculated remarks without explicitly mentioning whether the allies’ backing was only for the system or for the premier as well. None of the officials who spoke to The Express Tribune were, however, forthcoming to elaborate what would be the plan in case Gilani had to step down after facing conviction in the case after failing to implement the 2009 court decision on the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO).

At the centre of the NRO lies a conflict between the government and the top judicial body on whether Gilani, as the chief executive, should write a letter to Swiss authorities to reopen closed graft case against President Zardari.

The PPP had been maintaining that Zardari was immune from any criminal charges against him as long as he holds office, while the Supreme Court insisted Gilani would have to send a letter to Switzerland in any case.

The participant at the meeting said there was a consensus among all the coalition partners that the letter would never be written. “That is out of question … there is no way our government can do that,” the PPP leader said.

There were fears of trouble at the court premises on Thursday as MPs from the ruling coalition and PPP workers had been asked to accompany the premier as they did last time.

On the other hand, lawyers from local bar councils have also apparently decided to converge at the main boulevard in front of the Supreme Court to support Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry against the government.

Tight security measures have been ordered to avoid any trouble.

(Read: Can Aitzaz pull the chestnut out of the fire?)

Published in The Express Tribune, February 13th, 2012.

Reader Comments (13)

  • Nosherwan Shahid Shaikh
    Feb 13, 2012 - 5:50AM

    I hope whatever happens, happens for the best interest of Pakistan. Whoever comes next will eventually have to write a letter.

    I think Zardari, should resign and face the court, it’s because of him such a time in history is being recorded.

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  • Mansoor
    Feb 13, 2012 - 6:09AM

    Thank God, the allies are siding with the government for once. We shall not let the establishment do away with another civilian prime minister!

    Jeay Bhutto!

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  • Imran
    Feb 13, 2012 - 6:23AM

    The workers of the political party “Supreme Court League” have been tasked to converge to their headquarters by the party chairman.

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  • Chilli
    Feb 13, 2012 - 7:23AM

    This is not about democracy, this is about protecting looted money. Posing clean will not help corrupt regime this time. Alliance partners are squarely responsible for the miseries of common citizens. Being a Muslim we believe that no one is above the law.

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  • Mythical reality
    Feb 13, 2012 - 7:56AM

    @Nosherwan Shahid Shaikh: Yours is a typically rightist mentality. One that despises or doesn’t treasure the importance of critical thinking. You accept whatever is thrown at you by the media which is itself a commercial entity, heavily relying on the popular narrative to maintain readership.

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  • Salahuddin
    Feb 13, 2012 - 8:02AM

    What a pity? If we are doomed as a nation and as a country, army and judiciary in addition to polticians should bear the blame for it, keeping in view their historical role ever since independence. Who will do the accountability of Khakis and Judges? How long only politicians will be grilled? How many PMs will die an unnatural death physically and poltically? How many PMs will be sent in exile? Enough is enough.

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  • Nosherwan Shahid Shaikh
    Feb 13, 2012 - 8:28AM

    @Mythical reality: I think you need to dig down deeper. I was being more positivist than rightist in my mentality. I beg to differ with you, but without knowing anyone you cannot be judgmental on whose critical skills are more strong. I’m no journalist who needs to rely on any narrative to maintain readership.

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  • H.A. Khan
    Feb 13, 2012 - 8:58AM

    Blind leading blind.

    All of them are solely interested in retaining “power” and all that comes with it.

    If PM defies the order of 17 member bench of Supreme Court then what is there to stop a government officer from not following order of any court. and saying he does not agree with interpretation.???

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  • Mai Janat
    Feb 13, 2012 - 9:33AM

    General Iftikhar Chaudhry is at it again. Kudos to him no one asks who hid Bin Laden and why our borders are so porous and don’t get me started who is the most privileged group in this Pakistan.

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  • Hafeez
    Feb 13, 2012 - 9:39AM

    I am smelling a very potent alliance of army and judiciary, to the detriment of democracy and civil supremacy. Lets defend this hard earned democracy, no matter how much one considers the government as corrupt or incompetent.

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  • Karim Alam
    Feb 13, 2012 - 11:22AM

    In a civilized and democratic country, if the head of state is charged for contempt of court. He would have resigned. However, we have a different scenario all allies are supporting the act of our PM?.

    Its high time to demonstrate the essence of true democracy by the government.

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  • Parvez
    Feb 13, 2012 - 2:47PM

    Title should be : Defiance : Allies renew support for each other.
    Democracy has nothing to do with it. Calling this charade ‘democracy’ is a travesty in itself.

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  • Flabbergasted
    Feb 13, 2012 - 2:58PM

    In the game of ‘Democracy’, there is no way to catch the thiefs as they gang up in the name of saving the system of corruption.

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