Contempt case: Supreme Court indicts Gilani

Published: February 13, 2012

Prime Minister Gilani waving after arriving at the Supreme Court in Islamabad February 13, 2012. PHOTO: REUTERS

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani waves as he arrive at the Supreme Court in Islamabad on February 13, 2012. PHOTO: AFP Prime Minister Gilani waving after arriving at the Supreme Court in Islamabad February 13, 2012.  PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday indicted Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani for contempt of court in the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) implementation case.

A two-page charge sheet was read out by Justice Nasirul Mulk, who headed the seven-member bench hearing the case.

The charge sheet said that the prime minister had violated Article 204 of the Constitution by not writing a letter to the Swiss authorities as ordered by the court. It added that the prime minister also violated paragraph 178 of the court’s verdict in the NRO implementation case.

Gilani pleaded not guilty and sought more time in the case. But, the court ordered Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq to prosecute the prime minister and present more documents and proof to the court.

Gilani’s lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan told the court that he will present his arguments on February 22, while Gilani was ordered to bring sufficient evidence by February 27.

The prime minister was exempted from further hearings while the hearing was adjourned till February 22.

Prime Minister Gilani was served a contempt notice in the NRO implementation case when the government did not follow the court’s orders of writing a letter to the Swiss authority to reopen graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) stalwart Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan is serving as Gilani’s lawyer in the case.

The Supreme Court has said it will only drop the summons if Gilani obeys its order to write to the Swiss authorities, asking them to re-open the cases.

If convicted, Gilani faces six months in jail and disqualification from office in a case that has fanned political instability and may force elections within months.

CORRECTION: An earlier headline mistakenly said that Gilani has been found guilty of contempt by the court. However, as of right now, only contempt charges have been framed. The error is regretted.

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Reader Comments (84)

  • Mirza
    Feb 13, 2012 - 10:04AM

    The PCO SC judges have never tried any general including Mush who has thrown them with their families in detention. They have always endorsed military takeover and their acts of high treason. Contempt of court is a small crime compared to high treason and these judges have aided and abetted every dictator. Who is going to try these people for treason? The history of Pakistani SC does not pass smell test.

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  • adnan
    Feb 13, 2012 - 10:05AM

    Everything else in Pakistan is in line, this one last issue resolved by our previliged ‘Azad Adlia’.

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  • John B
    Feb 13, 2012 - 10:09AM

    And so the show begins.

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  • Syed Imran
    Feb 13, 2012 - 10:10AM

    In what capacity is he waving to the people around. Has he done something admireably good. NO he has insulted the orders of the Supreme Court time and again.He has not protected the constitution but violated it a number of times. He will go down in history for standing by an immoral cause.

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  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Feb 13, 2012 - 10:11AM

    Today Prime Minister is indicted which shows that no body is above the law.

    This is a high profile case which has given much publicity to all parties but still the common man of the country is waiting for the justice to be done?

    The day justice will be served to a common man without any delay it will be the day when people will start thinking that there is a justice in Pakistan.

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  • Nouman
    Feb 13, 2012 - 10:12AM

    A Welcome Verdict.

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  • Hasan
    Feb 13, 2012 - 10:13AM

    Bravo!

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  • Fawad
    Feb 13, 2012 - 10:13AM

    6 month jail…!!! rigth.!.. its his left hand JOB DUDE!!!

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  • saad amjad
    Feb 13, 2012 - 10:19AM

    He’s just following the script of becoming a siyasi shaheed.This will play well in sindh in the upcoming elections for the ppp.

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  • Nadeem
    Feb 13, 2012 - 10:24AM

    His Crime: he is an elected PM, if a general, judges would have been taking his oath! Tell me the name of any judge in SC who has not taken oath under general!

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  • Wellwisher
    Feb 13, 2012 - 10:24AM

    May this day be considered as another black day in the legal history of Pakistan

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  • Fauzan Naeem
    Feb 13, 2012 - 10:25AM

    Supreme Court Zindabad!

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  • harkol
    Feb 13, 2012 - 10:28AM

    This is a sad day for Pakistan. PM will be left with no other option than to resign. SC was acting wrongly in this particular case, with its overreach.

    Having said that, the govt. would’ve lost nothing if it wrote a letter to Swiss authorities stating that the court wants the cases against president opened, though govt. still regards the Presidential immuntiy still stands. Swiss authorities won’t be subject of a pakistan courts jurisdiction anyway.

    Strange the institutions haven’t learnt to work together even after 60+ yrs.

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  • someone
    Feb 13, 2012 - 10:30AM

    Thats what you deserve for defying the judiciary. No one is above the law.

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  • salarmaiwand
    Feb 13, 2012 - 10:30AM

    why does every one is eager to misuse the power despite being oppressed by the power itself. Judiciary and Media are the recent examples.

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  • Hamid Ali
    Feb 13, 2012 - 10:31AM

    Great work Supreme Court. Your mindlessness is supreme!

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  • SaQiB
    Feb 13, 2012 - 10:32AM

    Serves him right!!Recommend

  • Disco
    Feb 13, 2012 - 10:40AM

    What exactly do you mean by contempt charged ‘framed’? It is a court decision, have some respect for the state institutions.

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  • Mr. Honest
    Feb 13, 2012 - 10:41AM

    too little… too late.

    Justice delayed is justice denied… For how long will this case DRAG??? It has already been going on for more than 2 years…

    Just imagine how long does it take normal cases to get decided… even 30 and 40 years.

    OUR JUSTICE SYSTEM IS FLAWED.

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  • Lt Col Imtiaz Alam (retd)
    Feb 13, 2012 - 10:42AM

    Why drag the issue. A lessor mortal would have been convicted & sent to Jail. The PM deserves exemplary punishment as he is the symbol & upholder of the Law. The Chief Executive of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
    Disappointment all over. The poor & the hungry were looking for a change for a better life. I can only pray to Allah to guide this Country out of the woods.

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  • Ahmad
    Feb 13, 2012 - 10:44AM

    If there is any shame left, then both the prime minister and the president should resign and go home.

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  • Nasamajh
    Feb 13, 2012 - 10:50AM

    Justice delayed is justice denied!!

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  • Umar Hashmi
    Feb 13, 2012 - 10:51AM

    How would SC ensure that the letter is written to the Swiss courts? Even if the PM is charged, found guilty and punished, it does not meet the court’s objective. What will happen then? Who would be required to write and send the letter after the PM, remains to be the basic question?

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  • asad
    Feb 13, 2012 - 10:51AM

    “If convicted, Gilani faces six months in jail and disqualification from office …”

    please stop spreading misinformation ET
    true, the PM may yet face a maximum of 6 months incarceration. Nonetheless according to the contempt of court laws this is not the only option the court has. It can even be a bespoke punishment that may spare the PM from any jail time for instance detaining the PM in the court house for a few hours may suffice as a punishment.

    kindly check recheck double check before spreading potentially misleading information from such a responsible platform.

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  • Altaf Hussain, Mumbai
    Feb 13, 2012 - 10:56AM

    Can Supreme Court really find out what the duo of Gilani and Zardari are trying to conceal? Probably a lawyer can say if the SC can authoritatively write to swiss authorities and reach the bottom of this murky business. The issue is not just defying court orders (which the PPP is trying to make of it), the rub is in possible swiss findings, one would guess.

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  • Pakistani
    Feb 13, 2012 - 11:06AM

    PM is facing charges with smile …interesting

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  • Pappo Piplia
    Feb 13, 2012 - 11:07AM

    Corruption is our right, let us do it while in power please.

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  • anybodyagree
    Feb 13, 2012 - 11:07AM

    Both President and The Chief Justice are controversial personalities & their past is Tinted too, so both of them should resign for the sake of people & the Country . . . .????

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  • Beatle
    Feb 13, 2012 - 11:22AM

    Supreme Court pre-determined decision is written on the wall. But by the time judicial process completes, including Intra-Court appeal, the case in Swiss court would die by default on 13th March. However, if they dis-qualify Gilani, another PM from PPP will be there to defy the order. The question is that would they carry-on till dis-qualifying all MNAs belonging to PPP?

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  • Still Listening
    Feb 13, 2012 - 11:28AM

    Law is equal for all whether a poor labor or a PM, SC has not done anything wrong or unusual, please stop supporting law breakers on the name of politics. Let the court work freely and bring the respect of law back in this country.

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  • Madiha R.
    Feb 13, 2012 - 11:31AM

    Hmm, a ‘so-called’ political martyr is on his way to jail … Wondering!

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  • Beatle
    Feb 13, 2012 - 11:33AM

    @Mirza:
    strong textContempt of court is a small crime compared to high treason and these judges have aided and abetted every dictator.emphasized text
    How could they? The guy sitting on the highest chair is the one who authored and hand-wrote the decision to validiate the 1999 coup. It did not end here. They also authorised the dictator to amend the constitution single handedly as and when required.

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  • gp65
    Feb 13, 2012 - 11:42AM

    Gilani is indicted not convicted. This is a misleading headline

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  • Dr Waqas
    Feb 13, 2012 - 11:44AM

    Another delay of 2 weeks what is the purpose of this verdict?With in 2 weeks PPP will secure majority in senate than PM will resign himself.Now i completely believe that this Supreme Court is good for nothing

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  • gp65
    Feb 13, 2012 - 11:47AM

    @Mr. Honest: “For how long will this case DRAG??? It has already been going on for more than 2 years…”

    This case is less than 2 months old. Perhaps you are referring to the original NRO case – which IS 2 years old?

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  • Abbas jaffery
    Feb 13, 2012 - 11:48AM

    After a historic verdict..the supreme will soon start contempt proceeding against the head of MI and ISI in the missing persons as they had violated the court order to produce missing person instead they send dead bodies to the families, this may also be murder charges. The court will also take up rights abuses in balochistan, and also take up the issue of sectarian killing oh yes it will also take up the issue of banned outfits holding rallies and distributing hate literature…. Rule of law is for common citizen, when will the common person of this country of pure get some relief….

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  • Syed Imran
    Feb 13, 2012 - 11:54AM

    The PM is only trying to prove his loyalty to the President and in the process embracing immorality by siding with the wrongs done to the country. He is not pushed what he can do for the betterment of poor but siding with the filthy rich who devoured Pakistani Public money.

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  • DevilHunterX
    Feb 13, 2012 - 12:00PM

    This is a great day for Pakistan, Freedom, Democracy, Justice and other positive nouns!

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  • Feb 13, 2012 - 12:01PM

    Since SC has never tried generals etc therefore it is rightful for politicians to plunder the hard earned money of poor Pakistanis and deposit that with their mentors!? Sorry this logic does not make sense to an ordinary Pakistani like me.

    The money should be brought back. Simple as that!

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  • Dr.BS
    Feb 13, 2012 - 12:12PM

    @Syed Imran:
    How can we speak till SC found him guilty and SC give final verdict, it is charge sheet and one has right to reply, legally. Till proven one is always not guilty and being PM he enjoys certain immunity.It is law of land and nobody above the law.

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  • Santoshouille
    Feb 13, 2012 - 12:13PM

    The bottom line is “Mr. Gilani , if convicted , could be sentenced to 6 months in prisons & disqualification from office . And it directly indicates to create unrest in the country . To accept or not to accept ? Let’s wait & see ” How Mr. Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani will prove his critics wrong ? ”

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  • Zulfiqar
    Feb 13, 2012 - 12:18PM

    Excellent Decision …..

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  • Mirza Zulfiqar Baig
    Feb 13, 2012 - 12:20PM

    Feel like jusctice system still exists in Pakistan…good job done by Supreme Court…

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  • Umer
    Feb 13, 2012 - 12:27PM

    @someone:

    Thats what you deserve for defying the
    judiciary. No one is above the law.

    How many generals have been prosecuted by the SC? Even despite the death of four abductees who recently died in army custody?

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  • Umer
    Feb 13, 2012 - 12:34PM

    @Lt Col Imtiaz Alam (retd):

    Why drag the issue. A lessor mortal
    would have been convicted & sent to
    Jail.

    Really Col.? How many army men have been sent to jail despite admitting to serious wrong doing like Generals Islam Baig and Hameed Gul just to name two? I guess military men are not lesser mortals and are really above the law and constitution.

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  • Tahir
    Feb 13, 2012 - 12:51PM

    Good verdict shows the rule of the law .

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  • Umer
    Feb 13, 2012 - 1:03PM

    @Muz:

    Since SC has never tried generals etc
    therefore it is rightful for
    politicians to plunder the hard earned
    money of poor Pakistanis and deposit
    that with their mentors!?

    It’s not right but its shoes that SC is unable or unwilling to do the justice and is using the excuse of corruption to diminish the power of the people as against the influence of establishment which grows every time SC takes such an action.

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  • UFF
    Feb 13, 2012 - 1:10PM

    Good,….We want Justice for ALL

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  • Sharjeel Jawaid
    Feb 13, 2012 - 1:14PM

    Is it a process to distract the common man, from the real problems faced by country and masses?

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  • M.Ibrahim Memon
    Feb 13, 2012 - 1:23PM

    Justice for All, But revenge should not be taken,
    May Allah help our Respective courts for Historical Decision.
    Every body wants Transparent & Bright Pakistan.

    M.Ibrahim Memon Sukkur

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  • Zamir
    Feb 13, 2012 - 1:28PM

    @Mirza:
    Neither do you pass the smell test.
    At least they have started down the right road.
    Stop supporting corrupt people.

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  • Khanum
    Feb 13, 2012 - 1:34PM

    Justice for all.

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  • Pashtun voice
    Feb 13, 2012 - 1:38PM

    As a matter of principle the Government of Pakistan should NOT write to the Swiss authorities to re-open the case against Zardari.

    Bravo PM Gilani for taking this stand!

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  • A
    Feb 13, 2012 - 1:46PM

    @Mr. Honest:
    Agree with you. Don’t expect any good from this system.

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  • Justice
    Feb 13, 2012 - 2:07PM

    They kept President in prison for 11 years and these charges were not proved. Now they want PM to violate Vienna Convention and Constitution by writing against President! We have never had this biased and partisan judiciary before except during Zia’s time!

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  • Zamir
    Feb 13, 2012 - 3:00PM

    @Pashtun voice:
    More like Pashtun Misled.

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  • Shahid
    Feb 13, 2012 - 3:31PM

    @someone:
    Only Mian sahib and General are above law

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  • FAZAL
    Feb 13, 2012 - 3:36PM

    @saad amjad:
    Balochistan
    Pakistan Peoples Party Punjab 107 Sindh 93 pakhtunkhwa 30 balochistan 12
    ONLY NATIONAL PARTY OF PAKISTAN IT WILL EFFECT ALL PAKISTAN INCLUDING A&K G&B

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  • Aftab kenneth Wilson
    Feb 13, 2012 - 3:56PM

    It is well known fact that why the present President was not willing to reinstate our most Super Chief Justice and is known to have said that “I don’t want any Monkey siting on my shoulders”. In fact the miseries which the whole nation is facing right from the first take-over and the last one of Mr. Nawaz Sharif’s government including the hanging of Mr. Z. A. Bhutto are jet black marks on our Judiciary. Our parliament should be brave enough to net in all holy cows by amending the existing laws which gives them power to behave above human powers. I am in favor of democracy and not autocracy. It has been revealed that there are around 10,000 contempt cases in our courts then why this target killing of a single party and its leadership???????

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  • Nazar
    Feb 13, 2012 - 3:57PM

    Calm down, wishful-thinkers! Mr. President will jump to the rescue of his Premier- I bet he won’t go to jail. What’s the President’s pardon for?

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  • Feb 13, 2012 - 4:21PM

    The Supreme Court forcing the Prime Minister to write a letter to Swiss authorities to know the black money stashed by Mr.Zardari only and nobody else. These judges kept quite for 60 long years allowing all leaders to loot the nation. Now they are interested to book Mr.Zardari alone for the acts carried out by his late wife when she was the prime minister two decades ago. Nobody can say that there is no motive for the judiciary acting in a peculiar way.

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  • H.A. Khan
    Feb 13, 2012 - 4:36PM

    Resign and go home.There is absolutely no moral justification for him to continue as PM

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  • Rahat
    Feb 13, 2012 - 4:39PM

    If we analyze the situation just after sacking of Justice Iftikhar Chaudry by Musharaf, Justice Iftikhar Chaudary and his pro brother justices seem to be responsible for much of the instability in the country besides terrorism. It will be really interesting if a courageous economist can start a research on this issue and come up with realistic findings. Ever since its restoration this highest court is taking up every political issue especially against current govt. at priority basis. Though current govt. could not set up a single example of good governance in any department, impartiality of present judiciary is providing them an excuse for non deliverance. As for as NRO is concerned restoration of present judiciary is also one of its results. GOOD WORK JUDICIARY, STAY IN LIME LIGHT AT THE COST OF INSTABILITY OF THE COUNTRY, LET THE UNCERTAINTY PREVAIL, DO NOT WORRY GOVT, JUDICIARY AND MEDIA’S COMBINED RIGOROUS EXERCISE PLAN FOR PEOPLE HAS WORKED IN DEVELOPING STRONG NERVES AND NOW THERE IS LESS LIKELIHOOD OF NEROUS BREAK DOWN.

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  • zullu
    Feb 13, 2012 - 5:26PM

    Is this the real issue faced by Pakistan……………. Topi Drama !

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  • Malik
    Feb 13, 2012 - 5:33PM

    Well, for those of you whining about why the judiciary is targeting Gillani and not the Generals: Two wrongs don’t make a right!
    Contempt of court by a sitting Prime Minister is as big a crime as it gets, and has to be dealt with.

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  • ADEEL759
    Feb 13, 2012 - 5:33PM

    Upermacy of SC on the MArch and should be followed by the Supermacy of Parliament.

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  • LOK
    Feb 13, 2012 - 5:37PM

    This PPP led govt. had such a great opportunity. Got the power after a dictator’s rule. And just look at the mess they have created. Balochistan is slipping out of our hands. PM President, Chief Justice… all of you, please leave whatever you are doing and move to Quetta for a year or so, otherwise we will hold you all accountable for the upcoming debacle. And we (public) will ensure that justice is served upon you.

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  • Fareed
    Feb 13, 2012 - 5:41PM

    @Mirza:

    Hmm, OK. Let’s get rid of them. Ah, while we are doing this we could also give away the whole country’s control to somebody else, like US? At least people don’t get that much killed over there.

    If you don’t agree to HN here then you are really a lost soul: http://youtu.be/6R66wJi7bUI

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  • Simply Sane
    Feb 13, 2012 - 5:42PM

    @Wellwisher:
    Amen.

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  • humaira
    Feb 13, 2012 - 6:22PM

    let’s see wait and watch not until decision of contempt case but also the Asghar Khan case proceedings and results .After that we would see the picture more clearly because that will give answer of the Question :court is indifferent and unbiased or not ?
    it does not differentiate between establishment and executive or it attack only weak democratic government ………….so wait and watch don’t go on apparent breaking news

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  • Simply Sane
    Feb 13, 2012 - 6:43PM

    @Rahat: You are so right and I believe you are not the only one with those views. There must be millions. Justice Chaudhry in his media oriented speeches always says: justice should not only be done; it should be seen as having been done. About time the Honorable Judge started practicing that too. Great injustice has been done to the most sacred institution’s image in the past 5 years. I don’t know if the SC has an image monitoring cell or maybe it doesn’t think that’s important. Anyways, we are helpless and we are sad. Thanks to the Media, at least we can express our thoughts as common Pakistanis.

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  • Syed Hamid Ahmed
    Feb 13, 2012 - 7:48PM

    Constitution is very clear about immunity to president, why Supreme court is asking PM to write against the constitution? Is not judiciary taking revenge for restoring CJ little late? Is this the justice one can expect from our judges?

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  • Lt Col Imtiaz Alam (retd)
    Feb 13, 2012 - 8:06PM

    @Umer: The Politicians are so tainted that they don’[t have the gall to point a finger at others. People living in glass houses cannot throw stone at others. I just cannot understand your mindset. How can u support a corrupt & ineffective Govt. How much time do you want to give them.More Loot & Plunder. They are Incorrigible’ and conscience less..
    Birds of the same feather flock together. Recommend

  • Observer
    Feb 13, 2012 - 8:36PM

    @Mirza: I had it enough with the argument: X was wrong and since they could not punish X, therefore,everyone in this world is absolved from their responsibility to obey the court/law.

    Fact remains, Mr. Prime Minister is in contempt of court.

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  • Imran Mohammad
    Feb 13, 2012 - 8:41PM

    Where is the resignation? Or is it another ‘only in Pakistan’ thing?

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  • Umer
    Feb 13, 2012 - 9:39PM

    @Lt Col Imtiaz Alam (retd):

    The Politicians are so tainted that
    they don’[t have the gall to point a
    finger at others.

    It’s not about the politicians, it’s the law that the military has violated over and over and therefore the law demands that action musts be taken against such people, yet they are obviously above the law and SC makes no effort to proceed against them. Where is the justice in that? Proceedings against civilians only are just an excuse to weaken the will of the people.

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  • Scientist
    Feb 13, 2012 - 9:50PM

    Roman Emperor (Nero) was playing fiddle while Rome was burning!

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  • Shakky
    Feb 13, 2012 - 10:21PM

    Shouldn’t the Supreme Court be focused on more pressing matters such as addressing the mistreatment of minorities and looking more closely at terrorist groups such as JuD which are parading openly in the public square? Time to impeach these and replace them with a more principled and less opportunistic high court.Recommend

  • anoni
    Feb 13, 2012 - 10:44PM

    Justice delayed is no justice at all. Perhaps they forgot that principal. These judge take so long to deliver justice that unjustice in the end is served. Either speed up or pack up.

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  • Rizwan
    Feb 14, 2012 - 1:07AM

    Right now he is waving as if he has done something admirable. The SC should have also barred his children from holding any form of public office and Gilani would have come out weeping. A permenent end to the free pilfering/ corruption joyride would surely dampen his eyes.

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  • Tilsim
    Feb 14, 2012 - 3:51AM

    The majority of the comments posted here suggest that the PM has been convicted today which is not the case! The PM has been charged and now due process has commenced. It betrays a woeful lack of knowledge of the law and due process as well as jumping to conclusions without determining the facts. If such is the condition of our literate people then what expectations can we have from the illiterate? They will believe absolutely anything that you tell them. The politicians and the establishment know this and manipulate people no end.

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  • Amjad
    Feb 14, 2012 - 5:19AM

    Its judicial fascism

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  • Curious Cat
    Feb 14, 2012 - 7:55AM

    @Tilsim: wow, some nerve. Value judgement on entire group.
    After reading your comment’ I read through all the above comments. I’m afraid You are jumping to conclusion, Sir(or Ma’am) Nobody is saying he has been convicted. Please stop underestimating other peoples’ intelligence.( now don’t start quoting comments and interpreting your way)

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  • Naeem
    Feb 16, 2012 - 9:32PM

    The people at large may be justified in asking why one party to the NRO has completely been ignored in over two years of legal proceedings. Generals Musharraf and Kayani and the institution they represented were an equal, if not the more important, party in conceiving and implementing the NRO. Why is the role of the generals and their institution a past and closed transaction while a martyred civilian continues to be prosecuted? If orders can be made to bring back the allegedly looted wealth stashed abroad, it would have only been fair to have General Musharraf extradited or at least ask for it. But that would have meant not just taking on his institution but also the reopening of several ‘past and closed transactions’ and entail an unpleasant discussion about various NROs — yours, mine and ours. However, the fact is that the original verdict remains a controversial and lopsided one, which had set the stage for the abuse of the dictator-inducted Article 61-F to label the prime minister as dishonest and a liar. Without actually undoing the wrongs done by the NRO verdict itself any relief given to the prime minister will merely be a band aid.

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