PM’s response to court: Gilani demurs from writing Swiss letter

Published: March 20, 2012

Gilani maintains in the reply that the Supreme Court prejudiced the premier's rights to defend himself. PHOTO: PID/FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani turned to legal gymnastics on Monday to argue that he was a victim of “pre-trial” opinions and as such not guilty of contempt charges as he made his stoutest refusal till date to write a letter to the Swiss authorities against President Asif Ali Zardari.

His vehemence – as demonstrated in his written reply to the Supreme Court – betrayed a lack of confidence in the judges hearing the contempt of court case. And the prime minister brought that up when he claimed that he had not been given a “fair trial.”

He also invoked Articles 248(2) and (3) of the Constitution to stress upon the president’s blanket immunity against criminal prosecution, saying that President Zardari should not be dragged out in front of a foreign magistrate.

The 24-page reply, submitted by Aitzaz Ahsan’s associate Barrister Gauhar, does suggest other ‘options.’ These are to either refer the case to parliament, or simply leave the decision up to the people of the country. In fact, he said that it was best that people as “judges of the last resort” and “highest worldly sovereigns” decide his fate.

The premier argued that presidents the world over enjoy immunity. “I think it is a humiliation of the Constitution and the state’s sovereignty to present the president in front of a foreign magistrate.” However, once Zardari’s presidential tenure ends, he said, the court is free to carry out any proceedings against him.

Gilani believes there is no willful evidence to suggest that he has disregarded court orders. “I have committed no contempt, nor have I tried to.” He maintains to have “acted strictly in accordance with the rules governing business.”

He said even if he did make an “honest” mistake, the court should point it out as an error, instead of prosecuting him. In his reply, he has alluded to previous leaders who have not been indicted because “the correctness of the opinion of the prime minster could not be questioned as long as grounds existed.”

However, it is for the court to decide whether such ‘grounds’ exist or not.

Gilani stressed that it was the duty of the state to protect its incumbent president from appearing in a foreign court.

The statement also reproduced paragraphs that had been omitted from his earlier intra-court appeal. In them, he upheld how he released and reinstated the arrested judges only to be framed by the same.

He has asked the court to withdraw the contempt charges and recall the notice issued on March 8 asking him to write a letter to the Swiss authorities.

Citing an earlier order dated January 10, Gilani said that the court had itself given six options. Now, he could not understand “why the most coercive one was chosen.” He appealed to the court to refer the matter to Parliament, as was done in the case of the 18th Amendment, or let the citizens of the state decide.

The Supreme Court will continue its proceedings on March 21.

For the full text of PM’s reply, visit: http://www.scribd.com/doc/85957356/Full-Text-of-Prime-Minister-Yousaf-Raza-Gilani-s-Reply-Submitted-in-Supreme-Court

Published in The Express Tribune, March 20th, 2012.

Reader Comments (12)

  • Mirza
    Mar 20, 2012 - 6:04AM

    “He appealed to the court to refer the matter to Parliament, as was done in the case of the 18th Amendment, or let the citizens of the state decide.”
    This PCO SC judges have no regard to people’s verdict. They have not taken oath under 1973 constitution but Mush’s PCO after justifying his takeover. Why should they wait and let the people of the country decide? They have the “moral authority” over the voters and civilians of the country. The ignominious history of this court starts with Justice Munir to hanging ZAB and justifying each and every military takeover. When according to the SC even our head of the state can be tried then they can easily and happily prosecute the generals. Great news for US, India and other European countries and Bangladesh can try Pakistani head of the state in their lowest courts for any crimes including but not limited to protecting terrorists. Great tradition initiated by the PCO SC.

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  • Blithe
    Mar 20, 2012 - 6:13AM

    His argumebts are getting pathetic.
    Just sent him to jail already!

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  • Billoo Bhaya
    Mar 20, 2012 - 8:03AM

    @Mirza:
    How can you come up with such ludicrous statements and arguments, time and time again. Don’t you have anything else to do?? No job, no wife and family?? Troll you are and not a Pakistani. That I can smell many thousand of miles away. .

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  • patriot
    Mar 20, 2012 - 8:27AM

    He should be given the strongest punishment for defying so openly the judges.
    Can anyone else but the PM dare to defy the SC?
    What punishment would an ordinary man face for defying the SC like this ?
    He would be dragged to jail.

    Why is the PM above the law?

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  • syed Imran
    Mar 20, 2012 - 9:47AM

    @ Billu Bhaia

    I totally agree with you, this foul smelling personality by the ID Mirza is an Indian sitting and waiting for any kind of news item which can provide him an opportunity to malign our Institutions.

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  • Dr.A.K.Tewari
    Mar 20, 2012 - 4:18PM

    Mr. Patriot , The circumstatial evidence is always intetpretative and discreminative in nature and hence direct impact on the dicision . Therefore uniformity in law enforcement shouid not be expected . At present PM is getting leagal advice from the best advocate of the country and SC is facing trust deficit in and outside the country .

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  • Hassan
    Mar 20, 2012 - 6:32PM

    I totally agree with Mirza’s point of view. Billo Bhaya and Syed there is no need to get personal…If you cant produce good arguments based on facts then its better to keep quiet as you’re the ones who are trolling. Most people already know the role of these biased PCO judges, their entire history and which political party they are biased towards and against!

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  • Naeem
    Mar 20, 2012 - 7:48PM

    Mr.Gilani is taking a very bold stand by refusing to obey illegal orders of the S.C. Anybody who has studied the Pakistan constitution knows very well that the order is illelegal and is repugnant to the constitution of Pakistan. Will somebody add to my knowledge and let me know if there is any law to punish somebody who forces other people to violate the constitution if there is one than the Honorable Judges of the S.C should be booked under the same law. Today I feel ashamed that I took part in the demonstrations for the restoration of judiciary. A piece of advice for Mr.Aitzaz Ahsan doesn’t waste your time as the SC. has already made up its mind to send the P.M. to jail.

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  • ToddA
    Mar 20, 2012 - 9:44PM

    So this is proof that he is aware and knows or is involved in the transfer of US Ais going to the Swiss Banks and not to his own People to grow food with !

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  • Sundas
    Mar 21, 2012 - 7:36PM

    The PCO SC judges are playing good cop and bad cop. They are not doing anything unconstitutional (like trying the president themselves) at the same time they want the coalition Govt to try him in a foreign court. This way they achieve their goal without trying him in a court. Otherwise it is simple. The SC can determine (which they have without a trial) Zardari has committed crime and ask the Swiss to cooperate. Not start a tradition of any lower court to try a sitting head of Pakistan. If this happens then India, US, Bangla Desh and all other countries can easily try any Pakistani official at will. According to SC of Pakistan if a lower Swiss court should try President then all officers and protectors of OBL would be a fair game for foreign courts.

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  • Fatima
    Mar 21, 2012 - 7:39PM

    Writing a letter while knowing that the president has immunity according to Pakistani constitution and under International law is meaningless. What the PCO SC judges want is that by writing this meaningless letter PPP would self incriminate and provide the ammunition for future. In most democratic countries nobody can be forced to testify against themselves even in cases of blatant murders. Here is the Fifth Amendment from US constitution: “The Fifth Amendment protects witnesses from being forced to incriminate themselves. To “plead the Fifth” is to refuse to answer a question because the response could provide self-incriminating evidence of an illegal act punishable by fines, penalties or forfeiture”

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  • Akbar
    Mar 22, 2012 - 3:58AM

    Person at the highest forum or Status must be heavily penalized as example but not to be discriminated.

    Besides all, second order in contempt proceeding creates space to be played as scope of the proceeding restricts to adjudge whether there was specific contempt or not.

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