PM contempt: Bench cannot hear the case, says Aitzaz

Published: March 22, 2012

Gilani's lawyer says the bench which issues the contempt notice cannot hear the case itself. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: Presenting his argument in the prime minister contempt case, Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan maintained that the bench which serves the contempt notice cannot hear the case. He was presenting this argument in the Supreme Court on Thursday.

Representing Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, Aitzaz said that Article 10(a) of the Constitution provides a right to free trial which bars the bench issuing the contempt notice to hear the case.

Justice Gulzar replied that it does not matter if the contempt hearings are initiated on an application or on a suo motu notice, the same bench will hear the case.

Justice Sarmad Jalal Usmani asked Aitzaz that if a person commits contempt in front of the bench, would the bench not send him to jail. The lawyer replied in the affirmative to which Justice Nasirul Mulk, heading the judicial bench, remarked that Aitzaz’s arguments mean that the very article of the Constitution which strengthens the government should be abrogated.

The Supreme Court had initiated contempt proceedings against Gilani after the government refused to write a letter to Swiss authorities in the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) implementation case.

The hearing of the case was adjourned till Monday.

‘Fundamental right of free trial being taken away from Gilani’

Aitzaz Ahsan, speaking to the media after the hearing, said that it is the fundamental right of every citizen to have a free trial and a due process, which is being taken away from the prime minister in the contempt case.

“There are so many suo motu cases being heard every day, and in no case does the bench issuing the notice hears the case. Some other bench does the trial,” he said.

Aitzaz quoted Article 204 of the Constitution which says that the punishment of anyone who commits contempt of court is defined by the law. “I’m not saying this, the constitution says this.”

He added that he was not disgracing any judge by saying that this bench cannot hear the case as he was only quoting the Constitution and the law of the country.

Reader Comments (45)

  • Shahid Jamil
    Mar 22, 2012 - 11:42AM

    Aitizaz has turned out to be the biggest disappointment for all the efforts by the civil society to bring back the rule of law to Pakistan. The politics of “mufa hi mat” is certainly working. Any thing is possible for the right price. What a loss …

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  • Mar 22, 2012 - 12:00PM

    Every Law is defined by Court not Lawyer so Judges are rights because they had power.

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  • Dilshad Chandio
    Mar 22, 2012 - 12:09PM

    Justice Nasirul Mulk, heading the judicial bench, remarked that Aitzaz’s arguments mean that the very article of the Constitution which strengthens the government should be abrogated.

    The judges will abrogate the constitution if they don’t like it! These little Napoleans will be sorted out by democracy over time.

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  • Spaniard
    Mar 22, 2012 - 12:11PM

    Mr aitzaz your are pointing finger on judges loyality…Sir they are made evn to go against their fmaily member….then how could you say this…Mr Aitzzaz this is just PPP senate ticket is talking…not your professionalism

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  • Hafiz Shah Ali
    Mar 22, 2012 - 12:25PM

    Atizaz is a sell out.What a pity. Private gain prevails vs public good.

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  • Daredevil
    Mar 22, 2012 - 12:43PM

    Mr.aitazaz is also going to have fun with judiciary like other so called democrates of this country doing.this battle will end in a great destruction to the country.

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  • Lighter
    Mar 22, 2012 - 12:52PM

    I want to hold on to the respect I have for Aitzaz Ahsan, but he’s the one swaying away.

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  • Khurram Mansoor
    Mar 22, 2012 - 1:05PM

    Shame on Aitezaz Ahsan

    But 32 Carore are speaking and many more to come with senate seat.\

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  • Ayesha
    Mar 22, 2012 - 1:06PM

    Aitzaz has sided with ‘Mr. 10%’ History will not be kind to him.

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  • ahmad
    Mar 22, 2012 - 1:09PM

    Aitzaz Ahsan is right, these PCO judges are on a mission against PM to please GHQ.

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  • M.AKRAM NIAZI
    Mar 22, 2012 - 1:23PM

    Aitiraz of Aitizaz, is an attempt to devoid Pakistani nation from 60 million dollars in Swiss Banks.If PM can not write a letter, then he should write a letter at least to Swiss Courts to hand over that Money to Pakistani nation.

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  • Parvez
    Mar 22, 2012 - 1:26PM

    I had lost respect for our politicians a long time ago and also realised that our superior judiciary was in reality not all that superior. After the incident of the restoration of the CJ I began to have hopes but now I am just confused.

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  • Lt Col Imtiaz Alam(retd)
    Mar 22, 2012 - 2:01PM

    Mockery of Justice.How long will this mockery from both sides continue. SC should form a Full Bench & finish this Drama by convicting the PM & dissolving the NA in the light of the NRO Order in Dec 2009.. All actions after the NRO was declared Null & Void wef 05 Oct 2007. Therefore the Elections to the present Assembly is also Null & Void.

    SC should install a Caretaker Govt & direct it to conduct Fair & Transparent Elections. Install a Chairman NAB & ECP of sterling Character.Clean the rot before Elections.

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  • MarkH
    Mar 22, 2012 - 2:06PM

    He’s right. If they issued the contempt notice, no matter how the hearing goes it turns into nothing more than a formality because they’ve already convicted you the moment they gave the notice.
    Conflict of interest.

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  • Nabeel
    Mar 22, 2012 - 2:27PM

    The Mask Unveiled…!

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  • Vaqar
    Mar 22, 2012 - 2:34PM

    @Dilshad Chandio.

    How dare you use such language. How would you describe the ruling class at the moment???

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  • Rizwan
    Mar 22, 2012 - 2:40PM

    The respect commanded by Mr Aitzaz Ahsan is all compromised Just for a seat of Senate.What a shame !Recommend

  • dv sikka
    Mar 22, 2012 - 2:44PM

    By dragging its feet to face the courts the Government of Pakistan has lost all its credibility. My sympathies to the people of Pakistan.

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  • popsaeed
    Mar 22, 2012 - 3:05PM

    Apperance of new mafia “professionalism mafia”

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  • Uza Syed
    Mar 22, 2012 - 3:10PM

    I like this Aitzaz Ahsan more and more after every hearing—-great defense lawyer this Aitzaz Ahsan. Good man, great job, tear the masks down and let’s see the true face of what is being sold here in the name of justice and the partiality of those supposedly providing a fair and neutral bench.

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  • JB
    Mar 22, 2012 - 3:15PM

    Pakistan has become a joke in front of the international community.

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  • siraj
    Mar 22, 2012 - 3:18PM

    in this country no one is loyal to the rule of law or costitution, everybody fullfil his loyality to his party leader and thats what mr aitzaz is doing. probably these people have forgotten that they have to appear before Allah on The Day, what will theysay for their deeds? no one has any principles here its their own interests, above everything else.

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  • Ahmad
    Mar 22, 2012 - 3:31PM

    It is so pathetic to know how far (and low) people can go to protect their “masters”,,,

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  • Aafiyat Nazar
    Mar 22, 2012 - 3:32PM

    I feel very sorry for you Mr. Aitzaz for your desperate attempt to fool the people of Pakistan. Your previous statements are on the record… how can your annul those statements..very sorry for you indeed.

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  • WB
    Mar 22, 2012 - 3:47PM

    Price of Aitizaz = one senate seat

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  • Awais
    Mar 22, 2012 - 3:52PM

    @daredevil

    They are not suggesting they will do this themselves, but that the paragraph should just be removed if the government never intends to abide by it.

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  • faizan
    Mar 22, 2012 - 4:18PM

    Aitzaz is not speaking its LPG QUOTA Sir

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  • Curious
    Mar 22, 2012 - 4:19PM

    First Aitizaz, after meeting with Nawaz Sharif (infact he reached Const. Eve in NS car after he got off the Lawyers truck near Faizabad), called off first long march just after few hours (4 a.m ) they reached Constitution Avenue, without consulting the Lawyer leadership, people didnt doubt his character.
    Then in second long march, he said he is house arrested, and then suddenly appeared to join Nawaz Sharif to pre-maturely call off long march, without consulting other stakeholders, he still didnt lose respect and kept on claiming his high moral grounds.
    Now credit goes to Zardari who exposed true face of Aitizaz, by making him defend this case. His soul was long back sold out, its just that senate ticket exposed him.

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  • khan
    Mar 22, 2012 - 4:27PM

    AItazaz is and was part of Zardari network in destroying public institution and to gain personal benefits

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  • Mehran
    Mar 22, 2012 - 4:33PM

    Partiality and biased judgement are poisonous for Judiciary. History is clear on this account that each and every time, PPP is targeted either by Establishment or Judiciary. There is nothing new in it. But in this information and media age, any biased or partial decision will only expose them and PPP have complete right to voice their concerns and resist any illegitimate decision.

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  • Mohsin
    Mar 22, 2012 - 4:50PM

    Long live anarchy.

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  • Sajjad Ashraf
    Mar 22, 2012 - 5:15PM

    Aitezaz is poloiticising a contempt case. He is doing a disservice to the country and to constitutionalism in Pakistan. And then thy blame the military.

    The PM is guilty is disrespect to the highest court of the country and should be punished for his act. Otherwise we can say good bye to law in this country. Recommend

  • Sure!
    Mar 22, 2012 - 5:16PM

    these judges want to do everything themselves. magistrature/trial court, prosecutor, appeals court, administrators, exercise executive powers, amend the constitution thru court orders, interpret if the day is a day and the night is a night. very hard working people.

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  • Mohsin
    Mar 22, 2012 - 5:25PM

    I want dictatorship. Its worth million such democrazies. Musharaff was god in comparison to these gifts of democracy.

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  • Mar 22, 2012 - 6:22PM

    @USMAN NISAR:
    I am disagree with you Mr.Usman Nasar,
    vide the pages of the history,including the case of Doctor Qadeer Khan
    A pakistan lawyer appeared in foreign court clarify their law of the land
    because lower court had made a mistake and violating the law at the time of convicting and sentencing and the appeal court had to accept the stance of our lawyer.

    As you know, Mr.A.K.Brohi, learned Pakistani lawyer,who presented ”nazria zurrorat” and through his arguments change whole scenario.

    Many judges,retired from apex court have more legal experience than sitting judges,they can clarify the due process of law which is acceptable to the sitting bench.

    Some time,a bench consisting on more than 5 judges summon to a lawyer to assisting on the special matter.attributed to the constitutional issues.

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  • Mar 22, 2012 - 6:25PM

    @Shahid Jamil:
    There are human being on the earth
    have credibility to change the direction of the thundering clouds.

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  • Mar 22, 2012 - 6:27PM

    Say everything at once before the commission i’m sick of these memos, gates and contempts

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  • Mar 22, 2012 - 6:50PM

    @Pakistan politics:
    Don’t become sick,
    days are numbered,we have to go,
    but remember,memos,commissions and contempt,etc
    would remained alive.

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  • smj
    Mar 22, 2012 - 8:49PM

    Aitizaz brought a valid Aiteraz. The court is a party in the case and should not be the one hearing the case, we need new bench of judges to deal with the case.
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  • Amjad
    Mar 22, 2012 - 9:43PM

    Aitezaz is on the right side of history

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  • WB
    Mar 22, 2012 - 11:59PM

    @Amjad: No he is NOT on the right side of history but on the right side of Zardari.

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  • Mirza
    Mar 23, 2012 - 1:45AM

    The court has been busy to not let the coalition govt work in peace and harmony. This would provide a good chance for the rightwing fanatics to claim that nothing has been achieved by the govt. In no country in the world did their SC tried to undo the election results and tried to delegitimize the elected govt for this long. While the SC has twice the judges that US SC ever had in its history, they are all busy in memo written by Ijaz, memo not written by PM and slap. There is no other job at hand for the SC which is imp enough than these.

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  • Bravo Aitzaz
    Mar 23, 2012 - 5:29AM

    Hats off Aitzaz, these judges who have no guts standing upto Musharraf until their jobs were stake should be shown the door and gotten rid off.

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  • Very 1
    Mar 23, 2012 - 6:42AM

    @Mirza: I agree with you a million times and I’m confident, millions of other Pakistanis who have the courage to call a spade a spade. In the international judicial perspective I don’t even know what these judges are doing. (and I’m a top world university educated Pakistani professional).

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  • Kathy
    Mar 23, 2012 - 1:12PM

    Sold so cheap, what a pity to lower yourself in the public eye, even arguments are silly. Pakistan will lose the money in Swiss banks, who will gain, Zardari and off course Aitizaz will have his 10%. Full circle.

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