PPP’s plans: Despite conviction, Gilani will continue as premier – Dr Asim is likely backup

Published: April 25, 2012

PPP members are calculating each and every move they might have to take if the Supreme court goes ahead and convicts the PM.

LAHORE: 

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has held exhaustive discussions on the possible outcomes and how exactly they will deal with each scenario emerging in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision in the contempt case against the prime minister

There is one similarity between all its strategies, sources told The Express Tribune: Yousaf Raza Gilani will remain prime minister for at least five more months – come what may.

According to sources, the top leadership of the PPP has been briefed by the prime minister’s legal team.

If convicted, the premier may be given up to a six-month sentence, but may also be sentenced “till the rise of the court” – that is, no actual jail time, the legal team told the PPP leadership.

Whatever the sentence may be, Prime Minster Gilani will not seek pardon from President Asif Ali Zardari – who can, under Article 45, can waive a sentence.

Even in a situation whereby the sentence is six months, the interior minister will immediately declare the Prime Minister House a sub-jail – and Gilani will go directly there.

Indeed, according to sources, it isn’t the sentencing that worries the PPP – it is his status as prime minister following a conviction.

Fawad Chaudhry, while talking with The Express Tribune, said that, constitutionally, the prime minister can be removed from his office in three ways: resignation, a vote of no confidence or if he no longer remains an MNA.

For starters, sources said, PPP will move under Article 94 to keep Gilani in office. Article 94 states: “The president may ask the prime minister to hold office until his successor enters upon the office of prime minister.”

As for his status as a member of the National Assembly (MNA), upon which his premiership is obviously contingent, the legal team’s briefings maintain that Gilani’s actual disqualification will be handled under Article 63(1) h, which states that a member can be disqualified if “he has been, on conviction for any offence involving moral turpitude, sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than two years, unless a period of five years has elapsed since his release.” Or even 63(1)g which states that an MNA can be disqualified if, “he has been convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction for propagating any opinion, or acting in any manner, prejudicial to the ideology of Pakistan, or the sovereignty, integrity or security of Pakistan, or morality, or the maintenance of public order, or the integrity or independence of the judiciary of Pakistan, or which defames or brings into ridicule the judiciary or the Armed Forces of Pakistan…”

The disqualification, according to most analyses, will be in the hands of the Speaker of the National Assembly. The speaker will have to move a reference to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) seeking Gilani’s disqualification as an MNA. The speaker can hold the reference for up to 30 days before it is automatically sent to the ECP. The ECP then has up to 90 days to finalise the disqualification.

That’s about four months of a process.

In addition, according to Chaudhry, if Gilani is convicted, he has right of appeal and, till the decision, the president may ask him to continue his office. He said that, if the appeal is rejected, then the speaker will move forward Gilani’s reference of disqualification to ECP.

However, there is yet another school of thought on this matter, which was also included in the briefings. This theory holds that a sentencing, of any length, would carry an inbuilt disqualification – and there would be no procedural requirements for the disqualification.

Advocate Azhar Saddique says that under unusual circumstances such as in a contempt case, Gilani’s disqualification would be automatic under article 63(1)g. He says that Gilani would leave the court as an MNA not as prime minister – and the process will only be to determine his future as an MNA.

PPP’s strategy

If Gilani is convicted, counsels would go for a direct appeal against the verdict within 30 days and would try to get a stay order against Giani’s sentence.  If they fail, that’s when the president will step in with Article 94.

If push comes to shove and someone challenges the president’s move to ask Gilani to stay on as prime minister, or if the court continues to press the government on the matter, there is another plan.

According to sources, the PPP-led coalition would in all probability nominate Federal Minister for Petroleum Senator Dr Asim Hussain as prime minister as a last resort. Since Hussain is a senator, and the prime minister cannot come from the Senate, he will need to be elected on an MNA seat. In this process, a Sindh-based MNA would be asked to resign and make way for Hussain, who would then contest the vacant seat.

This entire process would also take months.

And when that time is about to expire, Gilani will announce a caretaker setup, sources said.

PPP’s protest

In the meantime, the PPP will make hay.

Sources said that waves of PPP workers would accompany the prime minister to the court on Thursday. Following a conviction, they said that PPP would organise public gatherings in south Punjab, Sindh, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir where court’s ruling would be condemned.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 25th, 2012.

Reader Comments (38)

  • Blithe
    Apr 25, 2012 - 6:09AM

    Gilani should simply resign rather than make the PM house a sub jail/ guilded cage.

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  • Balma
    Apr 25, 2012 - 6:17AM

    Amazing analysis. Someone at ET did their job.

    If Dr. Asim Hussain makes it to the PMship, it would be the first time that an Urdu speaker of UP background would become PM of Pakistan. No guys, Liaquat Ali Khan was not from UP. He was from the part of Panjab that is now Haryana in India.

    Dr. Asim Hussain’s grandfather (naanaa) was a VC of Aligarh Muslim University and was born is some small town of UP (forgetting the name of this town, no one pays me for this kind of info anyway).

    He was a graduate of Aligarh College, and when he graduated, he was sent to England for Ph.D. ( I believe, in Mathematics) on some scholarship that Sir Syed Ahmed Khan arranged, on the condition that he would come back and work at Aligarh. Since desis were a bit more honest in those days, Dr. Ziauddin came back and taught at Aligarh. He was later made VC of the university.

    Dr. Ziauddin’s daughter established Ziauddin Hospital in North Nazimabad. This hospital now has a branch in Clifton. The high end, Dr. Ziauddin Road in Karachi is named after him

    Hope, at least some will find this history interesting..

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  • Kamal
    Apr 25, 2012 - 6:34AM

    Absolutely disgusting! Such silly maneuvers of these petty politicians will ruin the future of democracy in this god forsaken country beyond repair. Pathetic.

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  • SherDil
    Apr 25, 2012 - 7:00AM

    now that leaves Nawaz Sharif in the middle, will he rally a show of support in favor of the judgement of Supreme court to counter anti-judiciary moves as planned by the PPPP?

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  • Hairaan
    Apr 25, 2012 - 7:05AM

    Shame on PPP for holding such exhaustive meetings to save skin of a plunderer. Instead they should be worried about good governence.

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  • SK - Salman
    Apr 25, 2012 - 7:12AM

    The President should know that, just because the Constitution confers upon him the right to pardon someone who has commited a crime, it does not behoove him well to do so. For one, the sentence would be handed down, if it would be handed down, for decisions and acts committed to hide and protect the President’s spurious undertakings. Anyone with a fair sense of justice would recuse himself from taking any action perceived to be personally motivated. Secondly, the President, by pardoning the guilty, will be confirming PPP’s sheer disregard for the rule of law. In countries where democratic traditions run deep, pardons are handed down when the President is about to leave office.

    Right now, the people shouting the loudest, at the prospect of an imminent pardon after a guilty verdict, should be PPP’s members, whose struggle and sacrifices for instilling Democracy in Pakistan is no less than most other political parties.

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  • truth
    Apr 25, 2012 - 7:23AM

    PPP under AZ is going to destroy this country

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  • Ali
    Apr 25, 2012 - 7:25AM

    The one thing Pakistan needs right now is removal of all clauses from the constitution that give any kind of immunity to people in public offices especially or otherwise.

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  • Pea Brain
    Apr 25, 2012 - 9:12AM

    So wait……….

    The Prime Minister and his extensive legal team spearheaded by the ‘champion’ for the cause of justice have mulled over every possibility to STAY in office and continue their ways but NO ONE, literally NO ONE, in the ‘peoples’ party machinery advised the PM on a moral resignation. Wow, that truly reflects the moral decadence of this party and those in opposition as well.

    Shame on us for electing these people!

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  • Tabish Bilgrami
    Apr 25, 2012 - 9:41AM

    I swear only if these people can plan so perfectly for the problems which common man is facing…….Recommend

  • Kaleem
    Apr 25, 2012 - 10:03AM

    Devil plans unleashed

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  • BADurrani
    Apr 25, 2012 - 10:53AM

    @Balma: “Urdu speaker of UP background would become PM of Pakistan” the fact that where a person’s ancestors were from before partition has any sort of relevance to his being prime minister of this country demonstrates perfectly why Pakistan is in the sorry state it is today.

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  • Logic Europe
    Apr 25, 2012 - 10:54AM

    supreem court on path to self destruction ,

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  • Apr 25, 2012 - 11:44AM

    The chief election commissioner is Justice Shakir Ullah Jan appointed by the CJ himself so the ECP is not going to take any time at all.
    As for the rest of the plotting, I hope the honorable judges are reading all this and give a judgement that counters all of the above and defeats their evil designs. The court should also issue directions to the incoming PM to write the letter within 7 days or face the same fate.

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  • Observer's Eyeo
    Apr 25, 2012 - 11:44AM

    These judges need to learn a lesson, why can’t they punish Generals- This is pathetic stuff- Yousaf Raza Gillani- My Prime Minister, no matter what!

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  • Zohair
    Apr 25, 2012 - 11:46AM

    Whats even more shameful is that this strategy is out in the open and everyone knows the gameplay here and even then PPP would follow it….media and opposition would criticise it (with their own agendas) and everything would go along well for everyone.

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  • syed Imran
    Apr 25, 2012 - 12:17PM

    The supreme court must give a very clear verdict which leaves nothing to imagination. It should clearly state that Gillani remains no more the PM(if convicted) and that all his orders there after carries no legal authority and that obeying any orders after his conviction would be illegal.

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  • Pakistan Zindabad
    Apr 25, 2012 - 12:25PM

    @ balma ….what about MOIN QURESHI ….btw good story …liked it a lot

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  • SK - Salman
    Apr 25, 2012 - 12:26PM

    @Balma: Can’t figure out what you are trying to say! Dr. Asim Husain will be nominated for the PM’s position, if it is needed, to tow the President’s line and to obstinately disregard judicial judgements to write the letter to the Swiss Government, more adamantly than Gilani. For a prodigy of such an illustrious illuminati, like Dr. Ziauddin, it will be a moment of infamy if he accepts to fill in the PM’s role, nothing to jump up and down about. I do not know where you think Shaukat Aziz hailed from, but I do know that him and Musharraf’s sheer trampling of the rule of law can only be matched by the brazen disregard of the Constitution by the present regime. To us, who originate from the region you speak of, they broke all the traditions of integrity and uprightness, something people like Dr. Ziauddin was known for. It will be a moment of shame, not pride if Dr. Asim Husain accepts the position and tarnish the image of his grandfather. Just saying.

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  • Pakistan Zindabad
    Apr 25, 2012 - 12:28PM

    how come Shermila farooqui name is not mentioned for PM slot

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  • A J Khan
    Apr 25, 2012 - 12:32PM

    Democracy has little chance to work in Paksitan. Such democracy will soon result in the demice of the country. Now the choice is between a corrupt and self destructive democracy and Pakistan.

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  • Concern Paksitani
    Apr 25, 2012 - 12:40PM

    Pakistan whole judicial system is lawyer driven, therefore lawyer take dates and dates and courts allow them. Honourable CJ of Pakistan must take some decision in this regard and make policy in juridical commission. We do not accept any policies which make life easy for common PAKISTANI from our current parliament. They make policy for their betterment and for their families’ benefits.
    As we read, saw and listen that how they cleverly (what a political MINDs) spending and was waste time how to prolong the PM case and others self created issues.

    Simply elected members of the parliaments (MNA, MPA) set the example. Now they are going to set the next dirty example is that in National Assembly only speaker law is running. Then what is the different FATA and NA area.

    Request t WHOLE PAKISTANI NATION please weak-up. They waste out time and our TAX money. PLEASE DO NOT CAST your VALUABLE VOTE to THEM in next coming general election.

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  • Karim
    Apr 25, 2012 - 12:47PM

    when the only objective of the governing elite is to govern at any cost and amass wealth and power. Then such sort of things will emerge.

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  • Aley
    Apr 25, 2012 - 12:50PM

    Am surprised, most of the commentators instead of understanding the issue or PPP’s position are just here to sling mud and criticize PPP….

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  • abbas
    Apr 25, 2012 - 1:11PM

    Biased judiciary will cause more sympathies for the PPP and they would bank on it in the next elections. Recommend

  • Nuzhat saleem
    Apr 25, 2012 - 1:36PM

    Punjabi Judiciary…!

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  • Lt Col Imtiaz Alam(retd)
    Apr 25, 2012 - 1:43PM

    It ‘s mind boggling. How can you even consider a person to remain in Office once he has been declared a Convict. That too as a PM. May Allah get us rid of this Party once for all. Recommend

  • Rao
    Apr 25, 2012 - 1:51PM

    The way they are planning is very shameful for the PPP and rulers.
    How power hungers are thinking to protect PM, they do not think about the common people of this country.
    Can they change the NATURE’S decisions if NATURE plans to terminate them?
    They are all above the law ,but Allha is there and he will do punish them for which they have made fun with this nation and are looting day and night.
    Shame on them. inefficient

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  • Not me
    Apr 25, 2012 - 2:38PM

    Dr Asim is a Senator and he cannot become PM
    You have to be a Member of National Assembly to become PM

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  • Faysal
    Apr 25, 2012 - 3:32PM

    If people rose against the judgment, that would mean that they endorse corruption and they want to be robbed again. The present Government is not a curse but the punishment of our own sins.

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  • Very 1
    Apr 25, 2012 - 4:05PM

    In some US universities you have to pass an IQ test in order to get your J.D. (Those who know would know/should know). Lol….

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  • Apr 25, 2012 - 4:56PM

    @Not me: I guess acting PM can be anyone – Senator, PM or High Level Officer. Correct me if I’m worng.

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  • Very 1
    Apr 25, 2012 - 4:57PM

    @Saud: Next you’d ask them to back on the streets campaigning

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  • Saad
    Apr 25, 2012 - 11:07PM

    This is neither first, nor second but the third time PPP Prime Minister stands before Supreme Court, of course it is the name of justice by another set of PCO judges who are sons, son in laws and nephews of the very same people who murdered ZAB, tortured her daughter and son in law and their thirst for blood remains unquenched.

    We are with you Prime Minister!

    Jeay Bhutto Benazir!

    Recommend

  • Jayala!
    Apr 25, 2012 - 11:19PM

    Regretting the day I took part in the long march!
    Down with PCO Judges!Recommend

  • Umar
    Apr 26, 2012 - 12:53AM

    @Ammar: You are confusing “CARETAKER” with “ACTING”. Care takeer can be anyone but that applies when there is no Elected parliment in place. Acting has to be from elected lower house of Parliment.

    @Jayala!:

    I thought Long March was for, what is right according to the law, did you think that Courts are your property now, and they will only give decisions in your favor, regardless of what the law says????

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  • Naeem khan
    Apr 26, 2012 - 6:08AM

    @ Balma, very interesting, I bet most of the readers did not know. When I was growing up in Mardan, somehow this name sounds familiar, did Dr. Ziauddin teach at Peshawar University.Just guessing.Thanks for the info.By the way every Pakistani has the right to become President or PM regardless of their origin. I just wish that the MQM community stop calling themselves Mohajirs even after 60 plus years and should call themselves Pakistanis from Sindh.

    Recommend

  • usmani
    Apr 26, 2012 - 12:40PM

    I don’t believe the Dr. Asim Hussain Fiasco, who has suggested this and why. There is no reality of this story. Somebody has fabricated or set-out this story to divert the attention of people from the actual decision of supreme court.

    PPP shenanigans are not prepared now to accept the decision of supreme court , what they would decide would be to prolong the Prime minister rein up to they can linger it on.They would sit with their lawyers ,after the detailed decision released by the court, and decide their strategy.

    I think the Yousuf R. Gilani is convicted by the court. He should feel the moral obligation and resign from the seat and let the people elect new prime minister.

    Recommend

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