No resignation: Cabinet backs PM; Aitzaz to appeal against decision

Published: April 27, 2012

" I will raise this in my appeal. The appeal will go before a larger bench of the Supreme Court," says Aitzaz Ahsan.

ISLAMABAD: After becoming Pakistan’s first sitting prime minister to be convicted, Yousaf Raza Gilani chaired an emergency meeting of the federal cabinet, which threw its weight behind the embattled premier.

The cabinet asked the prime minister not to resign and wait for the court’s detailed verdict. It asserted that the case was of political nature and there was no justification for the premier to resign on moral grounds.

His counsel, Aitzaz Ahsan, also held a press conference after the meeting, in which he announced that they will be appealing against the decision.

The cabinet meeting

The purpose of the meeting was to review the repercussions of the SC’s verdict declaring Gilani guilty of contempt of court.

“I was expecting a better decision from the judiciary,” asserted the premier.

“I was expecting real justice from the courts but they denied it (to me),” sources quoted the premier as telling the cabinet. The meeting which reposed full confidence in the leadership of the prime minister was attended on special invitation by the chief ministers of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), Sindh, Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B), the prime minister of Azad Jammu & Kashmir as well as the governors of K-P and Punjab.

However, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif did not attend the meeting which was later briefed by Federal Law Minister Farooq Naek and Attorney General Irfan Qadir regarding the post-verdict scenario and the strategy which is going to be adopted by the government to file an appeal.

Sources revealed that a detailed post-verdict strategy was discussed and it was resolved that the decision to appeal would be made by the premier’s legal experts and in consultation with the coalition partners.

Sources said that Gilani told the meeting that it was the prerogative of the Speaker of the National Assembly to decide the fate of the members of the house. He also lauded the overwhelming support expressed by Pakistan People Party’s coalition partners.

Aitzaz news conference

Prime Minister Gilani will appeal against his conviction for refusing to reopen corruption investigations into the country’s president, his lawyer, Aitzaz Ahsan said.

“I will file the appeal after receiving the detailed order of the court,” said Aitzaz at a news conference held in Islamabad after the conclusion of special cabinet meeting summoned by Gilani.

One of the charges in the summary judgment issued by seven judges at the Supreme Court earlier on Thursday was not mentioned when Gilani was indicted in February, charged Aitzaz, who has been fighting Gilani’s case for over two months.

“I will raise this in my appeal. The appeal will go before a larger bench of the Supreme Court,” he said.

Aitzaz told the press conference that even though the premier had been charged for scandalising the court through a verbally conveyed verdict by the apex court judges, the specific charge had not been included in the chargesheet.

“The implications are that if he is alleged to have scandalised the court – for which he was never charged – he can be disqualified. The prime minister can be disqualified as a member of the National Assembly… but this is not the charge,” Aitzaz said, adding that the PM was not convicted according to charges mentioned in the chargesheet.

Aitzaz said that the Supreme Court’s order on Thursday had condemned his client for judicial and criminal contempt, adding that these new charges warranted a new trial.

“The charge was of disregarding the court’s orders, but the prime minister was sentenced for scandalising the court,” he said, adding that his client was framed for one charge but was punished for the other two.

He went on to add that he would seek suspension of the verdict, adding that the court had given them 30 days to file an appeal.

Bahawalpur address

Aitzaz also highlighted how the court had mentioned the premier’s Bahawalpur address, in which he had allegedly defamed the court, despite the fact that the court had already indicted him prior to the incident on February 13.

“The clock stopped there … anything stated by the prime minister thereafter was not relevant to the trial. If the prime minister had impeached any law then a fresh new trial was called for.”

Aitzaz also questioned the court’s decision to read out the decision, saying the court had no right to do so as the decision is always handed over in its written form to the accused.

Furthermore, he said that the prime minister is not disqualified until the Speaker of the National Assembly decides takes up the case with the Election Commission within 30 days.

“According to the Constitution, there is no automatic and immediate disqualification.”

Respect for the judiciary

Newly appointed Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira also accompanied Aitzaz during the press conference. He addressed some of the pressing issues faced by the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) since the verdict had been announced.

“The party has reservations on the judgment but we will not follow the path of confrontation with the judiciary as we believe in facing our cases in the court of law,” said Kaira, adding that the PPP had always paid respect to the judiciary and would continue to do the same.

When asked about Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif’s demands for Gilani to quit at once and calls for an election, Kaira responded saying that the PPP would return to the people at the right time.

(Read: In contempt!)

Published in The Express Tribune, April 27th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (12)

  • Blithe
    Apr 27, 2012 - 6:42AM

    Aitzaz is just joining into technicalities and
    making a mockery out of the constitution .

    I guess once a Jayala , always a Jayala.

    Recommend

  • Mubashir
    Apr 27, 2012 - 8:20AM

    We all know the True face of politics in Pakistan. The only disappointment has been Aitazaz Ahsan. I always held him in high esteem after the restoration of Judiciary. God only knows how Mr. Zardari netted him into this. As for the rest… Well Done.. who cares about the country and the people. 12000 billion borrowed and not able to settle 300 Billion worth of Circular debt…. Very Well Done…. One And All..!!

    Recommend

  • Rao
    Apr 27, 2012 - 8:37AM

    Will not resign, die for power,thats the ‘moto’ of ppp.
    Its ironic,they do not feel shame what have they done with this nation.
    Still are committed to retain POWER at any costs.
    Shame on allies too,those are dirty part of this political games.

    Recommend

  • Mirza
    Apr 27, 2012 - 8:59AM

    Why are some against the legal appeals? The right to appeal is a universal right and nobody can and should be denied that basic right. The lovers of PCO SC should be happy that the PM is taking a legal course in their own court. In fact after all the legal process is exhausted the last appeal would be before the President. The blood thirsty hate mongers cannot wait for their pound of flesh. Thanks God the elected PM is not following the path of PML-N and storming the SC or throwing these PCO judges in detention.

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  • Ahmed
    Apr 27, 2012 - 9:26AM

    Mr. Aitezaz Ahsan played the role of real hope killer to Pakistani people. He earned great respect in past specially in the lawyer movement. One might wonder that what the maximum Zardari nexus offered him to adopt such level of dishonesty, liar status and insanity.
    Mr. Aitezaz if it is just a seat in senate, then my dear you are a worst businessman. Keep it on….

    Recommend

  • Asifa Khan
    Apr 27, 2012 - 11:24AM

    Shame for such PM and cabinet. There is no mannerism in Pakistani politics. PM should immediately resign.

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  • Manzoor
    Apr 27, 2012 - 12:19PM

    No one can beat Aitezaz Ahsan…….in my view this is a victory for him…..hats off to a great lawyer…

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  • amanat
    Apr 27, 2012 - 9:34PM

    He has already completed his punishment awarded by the court.How he can now file an appeal in the court for remission or reducing his punishment although for 32 seconds. What is the use of this appeal except wasting the time and money of this poor nation.

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  • Mirza
    Apr 27, 2012 - 10:09PM

    @amanat:
    Filing an appeal is the basic right of every citizen. Accepting or rejecting is the right of the court. If the court does not want to waste time and money they should not accept the appeal, it is that simple.
    The court should devote all its time and resources to Mansoor Ijaz the star witness and prosecutor in the memo case that he wrote and delivered.
    Regards,
    Mirza

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  • muhammad tariq zafar
    Apr 27, 2012 - 11:16PM

    Sc. Judgement is one of the landmark judgement in the comstitutional history of pakistan.accused/convicts has all the rights to appeal etc. But where is moral values those demands that pm should resign from his office.

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  • Aftab Kenneth Wilson
    Apr 28, 2012 - 1:14AM

    Since both LHC and SC Judges are on the same page it now looks as if some special agenda is in working. It is good to see them badly exposed through the arguments of Mr. AA.

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  • k. Salim Jahangir
    Apr 28, 2012 - 10:39PM

    @ No resignation……..Cabinet backs PM………..Her Lehza Hai Momin Ki Naey Shan Naey Aan???

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