ISLAMABAD: The prime minister’s lawyer and recently elected senator, Aitzaz Ahsan was named as former law minister Babar Awan’s replacement in the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Manifesto Committee on Wednesday.
Ahsan had recently represented Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani during the contempt of court hearing against him. Gilani had been convicted of contempt after he had refused to write a letter to Swiss authorities, asking that corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari be reopened.
Gilani had commended Ahsan’s services and paid him Rs100 for services as his lawyer during the hearing.
Babar Awan, on the other hand, has drawn the ire of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leadership ever since his refusal to appear before the Supreme Court to testify in the contempt of court hearing against Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.
The former law minister was stripped of all posts held by him in the party. After the posts of finance secretary and vice president were taken away from him, Awan will no longer be able to participate in any of the party’s Central Executive Committee meetings. Awan’s name was also removed from the CEC members of the PPP.
The party had also shifted its central secretariat from Awan’s house to a new location. The PPP central secretariat had operated out of Awan’s home for about 11 months.
Aitzaz Ahsan, Gilani’s lawyer, had asked the court to summon three key witnesses in the case – including Awan and two high-ranking bureaucrats. However, Awan was reported to have promptly refused to appear – despite many saying that his testimony would have made the prime minister’s case stronger.
President Asif Ali Zardari, while on a private visit to India, had reject Awan’s request to meet him and had directed the security to not let him come and meet him.
Punjab Governor Sardar Latif Khosa had also recently lashed out at Babar Awan, likening him and former Law secretary Masood Chishti to Mir Jafar and Mir Sadiq.
Chishti, who had been handpicked by former Law minister Awan, had been replaced with Irfan Qadir.
No reason for the change had been given, but it had been speculated that it carried a veiled message for Awan, who had refused to appear before the bench hearing contempt charges against Gilani.