PM contempt: SC issues detailed order

Published: May 8, 2012

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani (C) is escorted by security as he waves upon his arrival at the Supreme Court building in Islamabad on April 26, 2012. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan has issued a detailed order in the contempt case against Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.

The detailed order can be read here.

The order has been compiled by Justice Nasirul Mulk and a six-page additional note has been written by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa.

The detailed verdict came out on the day when Gilani left for the UK on an official trip to participate in the Enhanced Strategic Dialogue with the British leadership with only 12 members entourage.

The document consists of statements presented in different phases of the case by Gilani’s counsel Aitzaz Ahsan and the attorney general of Pakistan.

Gilani’s counsel Aitzaz Ahsan, talking to Express News, said that the detailed order has provided more grounds for an appeal to be filed.

“Even the short order was inappropriate… Right now, I’m not ready to comment in detail about the verdict,” he said.

Article 204(2) provides sufficient coverage

In the detailed verdict, the court clarified that:

The said Ordinance V of 2003 derives its authority from Article 204(3) of the Constitution, Article 204(2) of the Constitution itself empowers this Court to punish a person for committing “Contempt of Court” and the above mentioned words used in the Charge framed against the accused also stand sufficiently covered by the provisions of Article 204(2) of the Constitution.

Grave offence

The court further clarified that Prime Minister Gilani’s contempt was considered a grave offence:

These provisions of the Contempt of Court Ordinance clearly show that despite his culpability having been established, a Court seized of a matter of contempt is not to hold the offender guilty or punish him for every trivial contempt committed and it is only a grave contempt having the effects mentioned in Section 18(1) that may be visited with a finding of guilt or punishment.

We are, therefore, fully satisfied that such clear and persistent defiance at such a high level constitutes contempt which is substantially detrimental to the administration of justice and tends not only to bring this Court but also brings the judiciary of this country into ridicule.

Setting an example

The Supreme Court also said that not charging the prime minister for contempt would leave the judiciary open to others following his example:

After all, if orders or directions of the highest court of the country are defied by the highest Executive of the country then others in the country may also feel tempted to follow the example leading to a collapse or paralysis of administration of justice besides creating an atmosphere wherein judicial authority and verdicts are laughed at and ridiculed.

Case background

The Supreme Court had convicted Gilani on April 26, 2012. If the conviction was historic, the sentence was largely symbolic – detaining the prime minister in courtroom number 4 till the “rising of the court” or about 37 seconds to be precise.

Gilani was held in contempt by the Supreme Court for his refusal to write a letter to Swiss authorities to reopen graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

A seven-member bench headed by Justice Nasirul Mulk had announced the verdict and convicted him for violating Contempt of Court Ordinance 2003 section 5 and the charges framed against him were for willfully disobeying the court’s orders and ridiculing it.

Appeal

Gilani can appeal against the verdict within a period of 30 days, a deadline which had started when the short order was announced.

A new bench will be constituted to hear the appeal.

Disqualification?

As stated in the short order released earlier by the Supreme Court, Gilani may be disqualified from parliament:

“It may not be lost sight of that, apart from the other consequences, by virtue of the provisions of clauses (g) and (h) of Article 63(1) read with Article 113 of the Constitution a possible conviction on such a charge may entail a disqualification from being elected or chosen as, and from being, a member of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) or a Provincial Assembly for at least a period of five years.”

“Anyone who flouts Article 63(1)(g) gets disqualified for a period of five years,” said Justice (retd) Shaiq Usmani while talking to Express News.

‘Cannot consider conviction till appeal exhausted’

Attorney-General of Pakistan Irfan Qadir, reacting to the full verdict of the Supreme Court, said that It would not be fair to consider the Prime Minister as convicted till he exhausts his right of appeal in the contempt of court judgment.

Asked about the appeal‚ he said the Government would decide about an appeal after examining the detailed verdict.

The Attorney-General said another view could be that the court acted beyond its mandate and therefore‚ it should be approached to rectify a wrong.

Replying to a question he said if the issue of disqualification goes to the Speaker, then she will have to consider whether or not the order of the court is violative of any provision of the Constitution or law. In the scenario she considers that the Prime Minister stands disqualified, then the matter would be referred to the Election Commission for a final decision.

Reader Comments (42)

  • May 8, 2012 - 3:54PM

    Finally it came

    Recommend

  • Azmat Ali
    May 8, 2012 - 3:57PM

    SO Ex PM has the chair of Pakistan’s Premier Position…

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  • roadkashehzada
    May 8, 2012 - 4:05PM

    thanks God stock market has alrady closed!!!! :D

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  • True Muslim Paki
    May 8, 2012 - 4:15PM

    Ya Allah.. its a historic movement for Pakistan. The Government will fall and Imran Khan becomes the President, Inshallah. The Supreme Court is one of the best establishments in Pakistan since independence.

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  • Recycled Thought
    May 8, 2012 - 4:28PM

    Does this person have any ethics ?

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  • Much Amused
    May 8, 2012 - 4:35PM

    Now all the other gidar politicians will become shere. Let the show begin.

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  • Asif khokher
    May 8, 2012 - 4:41PM

    According to our Constitution, a convicted person cannot be member of Parliament. PM Gillani must resign now and should return from UK joy ride and with him 70 people. This is a slap on the face of Nation that a convicted PM has set aside the Court Verdict and defying the orders of Supreme Court, and flying to UK spending Millions on this trip. Shame for us !!

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  • mindless
    May 8, 2012 - 4:43PM

    Brilliant judgement, PM counsel failed to utter words for Para 18 of constitution in his oral arguments. PM is now should be put away from politics for 5 years. Bravo SC!

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  • Khan
    May 8, 2012 - 4:44PM

    Where is the answer to the key question!!!
    Is the PM eligible for the incumbent job or not?

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  • R20
    May 8, 2012 - 4:44PM

    if the short order needed to be interpreted by several law jugglers now see how much this needed to be solved being a question of the constitution which is not clear in it self about the simple term “if guilty then charge otherwise no offence”.

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  • Shuaib
    May 8, 2012 - 4:55PM

    The detailed judgement still remain silent on the next stage? It hasn’t directly disqualified the PM from my reading. The drama continues…

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  • Ahmad
    May 8, 2012 - 4:59PM

    PTI still cosider Gillani PM till his appeal refused too….!!
    PTI believes only in Justics!!

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  • Batman
    May 8, 2012 - 4:59PM

    @True Muslim Paki, Imran Khan will become Prime Minister not President ;)

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  • Qayyum
    May 8, 2012 - 5:03PM

    Is he NOW disqualified??

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  • Asif khokher
    May 8, 2012 - 5:06PM

    Remarks by Justice Asif Khasa are Historic quoting Khalil Jibran poet:

    “:…Pity the Nation that measures honor with success and respect with authority .. that treats a criminal as hero ….’

    “Pith the nation that proclaims democracy as its policy but discourages democratic values …”

    ” Pity the nation that achieves nationhood in the name of a religion .. but pays little heed to truth and accountability ..”

    “Pity the nation whose servants treat their solemn oaths as nothing more than a formality before entering upon an office …”

    “Pity the nation whose leaders seek martyrdom through disobeying the law…and who see no shame in crime”

    Pity the nation that is led by those who laugh at the law little realizing that the law shall have the last laugh “

    Recommend

  • umair
    May 8, 2012 - 5:06PM

    @Asif khokher:
    and the hero of nation ” IK ” is waiting for election :D

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  • pervaiz memon
    May 8, 2012 - 5:07PM

    more confusion instead of 77 pages they just write either he remain PM or not . Now Tv talk show will give their verdict for PM.

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  • M Ahmed
    May 8, 2012 - 5:08PM

    @True Muslim Paki:
    like your enthusiasm and honesty but just a quick reminder, IK is running for the Prime minister’s slot not President’s.

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  • Ali Hussain
    May 8, 2012 - 5:20PM

    CJP is only working on political cases , in which mostly against government, its good but , at the time of free judiciary , we expect that justice also be given to civilians , but thats still dreams , i belief its big game and big deal , see timing of cases , PM might remove but cases will not open —until 5 years

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  • Faisal
    May 8, 2012 - 5:25PM

    Detalied order has been issued by the supreme court so protests and rallies against PM are justified now.

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  • Ahmed
    May 8, 2012 - 5:27PM

    @True Muslim Paki:

    But he need to contest elections to become a PM or President. Till now, no movement from PTI on elections. Their people vacated seats but did not contest elections. It is a strategic blunder by PTI ie not contesting elections

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  • ali gilani
    May 8, 2012 - 5:29PM

    PM is still the prime minister, despite this extremely opinionated judiciary which frees the convicted terrorists and delays justice indefinetly for the poor and uninformed common man in this country. IK is not the answer because he sides with JI, which is extremist in its’ views and militantly hostile to mainstream world. The center right will take all of us down the drain with CJ at its’ helm.

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  • Ch Allah Daad
    May 8, 2012 - 5:32PM

    PTI supporter is right when he calls Imran as President. To become Prime Minister, PTI needs majority seats in Parliament and that is not going to happen in near future. The only way left for Imran is to become our President and that too by sitting on someone’s back.

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  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    May 8, 2012 - 5:34PM

    SC, congratulations on the Historic Judgement.

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  • yaz
    May 8, 2012 - 5:37PM

    For now justice is on hold as Mr Gilani is on a shopping spree in UK with 70 odd hangers-on.

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  • saqibtahir
    May 8, 2012 - 5:50PM

    @Asif khokher: Pity the nation where judges are politicians.

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  • Madiha R.
    May 8, 2012 - 5:51PM

    @Asif khokher: What an apt quote!

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  • saqibtahir
    May 8, 2012 - 5:54PM

    @Ch Allah Daad:
    Becoming president is even harder than become PM because to become PM one needs majority in National Assembly only but to become president majority in NA, Senate and four provincial assemblies is required. At this point no one other than President Zardari seems capable to win a combined majority in six houses.

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  • Concerned
    May 8, 2012 - 6:05PM

    The details orders are really damning, the Pak PM must quit on his own or face utter humilation of being kicked out as well damage his party’s position also.

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  • Maira
    May 8, 2012 - 6:08PM

    So, SC has not convicted PM under 63 (1) (g), so he can continue as PM. simple as that. Another disappointment to Facebook dreamers.

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  • May 8, 2012 - 6:23PM

    “It may not be lost sight of that, apart from the other consequences, by virtue of the provisions of clauses (g) and (h) of Article 63(1) read with Article 113 of the Constitution a possible conviction on such a charge may entail a disqualification from being elected or chosen as, and from being, a member of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) or a Provincial Assembly for at least a period of five years.”

    It clearly says, “”"May entail in disqualification”"”"”"” and not ”’”"”"‘Will entail”"”"”"”". Its simply in the hands of Speaker and EC to proceed.
    Future sceneio looks like:
    PM appeals within 30 days.
    Appealant bench to be formed, comprising of 9 judges.
    3-short judges needs to be appointed – already conflict between bar, bench (apparently).
    30 days with the speaker to refer to EC.
    90days with EC to decide.
    By the time its March 2013 – The Election Time.

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  • roadkashehzada
    May 8, 2012 - 6:25PM

    @True Muslim Paki:
    dude wht are u saying?? the verdict is against PM, how will that make IK the president??

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  • mohammed ali jawaid
    May 8, 2012 - 7:17PM

    Pity this man Irfan Qadir, is a representative of state or the govt or the PM? what if the appeal also says the same? which seems to be more likely.

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  • Khurram Khalid
    May 8, 2012 - 9:17PM

    In good old days those who praised judges and their judgments were held as much guilty of contempt as those who criticized them. But now the judiciary is politicized, even made controversial, by partisans of one cause or another. The partisan judges, politicians, media people and lawyers are at the forefronts of this but hardly anyone is taking notice of it. All those belonging to the anti civilian set up class have found a new love in form of the supreme court. Imran Khan and Nawaz Shairf are doing processions to demonize their political opponents in the name of the supreme court. The judges in their self righteousness have taken it on themselves to humiliate the civilian government. They have themselves become a party in the political arena and look too keen to be figured in the cover stories of the newspapers and to be the most talked about people on the TV.

    What sort of judiciary is this and what sort of supporters it has, which are negating the very fundamental principles of this institution more than Zardari and Gilani can even think of?

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  • elcay
    May 8, 2012 - 9:24PM

    Attorney-General of Pakistan Irfan Qadir, reacting to the full verdict of the Supreme Court, said that It would not be fair to consider the Prime Minister as convicted till he exhausts his right of appeal in the contempt of court judgment.

    He is a convict in the eyes of Law.That is why there is right of appeal to get the conviction cleared.

    But the Govt. machinery thinks otherwise as suits them!Recommend

  • Omer khan
    May 8, 2012 - 10:39PM

    Remember remember the 5th of November
    The gun powder treason and plot
    I know of no reason why the gun powder treason
    Should ever be forgot

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  • Imran
    May 8, 2012 - 10:40PM

    Today, Lahore High Court prevented NAB from continuing with the cases against Sharifs due to time bar. Very well done judiciary for your total impartiality.Recommend

  • Parvez
    May 8, 2012 - 11:33PM

    Let us hope sense prevails in the days ahead.

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  • Aftab Kenneth Wilson
    May 9, 2012 - 12:49AM

    The verdict is still not clear. Perhaps they want to take some clue from media talk shows. I personally feel that CJ is too much hurt because his choice for Adhoc judges was not approved. Judgment came on the day when PM was in air on an official visit to UK. I totally agree with Mr. Aitzaz Ahsan’s and AG’s remarks on this judgement.

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  • Adnan Khan
    May 9, 2012 - 1:51AM

    pity that lack of impartiality has taken the teeth away from the judiciary! How i wish that the SC could have taken up cases across the broad spectrum and not just one party – that might have prevented judge khosa to delve into poetry and act like a lawyer to plead his judgement :(

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  • You Said It
    May 9, 2012 - 4:07AM

    Why is contempt of court illegal, when contempt of parliament is perfectly legal? Judiciary is not better than elected representatives of the people in the Parliament.

    Isn’t it morally right to hold the court and the judiciary in contempt, when it has failed in all of its existence to hold the army accountable for its subversion of the constitution from the day Pakistan was established?

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  • May 9, 2012 - 9:37AM

    we as a nation bound to respect and obey the orders of honorable Supreme Court of Pakistan, not the orders which are against other personals but the orders which are also against ourselves with wholeheartedly to becomes a civilized nation, now at that stage when the Prime Minister declared convicted and was sentenced for a while but it is not good for the Prime Minister”s office to remain still a convicted person as Prime Minister.

    Recommend

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