The opposition’s Go Gilani campaign gained new steam with the release of the Supreme Court’s detailed judgment on the contempt case against the prime minister, with the PML-N reviving its demand for his resignation and staging a walkout from senate in protest.
The upper house, according to the order of the day, was supposed to resume debate over President Asif Ali Zardari’s fifth address to parliament but the government and opposition once again ended up locking horns over the PM’s conviction. Senator Malik Muhammad Rafique Rajwana from the PML-N read out excerpts from the detailed judgment issued by the apex court earlier in the day and said Prime Minister Gilani should immediately step down.
Giving reference to Khalil Gibran’s poem mentioned by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa in the detailed judgment “Pity the nation that is full of beliefs and empty of religion…” he urged the rulers to take “pity” on the nation and implement the court’s order.
During his speech, leader of the house Senator Jahangir Badar told the chairman that Rajwana should not be given the floor since the house was in the middle of a debate over presidential address.
“I want to express my feelings,” Rajwana responded, while pointing at Saeed Ghani’s speech which grilled the PML-N instead of discussing the presidential address. “On what constitutional and legal grounds is Yousaf Raza Gilani holding office?” he questioned.
In response, Senate Chairman Nayyar Hussain Bokhari told Rajwana that there had been a discussion over the subject in the judicial commission’s meeting on May 7, and that the upper house was not an appropriate forum for the discussion.
“Let it (the issue of the PM’s disqualification) be decided at an appropriate forum,” Bokhari added.
Responding to the chairman, Syed Zafar Ali Shah from the PML-N said it was a misfortune that Gilani remains the premier of the country even after the release of the detailed judgment. In such circumstances “we cannot be part of the proceedings,” he said, while announcing his party’s walkout from the house.
Senator Mukhtiar Ahmed Dhamrah censured the protesting lawmakers, asking them not to claim their allowances for attending the house.
Earlier, Senator Saeed Ghani from the ruling PPP hit hard at the PML-N while saying everyone knew who had attacked courts and which party expelled the chief justice from the Supreme Court.
“This is the same party that established military courts and escaped from the country because they were not brave enough to endure the hardships of jails,” he added.
Following the walkout of the PML-N, the treasury benches paid homage to the president.
Senator Abdul Nabi Bangash from the Awami National Party (ANP) lamented over the state of affairs following the court order saying, “…democracy has not matured yet but both of the leading political parties have not learnt lessons from their mistakes.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 9th, 2012.