Despite the insistence of Aitzaz Ahsan, the government is unlikely to appeal against last month’s conviction of Premier Gilani on contempt charges as the last day for filing the plea expires today (Saturday).
“Yes, tomorrow is the last day for filing the appeal. A final decision can come at the last minute after consultation at the highest level,” Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira told The Express Tribune.
Sources in the prime minister’s office said that following the ruling of National Assembly Speaker Fehmida Mirza, the government is unlikely to file an appeal against the April 26th conviction. However, they claimed that any last-minute change could not be ruled out.
“The deliberations are continuing at all levels. All the pros and cons are being thoroughly deliberated. But I think we would not go for the option (of appeal) since it would be tantamount to belittle the scope of speakers ruling which we think is final and un-challengeable,” said a close associate of the prime minister.
On the other hand, Aitzaz’s camp has been consistent in its advocacy for the use of the right of appeal to quash the conviction. His team believes that the conviction may be treated separately and it could be quashed during the appeal since the short order and the detailed verdict left many questions unanswered.
When contacted, Aitzaz told The Express Tribune via a text message: “Appeal with 146 serious objections on short order as well as detailed judgment is ready to be filed at 30 minutes notice but no final decision yet on filing. Deliberations continue. Wait for tomorrow”.
Some media reports suggested that the decision not to file an appeal was taken after consulting President Zardari. His spokesman, however, could not be approached for comment.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 26th, 2012.