By deciding not to file an appeal the government has, in principle, accepted the Supreme Court’s verdict in Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s contempt case – according to the opposition at least.
“The SC’s judgment has attained finality,” Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) spokesperson Shafqat Mehmood said while talking to The Express Tribune. He added that the government was ‘instigating the court’ to disqualify the prime minister in clear terms, saying that the matter would go to the court again.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) appeared to agree. Party spokesperson Senator Mushahidullah Khan told The Express Tribune that “not filing an appeal against Prime Minister Gilani’s conviction implies the government has accepted the Supreme Court’s decision”.
Senator Mushahidullah also expressed his disapproval of National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza’s role in the matter, saying that through her ruling, the government superseded a decision made by a seven-judge bench of the apex court.
“Instead of going into confrontation mode, the speaker should have had played a positive role,” he added. He said that the speaker, a representative of the executive, had become part of the confrontation with the court.
“By using the National Assembly speaker’s ruling, the government is playing a political game,” he said.
The speaker gave her ruling against the disqualification of the prime minister on May 24.
Liaqat Baloch from the Jamat-e-Islami (JI) was also of the view that the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) saved Premier Gilani from disqualification by using the office of the NA Speaker but added the caveat, “for the time being.”
Baloch also shared the view that the case would end up in court again: “Perhaps they (PPP leaders) were of the view that filing an appeal against the decision could damage the dividend (the speaker’s ruling) but the matter will ultimately reach the Supreme Court again.”
Responding to a question about the proposal of a grand alliance called for by PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, Baloch said “If JI will go for an alliance, its first priority will be religious parties and we are working on that”.
Earlier on Saturday, Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, counsel for Prime Minister Gilani, announced the decision, taken after consultation with party leadership, to not file an appeal.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 27th, 2012.