Memogate: One hearing in, controversy usurps the case

Published: December 3, 2011
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“We hope that baseless allegations will be avoided in future and the dignity and respect of the apex court will be maintained,” Supreme Court.
 PHOTO: MUHAMMAD JAVED/EXPRESS

“We hope that baseless allegations will be avoided in future and the dignity and respect of the apex court will be maintained,” Supreme Court. PHOTO: MUHAMMAD JAVED/EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: 

The Supreme Court is finding it hard to steer clear of the political dimension in the case of the memogate affair, which has already intensified the rivalry between the Pakistan Peoples Party and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.

Both parties have already made conflicting claims on the role of the apex court in tit-for-tat press conferences.

And if the political statements were not enough, a new technicality has arisen pertaining to the federation’s presence while the apex court passed its orders on Thursday. Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq entered the fray on Friday, echoing former Law Minister Babar Awan’s opinion that the federation was denied a hearing at the memogate case while the apex court passed a spate of orders.

The attorney general said that he was not holding the federal government’s brief, ie representing the government, when the Supreme Court sought his opinion on the formation of the commission. “I was only assisting the court as an officer of the court,” he added in a rare statement from his office.

“We have been against the involvement of the Supreme Court in political affairs,” Supreme Court Bar Associatioin (SCBA) president Yasin Azad told The Express Tribune.

“Parliament should step forward and resolve issues, which fall within its domain and rid the court of unnecessary burden,” he said. Azad felt that the Supreme Court should have allowed the federation to submit its point of view before setting up a commission to probe the memo affair.

The SCBA president said: “Unless the court issues a formal notice to the federation, the attorney general’s opinion could not be attributed to the federal government.”

Former law minister Khalid Anwar felt that the question whether the Supreme Court heard the federation or not “is a complicated one because of the gap between the law governing the attorney general’s role and the past practice”.

Before Sharifuddin Pirzada became the attorney general for a martial law regime, the attorney general always represented the federation whenever he appeared before the Supreme Court. However, Pirzada started assigning federation cases to other lawyers and appeared before the court as an officer of the court to assist it, Anwar added.

While the Supreme Court may deliver the final word on the controversy surrounding the federation’s point of view on the memogate commission, the Constitution clearly lays down the role of the attorney general.

Clause (3) of Article 100 states: “It shall be the duty of the Attorney-General to give advice to the Federal Government upon such legal matters, and to perform such other duties of a legal character as may be referred or assigned to him by the Federal Government, and in the performance of his duties he shall have the right of audience in all courts and tribunals in Pakistan.”

Technicalities in the courtrooms aside, the case has already created its fair share of political brinksmanship outside the court.

In response to former Law Minister Babar Awan’s fiery press conference held on Thursday, in which he hit out at the apex court as well as premier and PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, the Supreme Court asked the PPP to avoid raising “baseless allegations” against it.

“We hope that baseless allegations will be avoided in future and the dignity and respect of the apex court will be maintained,” the Supreme Court said in the statement issued here on Friday.

Awan had claimed that the Supreme Court gave protocol to Sharif and allowed his armed guards to accompany him to the court premises.

“No one was given any protocol or any special favour as far as entry into the court premises or the courtroom No 1 (CJP’s courtroom) is concerned,” the statement said.

Furthermore, Sharif, too, reacted to Awan’s press conference, stating that the failure of Parliament compelled him to go to the court.

It also remains to be seen what the fate of the SC-mandated commission will be.

The proceedings may take more twists and turns in the days ahead. Mansoor Ijaz, the central player in the memogate controversy, has said that he was ready to face the Supreme Court, according to the South Asian News Agency (SANA) on Friday.

A written statement issued by Ijaz quoted him as saying that the apex court’s decision demonstrated that democracy was indeed alive and well in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has issued a 10-page detailed verdict of its orders passed in Thursday’s proceedings of the memogate scandal.

ADDITIONAL INPUT BY NEWS DESK

To view the detailed verdict issued by the Supreme Court visit tribune.com.pk/story/301260/supreme-court-visit-verdict

Published in The Express Tribune, December 3rd, 2011.

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Reader Comments (7)

  • Attif
    Dec 3, 2011 - 7:39AM

    Everything against PPP is controversial.they think themself as saints.

    Recommend

  • Sultan Khan
    Dec 3, 2011 - 7:52AM

    If in the views of the so-called champion of democracy who sided with dictator Zia instead of being with Junejo and the champion of adlia who stormed the very adlia , the parliament has failed then why he is not filing a petition to wind up this parliament so that the money saved may be used for the benefit of the masses.

    Recommend

  • Mansoor
    Dec 3, 2011 - 8:03AM

    When the apex court appointed Tariq Khosa, a close affiliate of PMLN as the investigator, a man who’s brother is married to the daughter of Justice Nasim Hasan Shah, and is also a judge though not in the supposed bench and his other brother being Chief Secretary Punjab what else was it expecting?

    This is besides the point that the legality of the committee is unclear and many legal minds thing of the order as a joke with the Constitution.

    Recommend

  • Not me
    Dec 3, 2011 - 8:08AM

    Honourable Supreme Court should take conginsance of Mr Babar Awan’s press conference.He used pretty strong words against SCP and made allegations which turned out to be false. SCP is one institution that vast majority of people have faith and trust

    Recommend

  • Imran
    Dec 3, 2011 - 8:12AM

    @Attif:
    Another remark from another saint from the PML-N, the party of the divinely righteous.

    Recommend

  • Main na Mamoon
    Dec 3, 2011 - 10:09AM

    @Attif: Who are the Saints, Nawaz, Imran, JI, Courts or the establishment?

    Recommend

  • Mirza
    Dec 3, 2011 - 11:52AM

    “We have been against the involvement of the Supreme Court in political affairs,” Supreme Court Bar Associatioin (SCBA) president Yasin Azad”
    But Dear YA, this PCO SC loves only the political cases and not those rotting for decades. Especially the court loves to challenge each of the executive decision and national assembly. Isn’t it ironic that the two unelected people who have supported the military takeover in their initial days are now against the elected govt?
    SC and LHC only knows the faces of PPP leadership and has a long history of putting them away. There has not been a military takeover which the SC did not like and endorse. Why change now?

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