ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court’s warning to the government to comply with the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) verdict – which includes an order to write to the Swiss authorities to reopen cases against the president – has not shaken the ruling party’s resolve.
The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) core committee meeting on Thursday decided to stick to its stand that President Asif Ali Zardari has immunity as president under the Constitution – hence the government could not write a letter to Swiss authorities.
The court, expressing anger at the delay in implementing a verdict that it had passed over a year ago, said flatly on January 2 that the government had one week to show compliance – else it would take action against those responsible, regardless of their rank and status.
Amid heightened political tensions, Thursday’s meeting led by President Asif Ali Zardari and attended by key PPP leaders, chalked out strategies on key issues facing the government and the ruling party – including a decision to stick to their guns on the president’s immunity in the courts of law, both inside and outside the country.
In addition, sources privy to the meeting said that to show solidarity with Babar Awan and other PPP leaders facing contempt of court notices, the party’s ministers and MNAs would accompany these leaders to the Supreme Court on the day of hearing of their cases.
“This meeting was not specifically convened to discuss legal issues but the topic came up during the meeting. We have no doubt in our mind that the president enjoys immunity, be it in Swiss cases or the Memo case in our court,” a PPP leader said, requesting anonymity.
The PPP leader went on to add that party leaders would accompany Awan and others who had been served contempt of court notices to remind the court that they were the same people who had struggled for the independence of the judiciary.
Furthermore, the core committee also decided that it would begin warming up for its election campaign by holding public rallies at the district and divisional level this month. President PPP K-P chapter Senator Sardar Ali has also been asked to make preparations for holding a public rally in the tribal areas.
“Right now, our focus is the Senate elections. The party leadership realises that this year can be election year. Every party at this stage starts preparations. There is nothing unusual in this,” a PPP leader said when asked if his party was expecting early elections.
Presidential spokesperson Farhatullah Babar said that the core committee had called for immediate polls on all vacant seats of the National and Provincial assemblies. He added that the party would also begin a consultative process with coalition partners on the issue of the formation of new provinces.
“Appropriate legislative measures will soon be adopted in the Parliament for the carving out of a Seraiki province in light of the consultations with political partners,” Babar said.
As a part of its electioneering campaign, the government will release funds to PPP legislators so they, in turn, can begin development projects in their respective constituencies, Babar added. Also, the government will try to address gas and power shortages by releasing funds to independent power producers (IPPs) in the coming months. A committee led by Petroleum Minister Asim Hussain had also been tasked to hold talks with stakeholders in Sindh to share some of the gas produced in Sindh with Punjab.
The spokesperson went on to add that the meeting hailed the cabinet decision on Wednesday to amend the 1964 Promotion and Service Rules requiring mandatory publication of details of assets of everyone drawing remunerations from public exchequer, including civil servants and people in armed forces and judiciary. The core committee also welcomed the prime minister’s announcement to lift a ban on government jobs and decided that a notification in this regard would be issued soon, the spokesperson added.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 6th, 2012.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ
chief justice of pakistan should take just decision
This government should be allowed to complete its term so that it and the parties forming this government can be consigned to the dust bin of history, once and for all. No more political martyrdom... thank you, we have had 3 terms of corruption and little else.
Mr. Zardari doesn’t want to cooperate in memogate investigation on the basis that he has immunity. Why wouldn’t he help bringing this scandal to a closure which is plaguing the nation for last three months?
Immunity claims begs the question how far does it goes? Can someone sell out the country and claim immunity from prosecution? If it is PROVEN that Mr. Zardari was involved in memogate scandal then forget about immunity – he will be behind bar for a long time.
Please we must not provide this incompetent and most corrupt government any chances of removal by force and gaining any sympathy... they dont deserve it. Let them go to the masses for votes. They will know, and the people will know, where they stand...
Ask a commoner what he thinks of Judiciary as compared to PPP.
All those trying to grasp the legal complications involved in 'Immunity' issue should put their relevant queries to @Sehr.Siddiqui who maintains: "Those claiming immunity under Article 248 should read it carefully with an open mind. Immunity is available for acts done in good faith and sincere intent while in the office. Secondly this mis-interpreted immunity is against Islamic tenets as nobody is above law even in developed countries."
PPP has brought this country on the verge of total collapse. Don't need nuclear weapons, Pakistani politicians are enough to bring this country to its knees.
@Imran: Who ever claimed he was innocent? Why would they write? They will never. The CJ ought to have known this in advance. BTW the CJ is a the height of his political activism. He is no more to be seen as doing justice but playing games. Judiciary in shambles. Even the smallest of clear cut cases take for ever. First judiciary should come to be respected at all levels. It must be cleaned of corruption too.
@Sehr.Siddiqui: Could you please quote Article 248 and show us where it says what you are saying?
@Adil: Please don't get carried away in your blind hatred of a democratically elected President. The Head of State of every country, India, USA, UK etc enjoys the same kind of immunity both in the local courts and also under international law. References can be provided if needed. So don't just blame our Constitution. And the President enjoys this immunity during the time he holds office not for life. Even if an Ambassador commits a cold blooded murder he CANNOT be arrested but only declared a persona non grata. That is guaranteed under the Geneva conventions. Please don't just jump on a bandwagon think before you abuse yourself.
This supreme court has lost all its credibilty & morality. Its not rule of law but mitary law which prevails here.
These are us who bring them to govern us and then mourn 5 years and then again bring them. These are culprits and we are the dumps.
Zardari's enemies have courts, best intelligence and most aggressive media on their side and what they have is a fifteen year old case and a peice of worthless paper called Memo. Book him in something new or admit that he is smarter than all of you.
All ante zardari ,commentators,no court has found zardari guilty so don't pass judgments you are victims of propaganda and hatred
sense less commet by Lala jee...u meen to say these people are above law???? sari zandgi gulam hee rahan....
On the question of immunity for the head of any Islamic state it is interesting to read Benazir Bhutto's views in her book ' RECONCILIATION ' page 73.
Understandably an “absolute immunity from damages liability predicated on his official acts” can only be allowed to the President so long as he acts in “good faith.” But is the pilfering and looting of national assets and tossing them up in foreign accounts and buy foreign estate is counted as done in good faith?
Their resistance show how sincere they are for country and how much they respect the apex court of 180 million Pakistanies.if he would be innocent the would had written the letter they know he has comitted swindling there for he is saying that he is immuned no law will be implimented even if he robs the whole country cuz law is only for poors and ordinary people of Pakistan.
To hide the truth is a President's fundamental right.
@Pro Bono Publico: he was in jail you should have implemented the law. cases did not start last year.
@jai zardari: LOL u r funny and very deluded
Those claiming immunity under Article 248 should read it carefully with an open mind. Immunity is available for acts done in good faith and sincere intent while in the office. Secondly this mis-interpreted immunity is against Islamic tenets as nobody is above law even in developed countries.
No one is Immune under Islamic law. AZ is acting like the emperor. Time for a change.
@ mr ifti the reason is that all the decisions are going against PPP and no body else .the behaviour of courts is childish and self destructing IT WILL BE RIGHT OF PPP TO REJECT A BIASE DECISION AS NO ONE IS ALLOWED TO PUNISH THE INNOCENT
@Umer: I guess we're pretty sensible and mature not to dismiss all this corruption as hearsay, but call for an independent and thorough investigation into it. If all's so 'neat and clean', why fear it?
I am much serprised to read comments by some readers. Why the everything which goes against the ppp you say that it is "unjust". it your sweeeet persident is innocent why he is not give permission to open swiss cases! Always support the truth.........
Pakistan Suprior Judiciary is on suicidal course.they should have concentrated more on issues agitating common man than targetting an individual or party. As you sow so reap.
The PPP has taken an understandable but UNCONSTITUTIONAL position on the issue. There is no ambiguity that SC is the only forum to interpret the constitution, but the PPP has deliberately adopted a confrontational course. It hopes to become ghazi or shaheed---win-win in either case for a party that has hardly anything on its credit to convince the common people that it deserves their vote, yet AGAIN!
the time has come for the court to make ultimate decision .if zardari is not listning to the judges then at least chief justice should resighn.after this zardari and his party can not claim bias
Dignity and respect of the court are not imposed, but maintained through just and unbiased decisions. There is an old joke, where a servant asks his master how he would react, if he calls him a jackass. The master replies that he would hit him. The servant asks again what if he thinks the master were a jackass. The master replies that he couldn't do anything as he doesn't control his thoughts. The servant says "ok, I am thinking that you are a jackass". The bottom line is that it is simply not possible to gag every voice of dissent. Only transparency, justice, unbiased decisions, will silence the critics. Otherwise the lawyers who are quiet right now will sooner or later start complaining, as no one is getting relief from the court these days. All cases are in the cold storage.
I hate the slogan "Democracy is the best revenge" ppp please explain who are you taking this revenge from?? From Your own pakistani people! (confused)
By the action of judges the word judiciary has lost all respect by most people of Pakistan. The supreme court judges have ruined the judicial system. What is thier punishment??????
President has done nothing criminal. There is no evidence. Hearsay is not evidence neither a proof of guilt. Until a court proves him guilty he is innocent.
@ Hasan Riaz: Its a constitution made by a jiyala for the jiyalas. Pakistan and its public; who the hell are they?
@Hasan Riaz: So basically, the president can do everything criminal and get away with it whereas the common man goes to jail for committing the most insignificant of crimes...? What kind of a constitution is that?!!
The state of affairs in Pakistan will not change/improve as long as some consider themselves above the law. Only this week, Kate, wife of Prince Williams, offered to volunteer with junior girl scouts. As per law, she had to go to a police station, get a background check, and obtain a clearance certificate that adults require to work with young children.
Mr. President! This is the best time to clear your name and bring some respect to this country as since day one of opening of Swiss case you have been claiming innocence and that the case was concocted against you and late BB for political victimization..
Judiciary is Biased Thats what every sensible person knows
@Lala Jie: And the results are all before us!
The constitutional position is very clear, the president enjoys immunity from criminal prosecution. But the Supreme Court is hell bent on seeking revenge. Bias is floating on the surface of record.
Pakistan has every law of the land where law is for the poor while land is for the rich.
@Lala Jie: You mean we should abolish the legal system?! Please lets not talk like sensless jiyalas.
for Allah sake, do not let them become siasi shaheed again. The nations has already paid a heft price for their sacrifices.
If the president is innocent then why not write the letter to the swiss govt?
Ever heard the word 'Respect' Mr President? or 'You give respect you gain respect' ? You respect the court too much. May be your next PPP manifesto should be "Respect everyone listen to none"
They are looking for political martyrdom which is the only way out for for this inept, corrupt and disabled administration.