Core committee resolves: PPP to stick to immunity stand despite SC warning

Published: January 5, 2012
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President Asif Ali Zardari says the Constitution gives him immunity in such cases.

President Asif Ali Zardari says the Constitution gives him immunity in such cases.

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.

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Reader Comments (56)

  • Nadeem
    Jan 5, 2012 - 5:00PM

    They are looking for political martyrdom which is the only way out for for this inept, corrupt and disabled administration.

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  • Jan 5, 2012 - 5:02PM

    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”

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  • Amar
    Jan 5, 2012 - 5:10PM

    HuH………How can they write to Swiss Authorities against their very own chairman Mr. Zardari.

    Once again its proved, “DEMOCRACY IS THE BEST REVENGE”Recommend

  • Jan 5, 2012 - 5:17PM

    People’s representatives should be held accountable by the people; not by any one else… Recommend

  • Imran
    Jan 5, 2012 - 5:18PM

    If the president is innocent then why not write the letter to the swiss govt?

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  • Muddassir
    Jan 5, 2012 - 5:19PM

    for Allah sake, do not let them become siasi shaheed again. The nations has already paid a heft price for their sacrifices.

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  • Jan 5, 2012 - 5:23PM

    @Lala Jie: You mean we should abolish the legal system?! Please lets not talk like sensless jiyalas.

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  • M. Ahmed
    Jan 5, 2012 - 5:24PM

    Pakistan has every law of the land where law is for the poor while land is for the rich.

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  • Ali Tipu
    Jan 5, 2012 - 5:37PM

    Their ministers are ridiculing everything coming out of courts, making a mockery of the miserable conditions of a common person. How much more ‘revenge’ do they have to take from its poor country and its people?Recommend

  • Hasan Riaz
    Jan 5, 2012 - 5:46PM

    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.

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  • PS
    Jan 5, 2012 - 5:47PM

    @Lala Jie:
    And the results are all before us!

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  • ishaq
    Jan 5, 2012 - 5:58PM

    Judiciary is Biased Thats what every sensible person knows

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  • Sunny
    Jan 5, 2012 - 5:58PM

    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..

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  • Pro Bono Publico
    Jan 5, 2012 - 6:00PM

    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.

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  • Adil
    Jan 5, 2012 - 6:05PM

    @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?!!

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  • Mohsin
    Jan 5, 2012 - 6:15PM

    @ Hasan Riaz: Its a constitution made by a jiyala for the jiyalas. Pakistan and its public; who the hell are they?

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  • CHANAKYA
    Jan 5, 2012 - 6:16PM

    @ Hasan Riaz

    Is writing a letter to reopen investigations a CRIMINAL offence?Recommend

  • Umer
    Jan 5, 2012 - 6:18PM

    @Adil:

    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.

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  • Shahid
    Jan 5, 2012 - 6:22PM

    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??????

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  • Shah shaikh
    Jan 5, 2012 - 6:27PM

    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)

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  • Imran
    Jan 5, 2012 - 6:29PM

    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.

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  • jai zardari
    Jan 5, 2012 - 6:55PM

    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

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  • shahid
    Jan 5, 2012 - 6:55PM

    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!

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  • dasmir
    Jan 5, 2012 - 6:58PM

    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.

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  • ifti
    Jan 5, 2012 - 7:05PM

    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………

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  • Adil
    Jan 5, 2012 - 7:11PM

    @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?

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  • B.K
    Jan 5, 2012 - 7:38PM

    @Imran: Is your claim that no one is getting justice from courts these days, based on statistics or just a random comment to create propaganda against the judiciary system. These things are relative and from the active role that the judiciary is taking in trying to solve the issues that this biased government should be handling like Karachi and memogate, it appears that relatively the judiciary is working hard to mete out justice.
    @ Umer and Hasan Riaz: Maybe our constitution needs some changes if it has dumb laws like a president who might have done something criminal(hence the need for an investigation and the opening of the cases) can’t be investigated due to “immunity”. If he hasn’t done anything criminal his government should have no problem writing that letter. Hence, their lack of willingness to just write a letter is very incriminating in my mind, just like their refusal to even acknowlegde the existence of a memo, initially, is what has gotten them into this tight corner. Recommend

  • jai zardari
    Jan 5, 2012 - 7:58PM

    @ 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

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  • ali
    Jan 5, 2012 - 8:06PM

    No one is Immune under Islamic law. AZ is acting like the emperor. Time for a change.

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  • Sehr.Siddiqui
    Jan 5, 2012 - 8:36PM

    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.

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  • Dr ajmal
    Jan 5, 2012 - 8:41PM

    I dnt understand this immunity crap. What if zardari decide to sell the country? Wd he still be immune?Recommend

  • whatajoke
    Jan 5, 2012 - 9:12PM

    @jai zardari: LOL u r funny and very deluded

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  • anonymus
    Jan 5, 2012 - 9:25PM

    @Pro Bono Publico:
    he was in jail you should have implemented the law. cases did not start last year.

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  • jai zardari
    Jan 5, 2012 - 10:02PM

    @what a joke
    the fact is obvious
    any action taken against PMLN .all their cases decided in their favour
    any decisions against army ?? khlum khula be insafi ho rahe hai,govt has been paralysed ,how long can they listen to tantrums Recommend

  • dv sikka
    Jan 5, 2012 - 11:17PM

    To hide the truth is a President’s fundamental right.

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  • Zubair
    Jan 5, 2012 - 11:23PM

    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.

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  • Zubair
    Jan 5, 2012 - 11:36PM

    @Hasan Riaz:this is not bias this is tit 4 tat this is court of 180 millions people who demand justice how can courtallow aaa politicians to swindle the whole country. Recommend

  • A Khokar
    Jan 5, 2012 - 11:41PM

    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?

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  • Parvez
    Jan 5, 2012 - 11:54PM

    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.

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  • Muhammad
    Jan 6, 2012 - 12:21AM

    sense less commet by Lala jee…u meen to say these people are above law???? sari zandgi gulam hee rahan….

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  • jai zardari
    Jan 6, 2012 - 12:45AM

    All ante zardari ,commentators,no court has found zardari guilty so don’t pass judgments
    you are victims of propaganda and hatred

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  • Ch Allah Daad
    Jan 6, 2012 - 1:00AM

    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.

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  • Jan 6, 2012 - 1:08AM

    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.

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  • Amjad Cheema
    Jan 6, 2012 - 2:05AM

    This supreme court has lost all its credibilty & morality.
    Its not rule of law but mitary law which prevails here.

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  • Jan 6, 2012 - 2:34AM

    @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.

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  • Jan 6, 2012 - 2:47AM

    @Sehr.Siddiqui:
    Could you please quote Article 248 and show us where it says what you are saying?

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  • SB
    Jan 6, 2012 - 3:45AM

    @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.

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  • romeo
    Jan 6, 2012 - 3:59AM

    @Ch Allah Daad:
    Shame on you Mr. Daad, how can you call the “MEMO GATE” a simple piece of paper. I ask you if memo gate is a simple piece of paper than why zardari is refusing to abide by the supreme courts order to submit his reply. What a shame so called president of pakistan is calling on the americans to come to his rescue. You must understand that if the memogate would have been a simple piece of paper than mr. haqqani would not have been called back and than sacked. where ever there is a smoke there is a fire, just remember that. Also, there is no secret of the fact that PPP including zardari are hard core criminals and corrupt politicians they have plundered the poor mans livelyhood to make castles for them and thier families. Today there is a memogate tomorrow the security, safety and sovereignty of the country would be handed to the americans by these corrupt politicians. Country Pakistan is at stake now with these politicians, there is no gas, no electricity, food prices beyond the reach of poor man and all big company’s like PIA, SUI Gas, Railways doomed. It is wake up time for all the Pakistani’s to come out like the Egyptians did and save Pakistan.Recommend

  • Truth
    Jan 6, 2012 - 4:32AM

    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.

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  • Husyn
    Jan 6, 2012 - 9:42AM

    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.”

    Matter resolved.

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  • Saleem
    Jan 6, 2012 - 6:04PM

    @ishaq:

    Ask a commoner what he thinks of Judiciary as compared to PPP.

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  • Mr. Honest
    Jan 6, 2012 - 6:07PM

    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…

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  • Saleem
    Jan 6, 2012 - 6:14PM

    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.

    Recommend

  • Aftab kenneth Wilson
    Jan 6, 2012 - 9:35PM

    In today’s interview of Mr. Nawaz Sharif with a leading journalist Mr. Salim Safi it has been revealed that a meeting was held between NS and our present CJ which of course NS denies but the journalist claims that there is a footage of this meeting. This interview is worth watching to know who is who.Recommend

  • A. Khan
    Jan 7, 2012 - 12:34AM

    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.

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  • Muhammad Shahzad
    Jan 7, 2012 - 5:11PM

    chief justice of pakistan should take just decision

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