Gilani’s fate: If convicted, can president pardon PM?

The prime minister is not afraid of jails, says Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar.

Our Correspondent February 11, 2012


Ever since the Supreme Court initiated contempt of court proceedings against the prime minister, legal experts have looked towards earlier precedents and debated whether a presidential pardon would protect the embattled prime minister from being disqualified.

The issue is not as clear-cut as would be expected. Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq told The Express Tribune that, during former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s contempt case, the Supreme Court set aside his conviction on the grounds of then President Rafiq Tarar’s pardon for him.

On the other hand, Anwar Mansoor Khan, a former attorney general and retired judge, believes that, even though it is up to the court to exercise its discretion to set aside a conviction, presidential interference would not be fruitful in Gilani’s case.

Justice (retd) Allah Nawaz told The Express Tribune that it was presumptive to say anything in this regard, adding that laws were not based on assumptions. Meanwhile, President Supreme Court Bar Association Yasin Azad also believed that a conviction could not be terminated by a presidential pardon.

Renowned jurist Habib Wahabul Kheri said that, if convicted, the prime minister would be disqualified for five years, adding that in Nawaz’s contempt case the court had decided the case on merit and given benefit of ‘delayed justice’ to him.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader and Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar said that, while the PPP respects the judiciary, they were not afraid of the courts.

The defence minister went on to add that the prime minister had spent many years in imprisonment and that he was not afraid of jails. Asked whether there would be a new prime minister come Monday, Mukhtar said the party had left all matters to the will of God, adding that he was in no position to predict or issue any statement over the proceedings.

(Read: What the prime minister should do now)

Published in The Express Tribune, February 11th, 2012.

Correction: An earlier version of the article misstated Nawaz Sharif as the 'former president' instead of 'former prime minister'. The error has been rectified.


A.Bajwa | 10 years ago | Reply

In the present case even if PM has not carried out instructions there are mitigating circumstances.In any case letter should have been written by NAB which is the functional agency.

Riaz Khan | 10 years ago | Reply

PM should be pardoned by President since where do you get such honest & honorable PM! Long live the President, PM, COAS, DG-ISI and CJ of Pakistan. Hell with the Public of Pakistan who are running from pillar to pillar in resolving their day to day problems. Kashmir humara ha!

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