Refusing to provide any more “unnecessary time”, the Supreme Court has ordered Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s counsel to conclude his arguments in a contempt case by Thursday.
During Tuesday’s hearing of a contempt case against the prime minister, a seven-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Nasirul Mulk, told Aitzaz Ahsan that 10 days to discuss Article 10-A were enough.
Justice Ejaz Chaudhry observed that many others were suffering due to this case, which has been dragging on and added that the court would not give any more unnecessary time.
A displeased Aitzaz told the court he had no problem with whatever the court wanted to do – without his consent. In response, Justice Mulk told Aitzaz that without his consent, the court will ask him to conclude his arguments on Wednesday.
However, after squabbling over the issue, a compromise was reached and the court extended the date till Thursday.
On being told to conclude his arguments on Wednesday, the premier’s counsel replied that he could not curtail his arguments. “I did hard work and conducted a research for preparation of the case to assist the court on this matter and I did not promise to conclude my arguments by Wednesday,” he said. He also told the court that he too was suffering due to the case.
Aitzaz further said that the court had asked him questions to begin with; so, should he not reply. Justice Mulk replied: “Go ahead, we will not ask you any question.” The premier’s counsel raised objections and said that then it would not be a fair trial.
“Should I not read evidences before the court in my defence?” Aitzaz said.
The court, however, observed that he has already taken enough time for the purpose, and offered him extra time for Tuesday and Wednesday. However, Aitzaz refused the offer, saying that it was not possible for him to argue for over three hours a day.
Resuming his arguments, the premier’s counsel advised the bench to refer the issue to parliament for necessary action, as after the induction of article 10-A in the Constitution the relevant law of the contempt of court became void and irrelevant. Aitzaz insisted that if there is a flaw/shortcoming in any law, the court refers the matter to parliament.
He referred to Article 175-A, inserted in the Constitution as a result of the 18th Amendment, which was referred back to parliament to remove a flaw in it, which was done so in the 19th Amendment.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 18th, 2012.