A day after the apex court released the detailed judgment in the premier’s contempt case, the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) hit back, saying the premier would continue to serve until the decision of the appeal.
The response, albeit mild, had hints of defiance.
“We are thankful to the Supreme Court for releasing the detailed verdict in PM’s contempt case at a time when he had left for an important foreign visit,” said Minister for Information Technology Raja Parvez Ashraf at a press conference on Wednesday.
When asked to explain his statement, particularly the gratitude for the courts, Ashraf said “the decision has clarified confusion about disqualification of the prime minister.”
He said the detailed verdict was not very different from the short order and says nothing about the prime minister’s disqualification.
“We have the right to appeal and will utilise that,” he said.
“The prime minister would continue to perform his duties until the appeal against the decision is decided upon,” he added.
Ashraf further said there is a procedure for disqualification of a member of parliament, and censured the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) which has launched a protest movement against the premier’s refusal to step down following the conviction.
Ashraf was flanked by Minister for Capital Administration and Development Nazar Muhammad Gondal, and the two spelt out the party’s reservations with a lot more restraint than former law minister Babar Awan did after a decision in the memo scandal last year. Awan is no longer affiliated with the party.
Gondal cited paragraph 27 of the detailed judgment and complained that ‘right of fair trial’, guaranteed by the constitution was ignored once again due to doctrine of necessity.
This law of necessity was used several times in the past, particularly in PPP’s founder and former premier Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s case as well, he said.
“History will determine why the law of necessity was invoked again,” he added.
Gondal said the premier had appeared before the court thrice during the hearing but was never asked why he ridiculed the court’s orders.
This is the reason why the prime minister did not give any justification, he said.
SC dispatches judgment
The Supreme Court sent copies of its detailed verdict to President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani for necessary action.
The certified copies of the detailed verdict were also sent to the Speaker National Assembly Fahmida Mirza, Chairman Senate Nayyar Hussain Bukhari, Election Commission of Pakistan, Chairman NAB, Admiral (retd) Fasih Hussain Bukhari, Attorney General Irfan Qadir, registrars of all high courts, Secretary Cabinet Nargis Sethi, and Secretary Law Yasmin Abbasi.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 10th, 2012.