LAHORE: Aitzaz Ahsan, the lawyer for the prime minister in the contempt case, has lashed out at critics calling for the disqualification of Yousaf Raza Gilani and said that only the National Assembly speaker could de-notify his client.
“The key to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP)’s door is in the drawer of the speaker, as no court order or petition seeking Gilani’s disqualification can be honoured by any other institution except the speaker’s office,” Ahsan told journalists outside the Lahore High Court.
He stressed that the ECP was bound to act on the advice of the speaker, who too, has to build a solid case for the disqualification.
Ahsan said that his client has multiple options to appeal against his conviction. He added that he would choose the best course of action after consulting the premier. He did not say when the appeal would be filed.
Aitzaz Ahsan, a veteran lawyer and PPP senator, did not agree that the prime minister should resign on moral grounds. “The moral side of the question can best be answered by the premier himself, but I have reservations over the judgement, which in my view is unconstitutional.”
According to Article 10 of the Constitution, the same bench that charged the prime minister for contempt cannot also issue the verdict. It is a matter of jurisdiction, he said. “To me the Constitution is more sacrosanct than the issue of morality.”
However, he said that despite all his reservations, he had accepted the judgement.
About the president’s immunity, he reiterated that “the cases against him can be re-opened once the president leaves his office.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 16th, 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