Even as prisoner, Gilani can perform PM’s role: Aitzaz

Published: June 16, 2012
Ahsan told the court
that he was not well
prepared to assist
it on the specific
question related to
the speaker’s ruling.  PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Ahsan told the court that he was not well prepared to assist it on the specific question related to the speaker’s ruling. PHOTO: AFP/FILE


The political saga surrounding Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s conviction in the contempt case took a somewhat humorous turn, as the Supreme Court (SC) on Friday questioned whether a convicted person could still be the chief executive of the country, even from a prison cell.

Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, the premier’s counsel, answered with an emphatic “yes”, saying the trial bench’s verdict did not amount to disqualification. On the court’s query, Aitzaz replied that one could question the moral and political status of a member of parliament who was convicted under moral turpitude like committing corruption, but there was no constitutional bar in this regard.

Aitzaz stated that as per Article 63(1) (g) and (h) of the Constitution, despite Prime Minister Gilani’s conviction, he could continue performing his functions as the premier from a jail cell wearing a prisoner’s uniform.

Aitzaz added that the article states that an MP shall be disqualified if he or she has been, on conviction for any offence involving moral turpitude, sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than two years.

The focus of the proceedings of the three-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, was on a question raised in identical petitions filed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz on National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza’s ruling in the case regarding the premier’s disqualification.

The chief justice observed that through her ruling, Mirza cast aside the judgment of the highest court of the country. The bench also observed that Prime Minister Gilani was the only parliamentarian who was unwilling to challenge his conviction.

When the chief justice noted that no one appeared on behalf of the speaker to represent her in the court, despite her being a party to the case, Attorney General Irfan Qadir, in his typical aggressive style, stood up from his seat and vehemently told the bench that Mirza enjoyed supra-judicial powers, meaning the court could not summon her or question her authority.

Qadir then flipped the question on the chief justice, asking him what he would do if the NA speaker summoned him on any issue. Justice Chaudhry, as cool as a cucumber, replied: “Don’t worry, I will appear before her if the need arose.”

However, Latif Qureshi, a joint secretary of the NA, told the bench that Mirza had asked him to represent her in the case. The court asked Qureshi to submit an authority letter signed by the speaker stating him as her representative.

Aitzaz told the court that he was not well prepared to assist it on the specific question related to the speaker’s ruling in favour of the prime minister, but said that the speaker exercised her adjudicatory power.

He also claimed that she enjoyed exclusive powers under the Constitution. Aitzaz was asked to conclude his arguments on June 18, by 11 am, after which the attorney general would assist the court on the issue.

Larger bench plea rejected

As the hearing of the speaker’s ruling case began, Aitzaz proposed formation of a larger bench, saying that the case was of high priority. However, the chief justice declined his request.

While presenting his case, Aitzaz said that the NA speaker’s office was not a “post office,” adding that she too had the right to use her own brain. He also added that the attitude of the judges who took the decision was not objective. “I am a judge myself,” remarked Chief Justice Chaudhry. “I will not let you speak this way about judges,” he warned.

When the chief justice asked Aitzaz why Prime Minister Gilani had not filed an appeal, he replied that they had accepted the sentence and since there was no issue of disqualification, there was no need to file an appeal.

“Not filing an appeal does not affect this case,” remarked Aitzaz, to which the chief justice said that the court was not going to include this point. “Tell us your next point,” he reiterated. In response, Aitzaz refused, and received a “thank you, don’t tell us” as a reply from the chief justice.

Published In The Express Tribune, June 16th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (30)

  • YP Toronto
    Jun 16, 2012 - 5:36AM

    “Stand with anybody that stands right, stand with him while he is right and part with him when he goes wrong.”
    — Abraham Lincoln


  • Jun 16, 2012 - 5:44AM

    Before we go any further, please replace the AG with a more neutral person. He is more Gillani’s lawyer than Aitzaz Ahsan is.


  • Ali
    Jun 16, 2012 - 6:01AM

    Sir, we want to know how much did they pay to buy you? Seriously!


  • naeem hussain
    Jun 16, 2012 - 7:39AM

    AA has lost his mind in the effort to please his masters.


  • kala_bacha
    Jun 16, 2012 - 7:58AM

    In Pakistan all the criminals are prime ministers, president, members of parliament. Only ordinary people works and supports these thugs. Lately the black coats is cheapest to get among rest of colors but only in Pakistan


  • Yellow
    Jun 16, 2012 - 8:41AM

    Shame on Aitzaz Ahsan


  • Usman
    Jun 16, 2012 - 8:58AM

    Can anyone take Aitzaz Ahsan or Asma Jehangir serious anymore? Spectacular fall from grace….


  • Aafiyat Nazar
    Jun 16, 2012 - 9:10AM

    I suggest Mr. Ehsan and his govt. to elect any prisoner as PM and you will make a history..lol


  • Rana
    Jun 16, 2012 - 9:36AM

    Aitzaz Ahsan Face Off Malik Qayyum !!!


  • dr.sunny
    Jun 16, 2012 - 10:01AM

    what a joke!!


  • ahmed
    Jun 16, 2012 - 10:32AM

    @ Muhammad Hassan, as per rumours among the lawyers he got 40 million PKR just for the first hearing. so you can well imagine, his sale price is little on the higher side, but with money anything can be bought, as you can see in case of Riaz Malik


  • Ahmer Ali
    Jun 16, 2012 - 10:47AM

    The government is running on the formula “Might is Right”.


  • Polpot
    Jun 16, 2012 - 11:15AM

    “even as prisoner, Gilani can perform PM’s role: Aitzaz”
    Isnt the PM working exactly as one?


  • Truth
    Jun 16, 2012 - 1:50PM

    Mr. Aitzaz, a walking body is considered dead when his soul is dead


  • Expatriate
    Jun 16, 2012 - 2:59PM

    Well what can you do.He is a specialist criminal lawyer.His job is to twist the law to get relief for his criminal client.He was one the lawyers for famous Haris Steel bank fraud case.


  • Uza Syed
    Jun 16, 2012 - 4:06PM

    Why not? Since this has become a season of so called ‘History making’ —- lets make history, let this time around send this Yusuf Raza Gilan to jail and let the jail be declared PM House and let the world witness this mockery of law . May be this becomes a good lesson for others to beware that democracy can become an instrument of destroying the whole social fabric of a society when people are not mature and educated enough to accept and handle the responsibilities that democracy reall happens to be.


  • khan
    Jun 16, 2012 - 7:20PM

    we have a chief minister who said about the fake degrees that degree is a degree even if it fake. Now if the prime Minister is in jail he must have done some criminal act so according to Mr.Aitzaz it is ok for Pakistan to have a criminal prime minister serving setence. That just shows the pathetic level of moral consciousness left in elite class of pakistanis. We the ordinary citizens of Pakistan Must wake up and take back our country from these criminal other wise Pakistan will not survive.


  • Khan jr
    Jun 16, 2012 - 7:45PM

    Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, with his political ambitions has not only lost the plot but has also managed to lose the public admiration that he once could lay claim to.


  • Cheers
    Jun 16, 2012 - 7:56PM

    Hats off for Aitzaz!


  • concerned citizen
    Jun 16, 2012 - 7:59PM

    shows how stupid our law system is! where all else fails, the law of commonsense kicks in which seems to be absent from these heads!Recommend

  • sana u llah khan
    Jun 16, 2012 - 8:01PM

    aitzaz ahsan will win this battle for PM………………Recommend

  • KiJ
    Jun 16, 2012 - 8:02PM

    Lets have him do premiership from jail… it will go as a record in the Guinness Book! ;-)


  • OHK
    Jun 16, 2012 - 8:28PM

    Aitzaz ahsan has no soul, no fear of God or anyone. He lies so much, what a waste of space he is on this planet.Recommend

  • Ammar
    Jun 16, 2012 - 8:43PM

    @sana u llah khan:

    I don’t think so. With extended power grabbed by our PCO judges, they can think about gagging, even sending the Speaker NA to jail. It’s most unfortunate!!!


  • John
    Jun 16, 2012 - 9:14PM

    If the law is changed that a convicted person can hold any Govt office it will save everyone from all this exercise and of course tax payers money.Recommend

  • HHS
    Jun 16, 2012 - 9:28PM

    It must be remembered that Advocate Aitazaz Ahsan is the most brilliant lawyer in the country.
    He was chosen by CJP to fight his case for reinstatement. He accomplished that assignment
    Very courageously,, successfully and without charging any fee! His humbleness can be seen when he acted as CJP’s honorary driver everywhere in Pakistan till CJP was reinstated.


  • Khalid Rahim
    Jun 16, 2012 - 10:26PM

    Morally we have lost our character as a nation! Infact we no longer are a Nation, but a bunch of Ostriches with our heads buried in the sand. While those Weasels we have elected
    to ride our bare backs using the Koran in place of the carrot, lets forget about the stick it makes no difference! So what if USS Enterprise has entered the waters near Gwadar! Our Generals think saving Zardari’s democracy is more important then taking legal and moral action against Memogate, Familygate and Mediagate! ;(


  • Sherlock Holmes
    Jun 16, 2012 - 11:16PM

    It seems in Pakistan, once a PM, always a PM !!


  • OG
    Jun 17, 2012 - 4:24AM

    “Aitzaz stated that as per Article 63(1) (g) and (h) of the Constitution, despite Prime Minister Gilani’s conviction, he could continue performing his functions as the premier from a jail cell wearing a prisoner’s uniform”

    what a joke! only in Pakistan!


  • Ilyad
    Jun 17, 2012 - 7:17AM

    If we were in another country on Mr. Aitzaz Ahsan would be referred to the Bar to review why he should have a license to practice law on making such remarks, does he have any moral scruples or respect for the law which earns him his livelihood? obviously not….


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