The usually fiery attorney general of Pakistan was put in an embarrassing position before the Supreme Court on Friday when he failed to respond to simple legal and constitutional questions about the history of contempt of court law.
Irfan Qadir could not cite even a single judgment in support of his arguments that the contempt law was sustainable.
“I am confused as to how to respond to your queries,” he admitted, when Justice Jawwad S Khawaja corrected him on the enactment of contempt law in the past.
“Hear now with ears open, the court will tell you about constitutional history of the country; we are here for your assistance,” said Justice Khawaja.
The poorly-drafted law invited laughs from the petitioners in the case when they highlighted blunders in the draft made by the legal team of the government.
Attorney General Qadir told the court that he too was against the act initially when he first saw its contents in the press; however, later when he read it, he found it to be a piece of correct legislation.
The bench expressed amusement, however, when he advised the court to read out the Constitutional provisions which were omitted or amended through the new law, saying that parliament has powers to pass any law.
Justice Tassaduq Jilani asked the attorney general “Are you conscious of its consequences?” Qadir confidently replied saying yes since there was no conflict.
He, then, advised the court to show restraint and added: “Due to non-implementable orders, we lost one prime minister and now we should harmonise”.
However, the chief justice further told Qadir to “obstruct from your mind” the idea that the court will do any “muk mukka (deal)”.
Qadir also offered reconciliation but the court found his arguments irrelevant. The chief justice told the attorney general that going hand-in-hand with the rulers was impossible for the courts.
“The court will remain neutral instead of becoming a party in any case,” Chief Justice Chaudhry said.
In its judgment, the court also observed that the federation’s lawyer, Abdul Shakoor Paracha, confessed that the new law was introduced in haste because the court had already disqualified one prime minister, and it feared it could disqualify another one, in the NRO implementation case.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 4th, 2012.