We have walked a distance and quickly come right back to the starting point. Just like his predecessor, Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf has been issued a contempt of court notice for failing to write the letter to Swiss authorities that would reopen corruption cases against the president of the country. The somewhat more conciliatory attitude adopted by the Court during its last hearing in the matter had vanished on August 8, with the five-member bench hearing the matter saying it saw no reason why the present prime minister should be treated in a manner any different than former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani who, of course, was disqualified over the same NRO issue.
The situation continues to become an increasingly sticky one. The Supreme Court turned down a request from the Attorney General that the next hearing be delayed till September. August 27 has been set as the date when the prime minister will need to offer an answer to the show-cause notice served to him. He does not really have much time. The PPP, meanwhile, has already decided that it will not be writing the letter; its argument has consistently been that the president enjoys immunity under the Constitution and cannot be tried for corruption. The Court differs on this key issue of immunity.
The legal arguments are potentially endless; lawyers and other experts all hold their own views on the matter. But the fact is that this affair has consumed huge amounts of energy and time. It has acted to destabilise the country and left everything in a state of flux. This is, perhaps, all the more so given that talks of technocrats in the government and suggestions of early polls keep coming up. The uncertainty can only add to the problems we face. Most of all, in our still struggling democracy, we need a sense of stability and order as well as some sense of normalcy. The clash we now have right in the open between two key institutions is not at all reassuring. It is also unclear where a solution lies or what can be done to solve another approaching crisis, which threatens to badly shake the existing order.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 9th, 2012.
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Law is blind: It does not discriminate between Gilani & Raja ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Same crime same punishment.
Media all over the world is smiling on the sense, rationality and circular reasoning the top notches of Pakistani nation are indicating for the issue. FAZ, Frankfurt Allgemeine Zeitung which is extremely serious and most read paper amongst educated elite of Germany and elsewhere, on page 5 of its publication on 09.08.2012, has also termed it as"Theater" being played in Pakistan. Can any one teach to our respected elite after all what they are doing with this poor nation
This will continue, ven after the elections and President Zardari becomes president again. The courts will ask the PM to write this letter. The best thing is to set up some sort of committee and write it themselves, instead of destabilizing the country like this.
@Rick: If matter had gone to lower courts, the government would have dragged out the issue for a further few years. Why is it so hard to comprehend that a powerful and fully functional judiciary is part of a democratic setup?
And it's not rocket science either, all successful democracies have elected representatives that are answerable to the law of the land. The notion that one should wait 5 years to oust a government and that is the only accountability is absurd. Does that mean for 5 years the elected representatives are free to flout the law?
Conviction of one man does not mean 'threat to democracy' or 'clash of institutions' or some other cliche that has been thrown in the garb of 'analysis'
The most practical solution is the coalition govt announce a date for next elections in 90 days. The next elections would decide the fate of current politicians including PCO CJ. The new parliaments (both houses) should decide once and for all the powers of elected parliament and paid govt servants whether judges or generals. In most democracies the SC only comes into the picture after all the lower courts and HC fail to provide justice/solution and an appeal against HC decision is filed in SC. The SC does not pick and choose all the political cases and act as lower courts. This deprives the legislature of right to appeal to a higher court.