If the apex court’s orders to write the letter to Swiss authorities were a siege around the ruling party’s fort, the latter has announced, indirectly, that it is prepared to brave this out.
Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) senior leader, Senator Aitzaz Ahsan, said if the Supreme Court removes the incumbent prime minister, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, the party will accept the court’s decision, but also find a replacement.
Addressing a press conference at his residence on Tuesday, Aitzaz said there was no possibility of reaching any sort of compromise in the implementation of the National Reconciliation Ordinance verdict case.
Aitzaz did not chew his words. If the time comes, Prime Minister Ashraf will have to leave office, he said.
“There is no middle way if contempt proceedings against Prime Minister Ashraf are initiated … the Supreme Court is bound to remove the incumbent premier for contempt, as was done in the case of former premier Yousaf Raza Gilani,” Aitzaz said.
Since his arguments in the case of the former premier were not accepted by the apex court, Aitzaz said the situation will be the same in Prime Minister Ashraf’s case.
The extent of confrontation between the judiciary and the executive would be the removal of Prime Minister Ashraf, which the PPP-led coalition government is ready to accept, he said.
He added in the same breath, though, that the PPP would bring in a new prime minister, even if it meant electing and presenting a dozen more premiers till the end of current parliament’s tenure in March 2013.
“Till March 2013, the Supreme Court will be engaged in sending back premiers while the PPP-led coalition government is determined to elect more,” he said.
The government, he added, would never exercise any tactics which might harm the dignity of the court.
Ahsan said the Supreme Court could not dissolve parliament, nor can parliament oust the judiciary.
He said parliament could only be dissolved when its tenure ends or if the premier asks the president to dissolve it.
He said there was no possibility of the latter since, in his opinion, parliament had been performing its role commendably in the field of legislation.
Aitzaz said he did not think the judiciary is going beyond its limitations, but in the case of NRO implementation case, the judiciary is on the wrong track.
“Although the judiciary is not playing politics, some political elements are using this entire scenario for nefarious purposes,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 15th, 2012.