You are going through this ‘opinion’ when the Supreme Court had already unveiled its judgment. Yes, as the majority of the pundits were predicting Mr Yusuf Raza Gilani has been convicted for refusing to write to the Swiss authorities to ask them to reopen corruption case against President Zardari.
I would call the former prime minister as Gilani here because he is now convicted by a court of law and does not deserve to hold public office.
The apex court sentenced him to a symbolic sentence “till the rising of the court”, sparing him a jail term.
Legal experts are divided on whether Gilani’s conviction would lead to his disqualification, saying the court’s detailed order would provide clarity in this connection.
I heard Attorney General of Pakistan Irfan Qadir saying this morning that there was no contempt of court law in the Constitution.
Even the honorable AG said the verdict was in violation of Article 25 of the Constitution, addying there is not statute at the moment existing regarding law of contempt. This confusion will clear once the detailed judgment is issued.
According to some experts, now Speaker National Assembly Fehmida Mirza being the highest-ranking member of the house will have to decide on the disqualification of the prime minister.She has to send a notification to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) within the next 30 days and then the Commision will decide to initiate any action against Gilani in 90-day time period.
On the horizon of Pakistan’s political history two serving prime ministers Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif had been charged with contempt of court. However, they were never convicted as that of Yusuf Raza Gilani.
Nawaz Sharif had appear personally before the Supreme Court on November 17, 1997 after a contempt notice was issued to him on recommendation of the then Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah.
Contempt proceedings against Zulfikar Ali Bhutto were initiated in 1976 in the National Awami Party (NAP) case. During 1970s, the National Awami Party was banned by the government and the decision was upheld by courts.
However, Bhutto could not restrain himself from airing statements against NAP. The late Abdul Wali Khan, father of Asfandyar Wali, had then filed a contempt petition against ZAB in 1976. The court had then entertained Wali Khan’s petition and issued notices to the prime minister.
However, no concrete evidence was found against the then incumbent premier and the notices were discharged.
I would highly appreciate Mr Gilani if he resigns from his office and file review petition to clear himself of the charges.
In our neighbouring country, recently a railway minister had resigned after a rail accident. Gilani should follow suit. There are a number of such examples in the world.
Almost 90 percent of the media and opposition parties inside and outside the parliament are supporting the SC verdict.
I would say that the Supreme Court has shown restraint in this case. The PPP should also reciprocate instead of launching street protests etc. There are reports of incidents of firing and violence specially from Karachi in interior of Sindh. The party if not satisfied with the conviction should open a legal fight by filing a review petition in court.
This is very unique kind of an occasion for Gilani as he had won the hearts of President Zardari and all workers and leaders of Pakistan People’s Party by defying court orders.
It is beyond to understand that just to save a person the whole country has been put into crises. All the government resources are being utilised to protect the president…alas….this happens no here in the world……to poor of people it is nothing more than ‘Tamsha’ ……”Sub Tamsha Hay”.
Will this conviction or its suspension bring any relief to 180 million people already hit-hard by numerous crises like inflation, energy shortage, unemployment, law & order, education and health facilties.
But who cares……… only the common men are the losers here. Our existing issues will continue to multiply manifold. This political instability will also affect our economy, which is already in bad shape.
Now the ball is in the PPP court as all depends on its new course of action.
Maqsood Hussain is a freelance documentary producer and a journalist associated with a leading Pakistan-based English language newspaper.