Islamabad, 29 April 2012. The government came up with unmistakable indications on Saturday that it was ready to prolong the contempt case, contending that an official of the Supreme Court had misused his powers by writing to the National Assembly and the Chief Election Commissioner asking them to take “further necessary action” for implementation of the verdict against the prime minister.
Law Minister Farooq Naek, at a press conference, urged the Supreme Court to hold an inquiry into the matter and hinted that the government would move a privilege motion against the court’s assistant registrar since he had “breached the privilege of Parliament”.
Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira, Minister for Postal Services Sardar Alhaj Gorgeij and Senator Sardar Ali were present on the occasion.
Mr Naek told the press conference that the Supreme Court had sent a letter along with copies of its two short orders in the contempt case against Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Chief Election Commissioner asking them for further necessary action.
The letter, written by SC’s Assistant Registrar Iqbal Naseem on the day the apex court had convicted Mr Gilani, said: “I am directed to enclose herewith a certified copy of the short order of the court dated 26-4-2012 and another order dated 26-4-2012 passed in the above cited criminal original petition for further necessary action.”
Reading from the court order, Mr Naek pointed out that the SC had not asked for disqualification of the prime minister. Instead, he added, the court had left the decision for other ‘institutions’ (NA speaker and CEC).
“If the Supreme Court decides to disqualify Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, the government will be ready to comply with all its orders,” the law minister observed.
Mr Naek said that an appeal against the Supreme Court’s order could be filed only after the detailed judgment was released.
He claimed that the Supreme Court order was not passed under Section 5 of the contempt of court ordinance which disqualified a person from holding public office for five years.
“The court always gives a detailed order so that the accused can read it and file an appeal, but in this case the Supreme Court did not issue a detailed order nor did it give a copy of its order to the prime minister,” he asserted.
He claimed that the Supreme Court did not disqualify the prime minister and people should not rush into passing judgments. “A trial ends only after an appeal is heard… What is the rush all about?”
Mr Naek said the NA speaker still had 30 days to decide about the prime minister’s fate and till that time Mr Gilani would continue to head the government and remain a member of the National Assembly.
Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira wondered why a contempt case was “hushed up against those who had pushed and insulted the chief justice after he was deposed (in 2007) and political workers were on the streets in his support.
He asked the PML-N leadership not to jump to conclusion and “avoid a collision course”.
“The People’s Party has learned lessons from its mistakes and will try to persuade the opposition not to repeat mistakes,” Mr Kaira said.