Gilani Prime Minister – Swiss letter cannot be written: Aitzaz

Gilani Prime Minister – Swiss letter cannot be written: Aitzaz

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) resumed contempt of court proceedings against Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, the Prime Minister of Pakistan in compliance with this Court’s order dated 16.01.2012.

A seven-member bench of apex court headed by Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk and comprising Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, Justice Sarmad Jalal Osmany, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry, Justice Gulzar Ahmed And Justice Muhammad Ather Saeed is hearing the suo moto notice taken against non-compliance of court’s verdict against National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO).

During today’s proceedings, Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan argued that until Asif Ali Zardari is holding the office of President of Pakistan, the SC order to write letter can not be implemented.

He contended that only the prime minister was held responsible for the contempt though former attorney general and former law secretary advised the premier for not writing the letter to Swiss authorities to reopen graft cases against Asif Ali Zardari.

The counsel argued that neither he was asking the court to review it’s order and nor said the verdict was wrong but the implementation of the relevant part of the order was not possible because the president enjoys immunity under international law.

Former attorney general Anwar Mansoor, and former law secretary sent the advice to the PM, telling him that the president enjoys immunity and that the letter can not be written. Justice Usmani remarked that the court was never informed about the PM’s view.

‘Do you want to say that the PM had no malafide intention,’ Justice Khosa asked.

Aitzaz said the AG should be standing in the witness box to answer why the PM’s comments were not conveyed.

The SC on March 08 adjourned the hearing of contempt case against Prime Minister Gilani till today.

The bench had asked the premier to submit his written reply by 19th of this month. If he wants to appear before the bench, it may record his statement on March 21.

In compliance of court’s order dated March 08, Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan submitted a statement on behalf of PM Gilani on March 19.

In his statement, the prime minister said that he had committed no contempt by not writing a letter to the Swiss authorities due to the constitutional immunity enjoyed by the president.

Prime Minister Gilani has suggested the SC that if it does propose to expose the incumbent President of Pakistan to prosecution before a Western Magistrate, the best recourse will be to send this issue of grave public concern to the Parliament to take a decision, like it had done wisely over articles concerning appointments in the higher judiciary in the 18th Amendment case.

“I also believe that the sovereign state of Pakistan cannot, must not and should not offer its incumbent Head of State, symbol of Federation (Article 41), the most prominent component of Parliament (article 50), and the Supreme Commander of its Armed Forces (Article 243) for a criminal trial in the court of a foreign magistrate, during the term of his office,” he maintained.

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