PM will be indicted if Zardari immunity is not proved: SC


Justice Nasirul Mulk, the head of the seven-member special bench of the Supreme Court (SC) hearing the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) implementation case, told Aitzaz Ahsen, counsel for Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, during a hearing on Wednesday to convince the court that President Asif Ali Zardari had immunity or the court would indict the prime minister for contempt of court.
Ahsen stuck to his position that no mala fide was involved in the prime minister’s statement before the court and it should be treated as informal. His argument was that the prime minister was an ordinary citizen, but the court did not agree to his submission and questioned how he could be an ordinary citizen when all resources of the government were available to him and he was also a legislator. Ahsen, however, did not budge from his position that the letter to the Swiss authorities could not be written as long as the president was in office. He also said there was no harm in case the letter was written but argued that if the letter was not written, it did not warrant contempt of court. From his arguments before the court, it seems that the government is adamant not to reopen cases against President Zardari as the court was again informed that the letter could not be written because the president enjoyed immunity under Article 248 of the constitution. The special bench, headed by Justice 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, told Aitzaz Ahsen to conclude his preliminary arguments by Thursday (today).
Justice Mulk told Ahsen that if he could not convince the court that President Zardari enjoyed complete immunity under Article 248 of the constitution, it would proceed in the matter in accordance with the law and frame charges against the prime minister. He said the prime minister should have written to Swiss authorities to reopen graft cases against the president before invoking the defence of immunity for the president. Ahsen then requested the court to give the premier the benefit of doubt, as he said his client had obtained proper advice and then decided not to write letter to the Swiss authorities. Justice Mulk told Ahsen that if he proved the president’s immunity, the court would not proceed further in the matter. Ahsen continued to argue that the prime minister honestly believed the president enjoyed immunity. Justice Mulk noted that the prime minister had stated before the court that the decision of not writing the letter was his own.
Justice Khosa noted that the prime minister had stated that he was ready to go to jail but would not write the letter. “Is that not disobedience of the court order?” he asked. He said further that the prime minister was acting on the advice of his subordinates but was not ready to obey court orders. Ahsen then stated that the matter of implementation of the court order should have been referred to the high court. Justice Mulk observed that Article 204 of the constitution empowered the apex court to take action against those who did not implement its orders. “Seventeen judges have unanimously passed a crystal clear order in the NRO case. Do you want another order?” Justice Khosa asked Ahsen, who replied that action on the order was currently not possible. He said if the prime minister had obtained advice, there was no harm, but if he did not, it did not warrant a crime.
Justice Ather Saeed enquired who would be responsible if the Rules of Business were used wrongly.


  1. Immunity aspect is purely a constitutional matter and this is such a bizarre position taken by the SC to have Aitzaz "convince" the court that President has immunity. Its the SC's prime responsibility is to interpret the constitution – its their job to decide the immunity factor by. The learned court should know and decide beyond doubt whether something is allowed by constitution or not. Period.
    Decide and move on to other cases because so many people are desperately awaiting timely court proceedings.

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