Coalition partners not on same page


The provincial lawmakers in Sindh Assembly on Monday responded differently to the Supreme Court (SC)’s conviction of Prime Minister (PM) Yousaf Raza Gilani in the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) implementation case.
While Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) legislators stuck to their oft-repeated demand of the apex court to also take up thousands of cases under the so-called NRO, their coalition partners from the Pakistan Muslim League (PML)-Likeminded and PML-Functional seemed supportive of the judicial verdict.
Talking to journalists, Abdul Razzak Rahimoon of Likeminded remarked that the PM’s conviction by the court required him to voluntarily tender his resignation.
“He is under a moral obligation to resign,” Rahimoon said.
Functional’s Jam Madad Ali said the SC is an authority whose orders should be implemented. The former leader of opposition in Sindh Assembly said the premier should have faced the court on the first day to explain his position.
“There is a tussle going on between the government and the judiciary,” said Ali.
PPP lawmakers tended to remind the chief justice of Pakistan of over 8,000 NRO-related cases saying why the judiciary was focused on this particular case.
Former information minister Sharjeel Memon said writing a letter to the Swiss government, as required by the apex court, is unlawful until the party co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari remains the President, who has immunity under Article 6 of the Constitution. “Those insisting on this (letter) should read the Constitution,” he said. Memon said the PM is protecting the Constitution.
The SC should take action against former president Pervez Musharraf and his ruling partners for violating Article 6.
The demand was subsequently also voiced by another PPP legislator Humera Alwani. Later, also backed by Deputy Speaker Shehla Raza, Memon said the judiciary should also take up over 8,000 cases under the NRO.
“It seems like character-assassination of President Zardari and the trial of Benazir Bhutto,” the outspoken lawmaker said. PPP’s Rafique Engineer said the case is being hotly pursued and a person (Mansoor Ejaz) who is not even a Pakistani national is being given importance in the Memogate case.
Awami National Party legislator Amir Nawab Khan restricted himself to reminding the judiciary of the untiring efforts the political parties had waged for its restoration.
Home Minister Manzoor Wasan said the PM believes in democracy and has faced the SC twice. He said his government would take some important political decisions after the Senate elections.
In a post-session media talk, Information Minister Shazia Marri said the premier, by appearing in the court twice and accepting the SC’s two-page charge-sheet in a respectful manner, had made history.
She said even tough decisions of the courts could not bring her ruling party in the “aggressive mode”.
She recalled a “physical attack” and ransacking of the SC premises at the hands of PML-Nawaz supporters when the former had given a decree against the party leader Nawaz Sharif.
Marri said it showed a promising side of the current reconciliatory environment when some of the coalition partners accompanied the PM on his way to the court.