Anyone found guilty of being directly or indirectly engaged in defiance or ridiculing the Apex court is liable for punishment regardless of immunity.
Sadly, the so called democratic regime is hell bent to defy the court orders to the detriment of the people of Pakistan. Digesting $60 million in the Swiss accounts is problematic for Pres Zardari, as the said huge sum belongs only to the nation of Pakistan.
Yet, under a brokered deal via the national reconciliation ordinance (NRO) – the Musharraf regime wrote to the Swiss court that Pakistan was no more interested to pursue the case to bring back the loot.
Quite apparently, the contemptuous attitude of the current government is the root cause of substandard governance in Pakistan. Consequently, the poor country is being pushed deeper into misery, while the loot of national resources and exchequer continues unchecked - causing high unemployment rate, an environment ripe enough for economic collapse under one pretext or the other.
Defiance on the part of the government and its functionaries amounts to contempt of court - likely to be followed by the embarrassing consequences, of course.
Shamelessly, just to keep the ring leader off the hook, key elements in the government functionaries and the civil beaurocracy are programmed to be super active for the anti national illegality to the benefit of the top brass and the corrupt elite.
When the President house or the PM house becomes a safe haven for the accused culprit, and the material witness against such accused is scared away, then there is no point in appointing any Supreme Court bench or the judicial commission aimed at reaching the truth. This is a clear example of obstruction of justice and wasting of public time and money. Any possibility of violation of Article 6 can’t be proved, if certain confusing scenarios are tailored just to disallow any logical conclusion.
Furthermore, dreaming for a rubber stamp parliament, a puppet judiciary as well as an impotent army are neither realistic nor constitutional.
Beyond any doubt, both Supreme Court and Army are most important institutions of Pakistan and they must be respected as such.
In actuality, right after the NRO was declared null and void by 17 judges on DEC 16, 2009, all cases automatically reopened. As such, Mr. Zardari also lost his qualification ab initio to stay as president under Article 62 and Article 63 of the constitution. So no question of immunity, as there should be none for the de facto president.
Resultantly, Prime Minister is totally responsible for writing the letter to the Swiss authorities to restore the money laundering case, but he is defiant so far.
Article 204 of the Constitution deals with contempt of court matters:
(1) In this Article, "Court" means the Supreme Court or High Court. (2) A Court shall have power to punish any person who,- (a) abuses, interferes with or obstructs the process of the Court in any way or disobeys any order of the Court; (b) scandalizes the Court or otherwise does anything which tends to bring the Court or a Judge of the Court into hatred, ridicule or contempt;
(c) does anything which tends to prejudice the determination of a matter pending before the Court; or
(d) does any other thing which, by law, constitutes contempt of the Court.
(3) The exercise of the power conferred on a Court by this Article may be regulated by law and, subject to law, by rules made by the Court.
In the past, Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan has been advocating that there is no harm in writing letter to the Swiss authorities to restore the case. He worked hard for restoration of judiciary movement in 2008-9.
His image is tarnished as he took a "U TURN" and started defending President Zardari, claiming that the president enjoyed immunity against criminal charges.
And now he represents Prime Minister Gilani in the Supreme Court, where he is unsuccessfully defending the prime minister’s decision to not write to the Swiss authorities- another bad move on part of the gentleman.
As per the constitution, “A person shall be disqualified from being elected or chosen as and from being a member of parliament if he has been convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction for propagating any opinion or acting in any manner prejudicial to the ideology or the sovereignty, integrity or security of Pakistan, or independence of the judiciary of Pakistan, or which defames or brings into ridicule the judiciary or the armed forces of Pakistan, unless a period of five years has elapsed since his release.”
Courageously, PM Gilani said on the floor of the parliament, “neither army nor judiciary can derail system.”
Previously, Aitzaz Ahsan argued against President Musharraf’s immunity claims under Article 248 of the Constitution, and contended that the president and the governor could not be made party in criminal cases, they could not be arrested; but if any of their acts were contrary to the law, they wouldn’t have protection under Article 248 of the Constitution. No immunity existed then, how come it does exist for Zardari now?
The main purpose of the contempt of court law is only to ensure implementation of court orders.
Under Article 190, all executive and judicial authorities throughout Pakistan shall act in aid of the Supreme Court.
But, the honourable judges have been exercising patience under some expediency.
By not invoking Article 190--the judgments end up on shelves and the defiant regime remains free to keep on defusing the judicial power.
The vain political bickering on the other hand is only adding further fuel to the painful fire; also the temperature of the confused public is rapidly heightening.
February 13 is set for the prime minister to appear before the “honourable bench” only to get indicted with contempt over his refusal to pursue corruption cases against the president unless Mr. Ahsan constructs a fresh hurdle in favour of his high profile client.
It’s about time for the people of Pakistan to stand behind the Supreme Court to eliminate corrupt mafia in order to permanently eradicate the rampant corruption.
For Prime Minister Gilani, the best solution is to tender an apology with sincerity to the honourable bench of the Supreme Court; and undertake to write the required letter to the Swiss authorities to reopen the money-laundering cases. Otherwise, there is severe punishment upon conviction.