This he said after the Supreme Court scrapped the Contempt of Court Act 2012, which was enacted in a hurry to save the new Prime Minister, Raja Pervez Ashraf from being disqualified by the judiciary on the lines of the previous incumbent, Yousuf Raza Gilani, in Jun. The court has been targetting the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) prime ministers by asking them to reopen graft cases against the party chief and the President of the country, Asif Ali Zardari. The apex court, in the process, resurrected the Contempt of Court Ordinance of 2003. It was under this ordinance that Gilani was convicted and subsequently disqualified.
The government filed the appeal after PM Ashraf was issued a show-cause notice for contempt of court over his failure to act on the court's order to write to the Swiss authorities to reopen the graft cases against Zardari. The government has been facing a tough challenge from the judiciary and officials who met on Tuesday to find out a way within the means of the Constitution to resist the designs of the judiciary. They also decided against writing to the Swiss authorities over reopening the graft cases.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday summoned Ashraf to personally appear on August 27 to explain why he did not act on orders to revive the graft cases. A five-judge bench headed by Asif Saeed Khosa served the show-cause notice under Article 204 of the Constitution. The apex court warned that it would take action if the government failed to come up with any action by the next date of hearing. It mentioned about Gilani, saying the latter deliberately violated the court's orders which led to his disqualification. The bench said Ashraf was doing the same.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Irfan Qadir sought more time from the court, saying the case could be adjourned till Sept first week owing to its 'sensitive' nature. The court, however, rejected his plea, saying it had given the government enough time to act on the issue.
The court has been pressuring the government to revive the graft cases since Dec 2009, when it scrapped a graft amnesty that benefited Zardari and several other tainted leaders. The government refused to act, citing the President enjoys immunity in Pakistan and abroad. On Jun 19, Gilani was disqualified as the prime minister and after a lot of drama, Ashraf was appointed his successor. Observers of Pakistan politics believe the tussle would intensify further and the judiciary could also end up in ousting Ashraf.
(With agency inputs)