Parliament to have the last word: PM
ISLAMABAD: Convicted and as controversial as ever, Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani Friday gave a new twist to the drama surrounding his disqualification by asserting on the floor of the Parliament that it was the House which will finally decide whether or not he would be disqualified as an MNA, The News has learnt.
Prime Minister Gilani Friday went one step ahead of his counsel Aitzaz Ahsan ñ who has been repeatedly saying that the Speaker of the National Assembly will decide the issue of his disqualification ñ by declaring that the Speaker will not act like a mere post office but rather would apply her mind on the judgement before ìthe final decision will be taken by Parliament.”
The prime minister repeated this novel interpretation of the constitution twice on the floor of the Lower House during his speech which was incidentally boycotted by the Opposition. The premier accused the judiciary of hatching conspiracies while referring to Thursday’s judgement.
He even went so far as to claim that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) was trying to remove him by using someone else’s shoulders. ìIf it has [any] courage, it should come forward and bring a vote of no confidence against me,” he brazenly challenged the Opposition.
Prime Minister Gilani’s speech in the House was a clear attempt to politicise the Supreme Court judgment. He gave a twisted version of the facts and once again tried to merge the issue of implementing the Supreme Court NRO judgement and writing of letters with that of President Asif Ali Zardariís presidential immunity.
The premier repeatedly said that the Vienna Convention and constitution was providing immunity to the president, while he was being punished for defending the constitution. He did not, however, mention that during the proceedings of the contempt case the seven-member bench had repeatedly admonished Aitzaz for mixing up the issue of writing the letter with the presidentís immunity or kick-starting the presidentís trial.
The Supreme Court held in categorical words that as there were many accused persons in the Swiss money laundering case besides President Zardari who do not enjoy immunity, the writing of the letter had nothing to do with the question of immunity. Aitzaz Ahsanís arguments maintained that if the proceedings were reinitiated in Switzerland after the letter was written, nobody would be able to initiate any trial involving the president, and that such a trial was not possible anywhere in the world as the president was the head of state and enjoyed immunity across the globe.
Below is an English translation of the exact verbatim from Prime Minister Gilani on the divisive issue as to who would remove him after the apex courtís judgement:ìI want to tell this house Madam Speaker, that no one except you who could disqualify me. This could never happen. There is no provision in the constitution. There is no law. If you will de-notify me today, I will leave right now. That is up to the custodian of the House. I have to make this Parliament supreme. This is the Parliament. This could never happen that a unanimously elected and chosen prime minister, who is representative of the 180 million people, is asked to go home.
ìLet as many judgements as possible come, come what may, Madam Speaker, only you are the ultimate authority to make a decision. Every judgement will come to you. And let me remind [the Supreme Court], you are not post box. It will be not so that one page will come to you and you will give that page to some like a postman. You will have to apply your own mind as well.
ìYou will hold your own court. You will ask everybody and thereafter if Parliament de-notifies me, I will be honoured. I will have no problem with that. But, [the Supreme Court] should also know that we have won an election in Multan last night which Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) was unable to win since 1988. This is the answer.
ìThe decisions regarding the Parliament will have to come in the Parliament, and ultimate authority is the Parliament and every institution derives powers form the Parliament. This happened for the first time in history of this country that I was congratulated by everyone on being convicted. I hadn’t received so many congratulations on becoming the prime minister. They congratulated me that I have taken a principles stance not to hide corruption but to defend the constitution of the country.
ìWhen I was appearing before the court, my son got more than 90,000 votes and we also won that. So that shows, there is one court here and there is another court of the people. You [the judiciary] have hanged Bhutto Sahab. You have separated him from us. But whether you can apply restrictions on the thinking ñ no restrictions could be imposed on thinking.î
Pointing towards his political opponents, Gilani said, “Those times are gone when you could come in power on othersí [pointed towards the apex court] clutches. They will not be able to come in power. We will not allow anybody to derail the system. The system will have to sustain. I will never allow [the Supreme Court] to remove and demolish the whole system as well.
ìTheir aim and objective is to remove the prime minister and then say that so far the votersí list has not been finalised so elections could not be held and thus make a technocrat government. This is unacceptable.ìMedia has created so much awareness in the country and among the civil society that there is nobody to accept this [judgement].
ìOne brother says he does not accept the president, the other brother says he does not accept the prime minister, and whole N-league says it does not accept Imran Khan. Who has given them this mandate to accept the people? We are elected people. We got the majority in both the Houses. Will they not respect the will of the people and mandate of the people? They should know how to respect the mandate of the people.”