While one can understand the Prime Minister’s jibes at political rivals, it is hard to stomach his unbecoming sarcasm directed at the Chief Justice. Talking to the news media at Lahore on Sunday about the case against Arsalan Iftikhar, son of CJ Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, currently being heard by the Supreme Court, the PM suggested that the CJ should hear the case of his son (Musa Gilani) considering him “his own son so that he doesn’t have to run after the FIA and ANF repeatedly”, if the law bars him from hearing the case of his own son (Arsalan). This is a case of unnecessary slur and cheap mockery, and it hardly behoves a Prime Minister, who has been convicted of contempt, by a bench headed by the same Chief Justice, to do so. It is obvious that such utterances would not go down well with the people, especially when they have been in favour of Mr Gilani resigning his job on at least moral ground, if not under legal requirements. The Prime Minister also put forward the claim that the PPP had played a major role in the restoration of the judiciary, had good relations with the Chief Justice and great respect for the judiciary. The truth is that it was the dogged persistence of the general public and the opposition parties that proved a deciding factor in the issue in the face of the government’s dilly-dallying to bring the deposed judges back in office. About his respect for the judiciary the less said the better. The Prime Minister should have also avoided dragging in the army in the Arsalan case, as he did when he tried to remove the impression that the case had been “made up” by some supposedly interested parties. He could have simply confined himself to denying that the government had any role, but there was no point in separately saying that the army had none either.
One would not question, though, Mr Yousuf Raza Gilani’s dig at Mian Nawaz Sharif, President of the PML-N, the main opposition party, as he remarked that Mian Nawaz became a party to several court cases against the government – the NRO, memogate, rental power projects and Mr Gilani’s contempt case – but not in the case of Arsalan, “perhaps (because) he understands Mr Riaz has good relations with all political parties”. That is the price politicians have to pay in the game of politics.