While the PPP goes about the business of picking a new Prime Minister, it would seem that Mr Gilani owed the job as much to the President as to the parliamentary party which actually elected him, and so will his successor. However, apart from the many problems besetting the country, the question of whether the government will obey the orders of the Supreme Court remains undecided. While no one is interfering in the election of the new Prime Minister, in the same way there should be no disobedience of the Supreme Court. The PPP has done well to accept the decision, and the President should now proceed swiftly to the filling of the office which the Supreme Court declared vacant since April 26. The administrative consequences of not having a Prime Minister, and thus not having a Cabinet, will have to be faced by the new Prime Minister, and the PPP, which will select the new incumbent, should do so at once. Whoever the new PM is, should also move swiftly to form the Cabinet, so that the country has a government once again, and not just the present chaos, where power riots are the main element in what is happening. The new Cabinet will have to tackle a host of issues, including Pakistan’s not yet having re-opened the Nato supply routes, as well as the wider but related question of continued participation in the War on Terror.
The previous Prime Minister paid the price for being more obedient to the decisions of the party than to those of the Supreme Court. His successor must not repeat that error. It must be remembered that while the party, or rather the party co-Chairman, granted the office, it was a state institution, and thus intrinsically demanded that all other state institutions, such as the Supreme Court, be given their due. The nation needs neither Prime Ministers removed from office by the Supreme Court, nor them defying it. It needs obedience to its orders, no matter how high an official might be affected. The PPP has got to make a decision on whether its Co-Chairman is bigger than the law, or not. The Supreme Court has already decided that the Prime Minster, for all his having said repeatedly that he was head of the executive, is not. As the legal adage has it: Let justice be done, even if the heavens fall. The Supreme Court has shown that it will abide by that adage by taking the extreme step of delivering a verdict removing a Prime Minister from office. No one, least of all the PPP, should think that there will be any hesitation at making any other difficult decisions. It is thus time for the PPP to stop this unseemly clash with the judiciary, sacrificing any individuals who get in the way.