LAHORE - The political situation in the country will be entering a new phase this week as the Supreme Court is expected to deliver its verdict on multiple petitions against the National Assembly Speaker’s ruling, which had held that Prime Minister Gilani doesn’t stand disqualified even after being convicted by the apex court on contempt charge.
Also, during the week the attorney general for Pakistan is likely to take necessary measures to set up a commission to investigate property dealer Riaz Malik’s allegations that Dr Arsalan, the son of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, had taken about Rs 340 million in bribes on the commitment that he would get the former Bahria Town chief favourable judgments in cases pending before his father’s court.
There are two possibilities: The SC will either say that despite conviction the prime minister is rightfully holding the office or will rule that he stands disqualified, notwithstanding the NA Speaker’s ruling to the contrary.
In case the verdict is in favour of the prime minister, the government will celebrate its great victory and the opposition parties will feel disappointed. But if the decision goes against him and the court holds that the NA Speaker had transgressed her constitutional limits by passing the impugned order, the political temperature is likely to shoot up within no time.
The government is prepared for the worst-case scenario. It knows that a decision against the prime minister is quite possible. Once an anti-Gilani judgment is announced, a new confrontation between the judiciary and the parliament will start. The government may intensify its war against the chief justice, which in fact has already been going on for quite some time.
The ruling party is determined to resist any order against the chief executive of the country and establish that the parliament is supreme and its decisions cannot be annulled by any institution, including the Supreme Court.
It may adopt various methodologies to show its might.
The NA has already adopted a resolution praising the speaker for its ruling in favour of the prime minister.
There are indications that the president plans to retain Mr Gilani in the driving seat for as long as possible. Even if the court order requires the premier to step down, the president may ask him to continue till his successor is nominated. And he may deliberately delay the (s)election of the new head of government.
It is no secret that even a new prime minister will not write a letter against the president to the Swiss authorities, a court order which was defied by Mr Gilani and convicted.
This is the declared policy of the PPP.
On the other hand, the government will do whatever it can to give a tough time to the Chief Justice of Pakistan and his son.
The indecent behaviour of the ‘worthy’ attorney general in the courtroom a few days ago should be sufficient to expose the government’s mindset.
Now this man has been empowered by the Supreme Court to take measures to have charges against Dr Arsalan investigated.
Although an impartial and expeditious investigation is being promised by the government, it is hard to believe that the process will really be fair.
The attorney general has been quoted as saying that the families of Dr Arsalan and Riaz Malik will also be investigated.
While Mr Malik has nothing to fear being the right hand man of the president and the prime minister, Dr Arsalan can expect no good. Vindictive people who will be working behind the scenes will soon make the chief justice’s son feel how serious a mistake he had committed by making the alleged deal with a man whose sole target is to corrupt the entire society.
He greases the relevant palms and gets done whatever he wants. He really knows that ‘money makes the mare go’.
The ruling party will do its best to embarrass the chief justice as much and as frequently as possible.
On the other hand the opposition parties are expressing their fullest support for the judiciary. Some have already held rallies for the sake of solidarity with the judiciary, others plan to do the same during the current week.