Islamabad: Pakistan faces a crisis with the political leadership and the judiciary "menacingly standing face to face like boxers in a ring" over a letter that has to be written to the Swiss authorities to reopen corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.
"Are we reaching the breaking point? Is the crisis between the judiciary and the executive now at a point from where it cannot be resolved at all?" asked an editorial in the News International on Friday.
"Certainly the executive appears uninterested in solving it - and like a senseless strongman on the streets, it seems intent only in flexing its muscles heedless of the fact that this would lead to much greater trouble," it said.
The government has said that the July 12 order of the Supreme Court ordering the Prime Minister to write a letter to the Swiss authorities, as well as its striking down of the new contempt of court law a few weeks later, are both illegal.
"This would seem, at least to the layman, to make very little constitutional sense. It is quite clear the court has authority to interpret the law. Its decision should then override the government`s contention that writing the letter would violate the law of the land. In the same way, it is quite clear that the law brought in to protect office-bearers from contempt proceedings was intended only to protect the PM. As such it was mala fide," said the daily.
The daily said that what "we have then is a direct conflict between two institutions".
"We have been seeing this brew up for some time now. It now appears to have got to a point from which it is hard for either side to step back. The executive is obviously desperate. It simply cannot afford to see another PM fall...," the editorial said.
"The question is whether it is now too late to find a way out of this crisis. It certainly seems this is indeed the case with the two institutions menacingly standing face to face like boxers in a ring," it added.
Raja Pervez Ashraf had succeeded Yousuf Raza Gilani after he had to step down over the issue.