Lahore: A showdown between Pakistani
judiciary and the civilian government appears imminent as
Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry has made it
clear that the Gilani government will have to submit to its
orders or be ready to "face the music".
Chaudhry today extended the deadline by 24 hours to
reinstate establishment secretary, Sohail Ahmed, who notified
posting of Inspector General Police (Gilgit Baltistan) Husain
Asghar in the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to probe the
multi-billion Hajj scam also involving the Prime Minister
Yousuf Raza Gilani's elder son Abdul Qadir Gilani.
Chaudhry has vowed to "preserve, protect and defend
the Constitution", saying that any deviation from it under any
circumstances must be resisted.
Chaudhry made the remarks at a Full Court meeting last
night convened at a time when legal experts, opposition
leaders and former judges feared the government is heading
towards a direct clash by not-implementing orders of the apex
court to end corruption in government departments.
Gilani told his partymen that "there is a limit to
everything and the situation has reached an extent such as
there is an intervention in my authority and I will not allow
Quoting Gilani, an outspoken member of PPP Babar Awan
said: "We will follow the Supreme Court orders but will not
allow anyone to encroach our authority and start running a
parallel system of governance."
The prime minister in a meeting with his allies has
reportedly sought their support in case a 'final showdown'
with superior judiciary is inevitable. "The PML-Q and ANP
leadership has assured their support," Awan said.
"I do not think we are heading to judicial martial law
in Pakistan," President Zardari's aide Fauzia Wahab said.
She wondered as to why the Supreme Court was focusing
only on a couple of cases related to the PPP supporters.
"People are not fools, they know who are behind the
judicial crisis," she said.
Punjab province governor Sardar Latif Khosa has even
come out with more strong words, saying that Chief Justice
Chaudhry should not play at the hands of some people,
referring to Sharif brothers.
"The Chief Justice of Pakistan has taken oath under
the constitution and he should act accordingly," Khosa
The Pakistan People's Party circles believe that the
Sharif brothers, after failing to get any assurance from the
Pakistan Army, have decided to use "judicial card" against the
Gilani-led government. Justice Chaudhry is believed to be a
'friend' of Sharifs in the political circles.
"The Sharifs in fact want government-judiciary clash
to wrap up the system before the Senate election due in March
next year," Awan, who is very close to President Zaradri
"The Sharifs should not become guards of independent
judiciary as everyone knows who had attacked the Supreme
Court. Shahbaz is doing politics over judicial matters."
Awan also blamed Sharifs for seeking to trigger a
clash between the provinces.
"Sharifs want clash of Punjab with other provinces but
we will not let it succeed," he said and added that former
prime minister Nawaz Sharif recently had met with retired army
men for implementation of his "design".
On the other hand Shahbaz Sharif, younger brother of
Nawaz and Punjab chief minister, said his party PML-N was
ready to take "direct action" against PPP-led federal
government for violating higher courts' verdicts.
"The PPP has declared a war against judiciary and
justice. We cannot witness this situation in silence and will
take direct action with full might to foil nefarious designs
of this corrupt government and its crook allies," Shahbaz
Shahbaz indirectly supported the use of armed forces
by the Supreme Court for getting its verdicts implemented when
he told a questioner that every institution, party and
individual should come forward to the assistance of the
independent judiciary in the provision of justice to the
He said the PML-N leadership would not confine itself
to just issuing harsh anti-government statements, he said it
would go for building a momentum after Ramazan (in September)
to oust the PPP from power.
Tendering resignations en bloc from all elected houses
is also part of the PML-N strategy chalked out in view of the
falling party popularity graph and fearing that if it does not
act in time 'any third force' (army) may intervene 'to set the
First Published: Thursday, July 28, 2011, 19:16