Islamabad/Lahore: Insisting that his
government does not want a confrontation with the judiciary,
Pakistan Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani on Friday said he will respect
decisions made by the Supreme Court, which is set to charge
him with contempt for failing to act on its order to reopen
graft cases against the President.
The Prime Minister`s remarks came amid reports that the
ruling PPP`s top leadership has decided to contest the apex
court`s move to frame contempt charges against him when he
appears before it on February 13.
"I will respect the court`s decision," Gilani told
reporters in Lahore when asked how he felt about the prospect
of being possibly convicted and jailed by the same judges whom
he had freed from detention and restored to their posts after
they were deposed by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf.
"The case is in court, my lawyer will speak (on this),"
he said in response to a question on acting on the apex
court`s order to write to Swiss authorities to revive cases of
alleged money laundering against President Asif Ali Zardari.
He declined to go into details of the case against him in
the apex court. "Have patience for a few days," he said.
Gilani insisted that his government had not sought a
confrontation with other state institutions, including the
judiciary, in the past and would not do so in future.
His lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan is likely to file an appeal in a
few days against the apex court`s order summoning the Premier
on February 13 for the framing of contempt charges.
The government`s stand in the matter has been influenced
by its desire to ensure that nothing affects the holding of
polls to the Senate or upper house of Parliament scheduled for
next month, The Express Tribune quoted its sources as saying.
The PPP`s top leaders have advised cadres "not to resort
to public rhetorical attacks against the assertive judiciary",
the report said.
The PPP will fight its case in court "with all its
might", arguing that Zardari enjoys immunity under the
Constitution from prosecution in all criminal proceedings
inside and outside the country.
Most PPP leaders were tight-lipped when asked to comment
on yesterday`s proceedings in the apex court.
However, a majority of them said during informal
interactions that the government was being "squeezed" by the
"We have a right to go for a review, as has been
mentioned by the counsel of the PM," an unnamed PPP leader
"One should not forget that after the 18th Amendment that
right of a fair trial has been recognised as a basic right of
every citizen under clause 10A of the Constitution."
Hours after the apex court summoned him to appear in
person on February 13 for framing of contempt charges against
him, the Prime Minister yesterday told Parliament that he
would appear before the Supreme Court.
"I want to assure you that I appeared when the (apex)
court summoned me earlier and I will appear again if they say
so. If we do not respect institutions, then who will?" Gilani
had said as members of the treasury benches in the National
Assembly, or lower house of Parliament, thumped their desks.
Responding to a question on conspiracies being hatched
against his government, Gilani today said in Lahore: "I had
said six months ago that all these conspiracies were aimed at
stopping the Senate elections and that will become clear to
everyone in few days."
The ruling Pakistan People`s Party is expected to win a
majority of the 54 Senate seats in next the month`s polls.
PPP leaders have alleged opposition parties are behind
efforts to disrupt these polls and to pressure the government
to advance the general election.
Gilani asserted that the elections to the Senate will be
held on time.
"After that, the fifth national budget will be presented
which will be unprecedented in the history of Pakistan. After
the budget, those people or parties who want to go in for
polls, can come and talk to me," he said.
Asked why the Supreme Court had never summoned main
opposition PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif though a case related to
his assets had been pending for a long time, Gilani said: "I
am called because this is my court and I will go."
The Premier dismissed Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz
Sharif`s claim that elements in Islamabad were behind a
"conspiracy" that led to the death of over 100 people who were
given bad drugs by a state-run hospital in Lahore.
"There is no need to conspire against (the Punjab
government)," Gilani said.