Send president immunity matter to parliament: PM
ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has again refused to write a letter to the Swiss authorities against President Asif Ali Zardari for reopening moneylaundering cases and urged the Supreme Court to refer the issue of presidential immunity to the parliament.
Responding to court directives to write the letter by March 19 or face contempt punishment on March 21, Gilani’s counsel Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan submitted his reply on Monday.
In the reply, the prime minister prayed to the Supreme Court to either refer the case to the parliament or consider its earlier option to leave the matter up to the judgment of the people.
In the 84-page reply, the premier maintained that the court had prejudiced his rights to defend himself by its March 8 order on writing letter.
Gilani also saidhis previous stance of not writing a letter to the Swiss authorities as President Zardari enjoys international immunity under the Constitution. He said that presenting the president before any foreign magistrate was a violation of the Constitution.
The premier said that once Zardari’s presidential tenure ends, the Supreme Court will not have any obstructions in carrying out proceedings against him.
Gilani gave two options to the Supreme Court and referred court’s earlier order of January 9, 2012 in which it had counted six options on the contempt case. He said that the court could go ahead with one of the six options it gave earlier — to leave the matter up to the judgement of people, or refer the case to the parliament as it was done during the 18th amendment.
The prime minister was served a contemptnotice in the NRO implementation case when the government did not follow the court’s orders of writing a letter to the Swiss authorities to reopen graft cases against President Zardari.
The seven-member bench of the court led by Justice Nasirul Mulk, set up for impolementation of the SC order of 17 judges for reopening the case, had indicted the prime minister for defying the court.
Meanwhile, talking to newsmen in Lahore on Sunday, Gilani said the issue of the letter would not end even if he is sentenced by the court and forced to step down. The new premier will face the same situation, he added.
Pledging to go to any extent for the supremacy of the Constitution, the prime minister has said he is ready to quit if his resignation provides a solution to the prevailing problems. “But could anybody guarantee that the issue would be resolved if I quit?” Gilani said.