Stand-Off between the Judiciary & the PPP: A 30 second sentence - 04-27-2012, 08:58 AM
Corrupt Prime Minister? Contempt of court? Of course you've heard it all before.
Yesterday our Prime Minister was called to court to receive his sentence. Despite constant pressure from the courts and from opposing political parties Yousuf Raza Gillani refused to write to the Swiss authorities to reopen investigations into allegations of Zardari receiving kickbacks from a Swiss company in the 1990's.
The Supreme Court convicted the Prime Minister only until "the rising of the court" or until the time the judges left the chamber. That lasted for about 30 seconds. According to the law he has been convicted for contempt of court under article 204 (2) of the country's constitution.
The Prime Minister was found smiling when the verdict was read out in packed courtroom full of supporters of the Prime Minister, present there only to show solidarity with him.
Under the constitution anyone convicted of disobeying or showing scorn towards the judiciary is barred from being an MP. The process to disqualify him however may take more than 4 months still, which means he still has some time as Prime Minister.
In other words Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani has scored big time in his battle with the judiciary. Having been let go on a light sentence he has little to worry about in the near future. There is a great amount of time for him to be disqualified as Prime Minister even though petitions have already been signed in this regard.
Good or bad decision?
For many days leading up to the hearing date the Pakistan People's Party and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani had been using sentences like "Benazir Bhutto ki Kabar ka trial" which means this is a trial of Bhutto's coffin. Opponents of the PPP have constantly been saying that Yousuf Raza Gillani wants to become a "political shaheed," or political martyr in the eyes of his followers.
In the recent days political activity and the "we have been victimized" mindset has been at an all time among members of the PPP. The PPP has blamed everyone for the mess they have gotten themselves into from the ISI, the military, to the judiciary. Everyone is an enemy out to destroy them.
Therefore it may be true that if the Supreme Court had passed a sentence that was tougher than the one given it might have made Yousuf Raza Gillani a "political shaheed."
Another issue that has popped up is the Seraikistan Province issue. Many analysts have questioned why there wasn't as much talk about a Bahawalpur or Seraikistan Province before. Why wasn't the first Seraiki bank setup before? How did it all coincide with the contempt of court hearing and took place in the days leading up to it? Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani has made so many demands for a Seraiki Province in recent months that if he was given a tougher sentence by the Supreme Court he might really have managed to present to his supporters in the Seraiki belt that he had been tried because he fought for the rights of Seraiki people.
So in reality the court saved the Prime Minister from becoming a political shaheed in the eyes of his followers. They refused to let him turn into a martyr.
But this light sentence has allowed the government to survive. He could have been convicted to six months in prison. Furthermore there are at least 4 months before Yousuf Raza Gillani may lose his post as Prime Minister because he has been convicted.
Overall PPP supporters feel the court made the right decision. The opposition however thinks the sentence was too light. Many have been calling for Yousuf Raza Gillani to resign. But seeing how Gillani stood up to the courts there is no chance he is just going to give up his post in "deference" to the judiciary.
The 3 convicts
Yousuf Raza Gillani's conviction proves we have reached new heights. Today we have a convicted President, a convicted Interior Minister and finally a convicted Prime Minister. Our country is proof that only thieves, crooks and murderers can find a place in the world of our politics.
Looks like we're sliding further and further into the muck and we can't blame anyone but ourselves.
Havi Sultan's Webspace: A 30 second sentence
|judiciary, ppp, sentence, standoff|