ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan government appears to be in no mood to back down in its standoff with the judiciary even after the apex court annulled a new law aimed at protecting the Premier, with the ruling coalition saying it will not compromise on parliament’s right to legislate.
Leaders of the Pakistan People’s Party-led coalition gathering for a crucial meeting in the presidency Friday night after the Supreme Court struck down the Contempt of Court Act, which was passed last month to protect Prime Minister Mr Raja Pervez Ashraf from being disqualified for not acting on the court’s order to revive graft cases against President Mr Asif Ali Zardari.
Following the meeting chaired by Mr Zardari and Mr Ashraf, presidential spokesman Mr Farhatullah Babar said the leaders discussed the current situation and expressed their resolve “that the right of the parliament to legislate would be upheld and this right would not be allowed to be compromised no matter what the odds and the cost would be”.
“The meeting reiterated unequivocally that the power to legislate under the Constitution belongs to elected representatives alone,” Mr Babar said.
In an apparent indication that the government is still in no mood to act on the apex court’s repeated orders to revive the graft cases against Mr Zardari in Switzerland, Mr Babar said, “In the context of the present situation, the meeting decided that there is even greater need to remain united and firm.”
“It resolved to remain united and firm and face the emerging challenges with unity, force and conviction.”
The apex court has been pressuring the government to reopen the corruption cases since December 2009, when it struck down a graft amnesty that benefited Mr Zardari and over 8,000 others.
The government has refused to act, saying the President enjoys immunity in Pakistan and abroad. The standoff has already resulted in former premier Mr Yousuf Raza Gilani losing his job.
The apex court convicted Gilani of contempt and then disqualified him for five years. PTI