One day from today, Thursday, can prove to be D-Day for Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, as the Supreme Court of Pakistan is set to decide his fate in the contempt of court case.
The premier will make his third appearance in front of the apex court, which will either exonerate him of all charges, or slap him with contempt.
A seven-member bench of the Supreme Court with Justice Nasirul Mulk in the chair ordered that Prime Minister Gilani be present on Thursday as the court scheduled to announce the decision.
The bench is going to decide whether or not the prime minister is guilty of contempt of court by failing to pursue the graft cases in Swiss courts. These cases, worth $60 million, involve President Asif Ali Zardari.
The silence of the premier left the bench with no option but to frame charges of contempt against him on February 23, 2012.
Gilani may be given up to a six-month sentence, if he is convicted. However, some analysts believe that he will seek pardon from President Asif Ali Zardari whatever the sentence may be. Under the Article 45 of the Constitution, the president can waive a sentence of any convicted.
The Interior Minister may declare the Prime Minister House a sub-jail, even in a situation whereby the sentence is for six months. He will go directly to the PM House and will run the business from there.
The real question is that what will be happened to status of the premiership if Gilani is convicted in the contempt of court case. Will he be able to continue for this post or not?
Some believe that the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) will move under Article 94 to keep the premier in office. The said Article reads, “The president may ask the prime minister to hold office until his successor enters upon the office of prime minister”.
Some legal experts argue that the disqualification will be in the hands of the Speaker of the National Assembly (NA).
The speaker will have to move a reference to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) seeking Gilani’s disqualification as an MNA (Member of the National Assembly).
The speaker can hold the reference for up to 30 days before it is automatically sent to the ECP. The commission then has up to 90 days to finalise the disqualification. That’s about four months of a process.