With the detailed judgement of the Supreme Court yet to decide his fate, Prime Minister Gilani’s visit to Britain commencing from May 8 would raise many an eyebrow. His entourage consisting of six federal ministers would discuss matters of bilateral importance. Talks between the two sides would include strategic dialogue initiated during Prime Minister Cameron’s visit to Pakistan last year.

Under the circumstances, when there is an assumption held by a sizeable number of the legal fraternity in the country and the mainstream opposition party that he is no longer the Prime Minister after conviction from the Supreme Court, he ought to have taken cognisance of the new reality and deferred the tour till the announcement of the detailed judgement. It might have earned him some applause if the visit had been rescheduled. Were the talks so blindingly urgent that they had to be carried out right now? The impression is that it is another diversionary tactic something that the PPP government has got it down to a fine art. His statements about his return to hometown Multan indicated albeit for a moment that he understood the gravity of the situation and also might step down if the detailed judgement so required. However, the planned trip to Britain lends credibility to those who point towards his obduracy to stay in power come what may. Already the political classes, civil society and the legal fraternity are simmering with resentment demanding that he step down. The PTI took out a solidarity rally in Islamabad on Sunday amid plans that the protests would continue till the PM tenders his resignation. There are other political parties like the PML-N that are also busy mobilising the people to gather for the same purpose. Broadly speaking, given that the office of Prime Minister is the highest executive position, any slur or allegations for corruption that makes the post controversial stipulates a resignation. It goes without saying that this is in line with the democratic traditions the world over. Banking on argument that the court detained him for 30 seconds, and that was the only punishment do not have a leg to stand on. Also certain quarters are worried about the legal status of the agreements that would be signed since the conviction has put a big question mark on his premiership.

Although the trip had been planned for months, it would have been more fruitful after the detailed judgement had put minds at ease.