Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani has seen fit to have the federal cabinet take notice of the allegations against his younger son, Musa Raza, instead of leaving the matter to the courts. Syed Musa Raza is accused of being involved in the illegal sale of ephedrine, which is used as a component of drugs. The scandal follows the alleged involvement of the Prime Minister’s elder son, Abdul Qadir, in the Haj scam, which led to the resignation and arrest of Religious Affairs Minister Maulana Hamid Saeed Kazmi, who also belongs to Multan. Mr Gilani may well find solace in the support of those who are his subordinates, though nominated by their party chiefs, but in answer to the charges he should not try to dismiss the case as another example of a campaign against his family. If he is indeed as great a proponent of democracy as he claims, he should leave the decision to the courts. The cabinet decision on Wednesday was strange, because it is not supposed to take notice of the personal problems of members, especially when that member, in this case the Prime Minister, has already taken the very traditional step of having his son go abroad, in this case to South Africa, for which he left on Tuesday, after the Supreme Court ordered the cancellation of the transfers of the Anti-Narcotics Force officials, who were investigating the case. The younger Mr Gilani, instead of fleeing abroad, should be ready to answer the summons of the Supreme Court, which has put him on notice, along with the PM’s Principal Secretary.

The matter seems to have gone wrong when the younger Mr Gilani did not appear before the ANF despite three summons. The officials doing the summoning were transferred. The cabinet itself has observed that no one is above the law. The Prime Minister should convert this trial into an opportunity, and use the case to have the accountability of his son conducted. The younger Mr Gilani, who entered the National Assembly recently through a by-election, should regard this as part of his introduction to public life.

Mr Gilani owes it to the nation, indeed to democracy itself, that not only he, but the members of his family, should be above reproach. The confrontation with the judiciary, which has led Mr Gilani himself into the dock as an accused in a contempt case, should not be allowed to prevent a proper exoneration of the younger Mr Gilani if he is indeed as innocent as the cabinet claims he is. He should act honourably, as one falsely accused, and have confidence that as the son of a Prime Minister, himself an MNA, would get justice.