ISLAMABAD - The coalition partners of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party advised President Asif Ali Zardari to avoid confrontation with judiciary as it would have negative fallout on the incumbent political dispensation as well as the future of democracy in the country.

Earlier, in a Core Committee meeting of the party held under the chair of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, after participants’ blowing hot and cold, the saner elements prevailed and it was decided that party would not take any hostile posture against the judiciary and would face the brunt with fortitude and patience.

Sources aware of the deliberations informed TheNation that all the coalition partners of the government were against confrontation with apex judiciary and all of them had advised President Zardari to play cool in the apex court in the contempt of court case against Prime Minister Gilani.

The meeting at Awan-i-Sadr was attended by Awami National Party President Asfandyar Wali Khan, Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid-i-Azam) President Ch Shujaat Hussain, Muttahida Qaumi Movement Deputy Convener and Parliamentary Party leader in National Assembly Dr Farooq Sattar, Fata MPs Parliamentary Party Leader Munir Orakzai and PPP central leaders Syed Naveed Qamar, Nayyar Hussain Bokhari, Qamar Zaman Kaira, Molla Bux Chandio, Syed Khurshid Shah, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and some other senior party leaders. During the meeting Ch Shujaat Hussain was the first to advise President Zardari, who is also Co-Chairman of Pakistan People’s Party, to avoid confrontation with judiciary, as the same would be detrimental to the incumbent political setup.

Sources close to some of the key allies of the PPP informed that except ANP all the coalition partners would not stand with PPP in case of clash with the superior judiciary and they had tacitly conveyed the message to PPP leadership as well.

These sources further said that most of these leaders believed that in case of a clash the chances of winding up of the incumbent political dispensation would increase which would not be in the interest of any political stakeholder.

Sources said that in the face of the overall atmosphere in favour of the superior judiciary all those who stand with PPP, in case it decides to adopt confrontational course, would be discredited in the public eye and would suffer huge loss in the upcoming elections.

Sources further informed that President Asif Ali Zardari was also of the view that the party would not go for confrontation with Supreme Court of Pakistan and would devise the future strategy in the light of the court decision in the case and would most likely project the party image as victim and not as oppressor.

On the other hand in the earlier meeting of the Core Committee of the party which was held under the chair of Prime Minister Gilani at Prime Minister House some of the hawkish elements in the party blew hot and cold against the superior judiciary and some of them even asked the prime minister to withdraw the notification which lead to the restoration of the judges to their slots after remaining under suspension for several months.

Sources in the party informed that the senior party leaders which later joined the meeting at Awan-i-Sadr were present in the Core Committee meeting it was finally decided that PPP would not take any hostile posture in the Supreme Court and the prime minister’s demeanour in the court would remain that of a gentleman which he demonstrated on his previous appearance on Feb 2.

Sources aware of the discussion at the PM House said Prime Minister Gilani turned down the idea  of withdrawing the notification of restoration of the judges  outright and once again expressed his resolve that he would be the last person to disrespect the superior judiciary and would bow in respect of the court even if convicted in the contempt case.

The legal wizards of the party threw light on the legal implications of the case and it was the consensus view of the legal team of the prime minister that the merits of the case be presented before the court and the court would be convinced that all what had done by the prime minister was in good faith and there was no intention, whatsoever, to defy the dictates of the apex court.

Sources further said that before the Core Committee meeting Prime Minister Gilani had long telephonic conversion with his counsel Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, who could not attend the meeting due to some personal reasons, and discussed the case and the strategy to be adopted in the apex court when he would appear before the court on Monday (today).

Legal and constitutional experts commenting on volatile situation said that the chances of Prime Minister Gilani’s acquittal in the contempt case are bright, as the focus of the case would likely turn towards the debate on the merits of article 248, providing immunity to President of Pakistan in criminal cases as long as he is holding the office of president.

These experts said that Gilani could easily save his skin by simply submitting before the court that article 248 of the constitution bars him to write letter to the Swiss authorities and in his mind he had acted as per the constitution of Pakistan.