MUBASHIR HASSAN

LAHORE - The PPP’s decision to accept the Supreme Court judgment on Yousuf Raza Gilani’s disqualification on Tuesday came as a great surprise for many who were expecting a tit-for-tat reply from the other side given its track record vis-à-vis the judiciary. 

Analysts are trying to find out the reason behind PPP’s sudden change of mind, which, until recently, seemed adamant to confront the Supreme Court, come what may. The National Assembly resolution passed a couple of days ago supporting Speaker’s ruling on the issue of PM’s disqualification was also being seen in this perspective.   

Gilani’s repeated statements that only the Speaker National Assembly had the powers to disqualify a prime minister were also indicative of PPP’s defiant mood towards the judiciary. There was also a lot of talk about the Supremacy of the Parliament over other state institutions. It was also said by PPP lawyers including Ch Aitzaz Ahsan that Parliament had the power to undo any decision of the Supreme Court through an Act of the Assembly or by making an amendment in the Constitution.

A proposal to create a ‘Federal Constitutional Court’ to hear constitutional matters was also under consideration of the government. This seemed to be an effort to reduce the status of present Supreme Court to that of an appellate court only to keep it away from the constitutional matters involving the president and the prime minister.  This led many to believe that government could go to any extent to confront the judiciary on the issue of PM’s disqualification. But this did not happen on Tuesday when the government accepted the decision and decided to bring a new prime minister in place of Mr Gilani.

Some analysts think that PPP has, by accepting the judgment, in fact, tried to beat a retreat to keep hold of the reins of power that was likely to be threatened by a possible public backlash, spearheaded by a new lawyers’ movement which would have been launched had the PPP chosen to defy the court orders.

Sources in the PPP, however, told TheNation that government chose to accept the verdict, though with strong reservations, to save the democratic system. They further disclosed that government saw a greater likelihood of intervention by the undemocratic forces which could exploit the confrontation between the judiciary and the government and present it as an excuse before the nation to de-rail the system. “It was under these fears that government opted to bring a new prime minister to ensure continuation of the democratic process,” they said. 

It has been learnt further that some coalition partners, especially the MQM, also advised the government against confronting the judiciary.

Meanwhile, there were also reports circulating in the federal capital late Tuesday night that the powers that-be had warned the government not to take the confrontation with judiciary to a point where they might have to intervene to set the things right.