ISLAMABAD - Pakistan People’s Party has finalised its strategy about Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf’s appearance before the Supreme Court on August 27, but the final decision would be made in consultation with the coalition partners in next couple of days, party sources said on Friday.

The pros and corns of PM’s future course of action regarding compliance with the Supreme Court of Pakistan’s order seeking personal appearance of the prime minister were discussed threadbare in the PPP Core Committee meeting at the Awan-i-Sadr. Senior party leaders including former PM Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani were in attendance.

Federal Law Minister Farooq H. Naek gave a detailed briefing to the party leadership about the legal intricacies of appearing or skipping the appearance and also responded to some queries from party Co-Chairman President Asif Ali Zardari, who jointly chaired the meeting with the PM.

Some party leaders when contacted declined to give details about PPP’s future course of action regarding the ongoing tussle with the superior judiciary. A PPP leader, who attended the meeting, informed The Nation that the party was not clear on the subject and final decision on complying or defying the apex court order would be made after consultations with the leadership of the coalition partners.

Another senior party leader said that the option of skipping the August 27 hearing of the SC on some other grounds also figured in the meeting as this could provide the party more breathing space.

A source privy to the deliberations said the legal team of the government seemed in favour of non-appearance, believing this could land the PM in serious trouble as the court would definitely make him bound or would try to get some clear commitment on writing letter to the Swiss authorities; and it would become impossible for the PM to duck contempt of court.

Sources said that former PM Gilani was among those who were against Raja’s appearance, as according to him the apex judiciary was biased against the PPP and the results would not be different this time either. However, some of the party leaders were of the view that defiance of court orders would put the state institutions in direct conflict and now when the things were heading for next general elections PPP should avoid such a conflict like situation with the apex judiciary, sources added.

Attorney General (AG) Irfan Qadir on Friday said that according to the constitution the prime minister was not answerable to the court for his official actions. He however said he unaware if the PM would appear before the court.

“Prime Minister’s post is superior to that of the judges and he is not accountable to the courts… all the positions fall under the authority of prime minister after president. If all are equal in the eyes of law then the Supreme Court should also call 18 million people”, Qadir said while speaking to media at the SC premises.

The AG said that Supreme Court should not have summoned the prime minister and “they cannot ask the prime minister to write a letter… All federal institutions should be respected”. He added that he would continue to follow the constitution regardless of what the court says.

Qadir said the final decision on the contempt of court case against Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf will be taken within two days, but he refrained from commenting on what steps the court would take if the PM did not appear.

Contrary to AG’s statement, senior advocate Supreme Court Abid Hassan Manto said that the prime minister can’t be summoned for his day to day functions but the highest court of the country can do so regarding implementation of its orders.

He said that the government is using delaying tactics in this case. “The attorney general should give legal arguments and not the political statements,” he added. Some other senior lawyers say that the attorney general speaks against judiciary as he has been “bitten by the apex court twice”; therefore, he seeks revenge by giving illegal and illogical arguments.

According to the details given by presidential spokesman on the President House meeting, the participants were briefed in details on law and order situation, energy crisis and government’s planning and the imminent flood threats due to ongoing spell of torrential rains across the country.

Federal Minister for Interior Rehman Malik gave detailed briefing on the law and order situation in the country and the steps being taken by his ministry to control the growing lawlessness in the country particularly in port city of Karachi and Balochistan.

President Zardari directed the interior minister to take stringent measures to crush the outlaws and made it loud and clear that the operation against law-breakers would be launched without any political considerations.

President directed the advisor to PM on Petroleum and Natural Resources that a comprehensive plan should be evolved to manage the gas shortage in the coming winter as the bad management of the gas shortage could leave adverse effects on the election campaign of the party in the upcoming elections.

Similarly expressing satisfaction over the power generation and proper management of electricity Federal Minister for Water and Power Ch. Ahmad Mukhtar was asked to further streamline the power supply in the country.

The imminent threat of floods in various parts of the country also came under sharp focus and President Asif Ali Zardari directed the concerned ministers to gear up their efforts in this connection and take preemptive measures to mitigate the expected damage by the floods.

He said that in the past two to three years the floods and rains had devastated people across the country and stressed the need of taking more concerted and coordinated efforts to contain the damages by the floods.

The core committee expressed satisfaction over the relations with the coalition partners and once again expressed resolve to jointly contest the upcoming general elections.

It was further decided in the party meeting that party leaders at all level should be activated to prepare for the next general elections, which according to the party leadership would be held on completion of the mandated term of the party next year.

Sources aware of the deliberations of the meeting further informed that it was decided in the meeting that prime minister would contact all the opposition parties, both within and out of the Parliament in connection with the formation of the caretaker setup to hold next general elections.

It was further decided that the PPP would expeditiously work on carving out new administrative units in Punjab for which the Parliamentary Commission was already constituted and in this connection it was decided that the reservations shown by PML-N on the composition of the commission would be duly addressed.