‘Will defend legislative powers at any cost’

Hours after the Supreme Court on Friday struck down the Contempt of Court Act, 2012, as “unconstitutional’’, the Pakistan Peoples Party-led coalition made it clear that the current dispensation would not cede the power to legislate to any other institution; whatever the odds.

Leaders of the ruling coalition met at the Presidency late on Friday night and from all indications the civilian government has still some fight left in it despite the regular run-ins with the judiciary. After the meeting, the presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar said party leaders resolved that the right of Parliament to legislate will be upheld and this right will not allowed to be compromised no matter what the odds and the cost.

The power to legislate under the Constitution belongs to elected representatives alone, the leaders reiterated unequivocally, he said; adding that in the context of the present situation, there was an even greater need to remain united and firm. All the coalition partners resolved to remain united and firm and face the emerging challenges with unity, force and conviction.

Though he did not dwell on whether the Government would rethink on the issue of writing to the Swiss authorities to reopen graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari, there was speculation in a section of the press that some kind of letter may be written to get out the stalemate with the judiciary.

The Supreme Court has been insisting that the letter be written and the Government’s refusal to do so on the premise that Mr. Zardari enjoys presidential immunity while in office has already cost former Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani his job. His successor Raja Parvez Ashraf faces a similar fate unless the letter is written by August 8, the next date of hearing in the case.

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