PML-N President Nawaz Sharif has promised to use all options within and outside parliament, including agitation and long march, for forcing a convicted prime minister out of his office.
“After the conviction, Mr Gilani and his cabinet have no constitutional and legal status. Mr Gilani should take pity on this country, constitution, system and democracy and end his ‘illegal occupation’ of the office of prime minister,” Mr Sharif said at a press conference after a consultative meeting with senior leaders of his party.
He warned of ‘unexpected consequences’ if the prime minister failed to follow his advice. When asked what he meant by ‘unexpected consequences’, he said it meant all forms of protests. “All options are on the table. We’ll protest within and outside parliament and on roads. And if the government refuses to change its stance a long march can also be an option.”
To show that he meant business, Mr Sharif said if he and his party let the matter go unnoticed and allowed the government to act as it liked, he would have no right to remain in politics.
He urged ‘all patriotic’ people to come out to protect the independence and dignity of the judiciary. “The government has crossed all limits and now I can sacrifice the friendship and all relations for restoring the honour of judiciary,” he said.
PML-N information secretary Mushahidullah Khan told Dawn that the party had decided to act in cooperation with other political forces to put pressure on the PPP government to honour court verdicts. He said people had been assigned to contact various parties, including government’s allies, in this respect.
Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told a questioner that Speaker Fehmida Mirza had violated the “unwritten law” by allowing the prime minister to speak during the question hour.
He said the ‘convicted’ prime minister had ‘sneaked into’ the house knowing that the PML-N leadership was not in the house. He said Mr Gilani was neither the prime minister nor an MNA and, therefore, his presence in the house and taking the seat reserved for the leader of the house was illegal and against the rules of the house.
Replying to a question about the vagueness in the verdict, Mr Sharif said even if the Supreme Court had declared that Mr Gilani could neither go to the National Assembly nor the Prime Minister’s House he would have done what he did and would have declared the speaker’s decision supreme on the issue of his disqualification.
“Don’t make the issue complex,” he advised the questioner and insisted that the court wished that the money deposited in Swiss banks should be brought back and he (Mr Gilani) was not ready to accept it for which the court penalised him. “And such people should be penalised.”
The PML-N chief accused President Asif Zardari of being behind the stubbornness of the government and said he would like to ask how many prime ministers he (Mr Zardari) would sacrifice to protect the hard-earned money of taxpayers stashed in Swiss banks.
He said he had no personal enmity with (President) Zardari and (Prime Minister) Gilani but was fighting for principles