Pakistani Press calls for calm after Gilani ruling
- 20 June 2012
- From the section Asia
The press in Pakistan has called on political parties to ensure a smooth transition of power after the country's Supreme Court ruled that the prime minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani, is disqualified from holding office. He was convicted of contempt of court two months ago for refusing to re-open corruption cases against the president, Asif Ali Zardari.
Commentators said fresh elections were needed. They urged Mr Gilani's Pakistan People's Party to accept the court's decision, and asked opponents not to take advantage of the ruling.
But some warned that there could be a new conflict between the judiciary and the executive, as the next prime minister will also have to address the unsolved issue of corruption allegations against the country's president.
The vacuum in the power corridors has to be quickly filled… The best course for the country would be a smooth transition, a democratic one, with as little controversy and conflict as possible so that a precedent for political change without upsetting the applecart is set. Extreme restraint and political maturity and vision are needed on the part of all the players.
This seems to be as decisive a court ruling as the Supreme Court can give... Rather than plunge the country into a chaotic struggle, it would be wise to continue in the democratic transition, install a new prime minister and expedite the schedule to general elections.
The Frontier Post
The adversarial political formations must also hold their horses and eschew from extracting any political mileage from the court verdict… the next few days are very crucial for the country and the nation… Hence, one hope sense and sanity will prevail all around.
The exit of Yousuf Raza Gilani from the political scene is not much of a game changer; the tussle between the judiciary and the executive refuses to relent and is expected to continue. The next elected prime minister faces the challenge of writing a letter to the Swiss authorities, which in simple words means to allow the reopening of money-laundering cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.
The intriguing question of course is whether the new prime minister will suffer the same pressure from the Supreme Court to write the letter to the Swiss authorities regarding President Asif Ali Zardari… In that case, the looming confrontation between state institutions, which began as a confrontation between the judiciary and the executive, could expand to now a confrontation between the judiciary and parliament.
In disqualifying a sitting, democratically elected prime minister, the Supreme Court has taken an extraordinary - and unfortunate - step. This whole story could have played out very differently, in ways much less disruptive to the nascent democracy this country is trying to build… What is critical now is that elections are held, whether early or on time and as free and fair as possible, so that the final judgment can be left to the people's court.
Whatever political strategy the ruling People's Party adopts... It would be better for them to bid farewell to Yousuf Raza Gilani and appoint new prime minister.
It is clear that without accepting the court decisions, no government and government functionary will be able to survive. Perhaps from here, the process of justice and rule of law will start.
Though the top court has given the constitutional facility of appeal to the prime minister, it is better for the People's Party to come up with a prime minister instead of filing an appeal, providing immediate relief to the public. Proper steps should especially be taken to overcome the menace of power outages, with protests reaching the streets.
The People's Party should now understand the ground realities and focus its serious attention on resolution of the basic problems of the people. The violent protests against power outages are not a good omen for the government.
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