Seeking to put a stop to the disqualification of its prime ministers, as well as avoiding ‘contempt of court’ charges against politicians in general, the PPP-led coalition government passed the Contempt of court bill through the National Assembly late Monday.
While members of the opposition raised concerns and protested against the bill, it swiftly made its way through and into the Senate, which must also pass it before the president signs it into a law. The bill contains most of the provisions of the previous contempt laws that it seeks to repeal but the most important of its new clauses is one aimed to protect the new prime minister that excludes from contempt of court “exercise of powers and performance of functions by a public office holder of his respective office for any act done or purported to be done in exercise of those powers and performance of those function”.
A petitioner, however, has opposed the bill, terming it an unconstitutional and unlawful step.
These activities in the parliament indicate an urgency from the government to stop the Supreme Court from charging its politicians and prime minister of contempt of court as it recovers from the dismissal of Yousuf Raza Gilani. The court, meanwhile, has not shied away from being critical of the government in the last few weeks.
With the judiciary and the government seemingly headed towards a collision course, how will the country be affected by these actions?
Will the newly-passed bill be able to save PM Raja Pervaiz Ashraf? How will the judiciary react to the passing of the bill if, indeed, it is signed into law by the president?
Have the government and judiciary set an unwelcome precedence for the future governments to come?
Dawn.com asks its readers to share their opinions and voice their suggestions…