ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Monday requested the Supreme Court to summon former law minister Babar Awan, former law secretary Masood Chishti and Cabinet Secretary Nargis Sethi as witnesses and record their statement in the contempt proceedings against him for not complying with the court’s December 16, 2009 order on the National Reconciliation Ordinance.
The prime minister filed the application through his lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan, under order 33, Rules 4-5 and 540 of the criminal procedure code (CrPC). The applicant pleaded the court to direct the law secretary to produce summaries of May 21 and September 21, 2010 along with the orders passed by him (the PM).
Gilani said his defence rested mainly on these summaries presented to him as the prime minister, adding that these summaries contained the history of the issue, the background, the previous opinions and the proposals. He said the statements of these three, who recorded their views and put their signatures on the summaries,
were necessary, as they were desirable witnesses in proof of his innocence.
“Without the documents and the witnesses, the accused/applicant would be deprived and denuded of my defence and the court’s opportunity to do proper justice,” the prime minister stated in his application, adding that the evidence will be cogent and necessary for just decision of the case.
A seven-member special bench headed by Justice Nasirul Mulk and comprising Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, Justice Sarmad Jalal Osmany, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry, Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Ather Saeed, will resume hearing in the contempt case against the prime minister today (Tuesday).
The applicant stated that the prosecution should have produced these witnesses as prosecution witnesses enabling him to cross-examine them.
He, however, has been denied this right. He said as prosecution witnesses, the prosecution would also have had no right to cross-examine them and would now be put at an unfair advantage prejudicing the applicant.
For this reason also the witnesses need not to be summoned as defence witnesses but at the best as the court witnesses if not as prosecution witnesses.
He stated that in his private/personal capacity, he could not and did not wish to exercise the official power and authority of the office of the prime minister to direct or require any official to appear as a witness, even though he sought the opportunity to present evidence and witnesses in his defence against the charge.