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Pakistan faces prospect of having string of PMs

Removal of Gilani has set the scene for a re-run of the legal drama

Gulf News

Islamabad: Pakistan faces the prospect of having a series of prime ministers until the next election, warned a daily, adding that the legal process to evict Yousuf Raza Gilani took a little over three months but was "unlikely to take as long with Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf".

An editorial in the News International on Friday said the removal of Gilani had done "no more than set the scene for a re-run of the legal drama that led to his conviction for contempt of court, a contempt that arose from his refusal to write to the Swiss authorities asking them to reopen cases against President [Asif Ali] Zardari".

The court has now given his successor a fortnight to comply, write the letter and thus avoid a contempt notice.

"The legal process to evict Gilani took a little over three months, but it is unlikely to take as long with Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, who may find himself in the dock in six weeks if all things proceed speedily," the daily said.

It warned that the court is "unlikely to be minded any differently to what it was a fortnight ago, and we face the prospect of serial prime ministers until the next election".

The daily observed that at this juncture one has to ask "if the people of Pakistan have had enough of this situation and if it is time to look to an election sooner rather than later".

"The impossible circularity of our condition is clear to any rational observer, as is the necessity for breaking the circle. Otherwise we... will be eternally tail-in-mouth and going nowhere."

It advised that there was no harm in calling an early election when beset by a political crisis, "other countries do it and there is no reason why we should not".

Coming down heavily on politicians, the daily said they are "seen as venal and corrupt and there is no guarantee that whoever comes to power after the next election is going to be any different; but we have to get off the misery-go-round ride".

"We have an accidental president who may be in contempt of court, a prime minister who will certainly be in contempt of court on current form and a judiciary that takes a dim view of being held in contempt," it added.