Court: SC issues contempt of court notice to Raja Pervaiz Ashraf

ISLAMABAD: A three-member Supreme Court bench on Thursday issued contempt of court notices to former Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf for trying to influence the court by writing a letter to the Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry for constituting a commission to investigate the rental power projects RPPs scam case involving him.

The bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Sh. Azmat Saeed ordered Raja Pervaiz Ashraf to appear in person before it in two weeks.

During the hearing, the chief justice said the letter was sent to him through the registrar that was also signed by the principal secretary of the Prime Minister. He said Raja Pervaiz Ashraf’s letter was apparently an intervention and influence in the judicial proceedings in the RPPs case.

Wasim Sajjad, counsel for Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, contended that his client was facing difficulties in the RPPs case and that was why the letter was written. The chief justice said that everyone in this country was facing commotions. “Why Raja Pervaiz Ashraf is trying to influence the judges”, the chief justice asked.’ He said the court had already issued orders in RPPs case that had to be implemented in any case.

He said if the court will accept his request, then every future president and prime minister will write to the chief justice and the world would accuse the court of being influenced. Wasim Sajjad stated that thousands of citizens write to the chief justice daily for justice. The chief justice then noted that Raja Pervaiz Ashraf had written a letter as a prime minister and not as an ordinary citizen.

He observed that Raja Pervaiz Ashraf had already accepted the court’s decision in the RPPs case which had attained finality, so there was no need to re-examine the verdict and formation of a commission to probe the case again.

He further said that the review petition was withdrawn in the RPPs case, so how it was possible to revisit the court’s verdict and appoint the commission. The court directed Wasim Sajjad to seek advice from his client as to whether he was going to withdraw his letter or not and submit reply by today Friday.

Earlier, appearing before the court on notice, NAB’s Prosecutor General K.K Agha submitted before the court that although he was not agreed upon the letter, however, if the court referred the matter to any other forum for probe then they had no objection.

Wasim Sajjad contended that his client had dispatched the letter to the Chief Justice of Pakistan through the Registrar Office of the court, adding that it was not aimed to influence the court. He also contended that an impression was created in the media that if NAB decided the case in favour of Raja Pervaiz Ashraf then it would have been considered that the former prime minister used his influence.

The chief justice said the letter was written on the letterhead of prime minister that did not give a positive impression, adding that such type of dispatch should not be addressed to the court. Justice Gulzar Ahmed observed that such type of letters in the personal capacity of the prime minister should not be addressed to the court. Later‚ the court adjourned further hearing for two weeks.