The options before the prime minister are limited at this stage. The Pakistan People’s Party has two choices: The party can take the decision to challenge the Supreme Court’s orders for the PM’s arrest. Or it can let the PM step down and agree to a compromise candidate with its political allies for the May polls.
The dominant position within the party is to initially support the present PM. The question that party activists are trying to understand is how much immunity the PM enjoys and whether he will, in fact, be sent to jail. Interior minister Rehman Malik said that the PM will enjoy his position “regardless” and that he would remain in office “even if he goes to jail”.
Legal advisor Aitezaz Ahsan told the media that “even if he is imprisoned, Raja Pervez will remain the PM.” He will remain premier until a no-trust motion is moved, Ahsan said.
However, this is a point that is contradicted by others. Legal analyst Akram Raja says that a PM is also a member of parliament and if he is convicted, then he can be disqualified from his basic membership of parliament. That is why, he says, the government will fight it out in court.
Political allies have advised the prime minister to challenge the order and not take a back seat.