The confrontation between Pakistani state institutions is unlikely to end soon, which may lead to a critical situation during the month of July. All major organs of the state, namely the executive (Cabinet), the legislature (Parliament) and the judiciary (Courts of law), besides the media, are somewhat affected by it. Needless to say, the Constitution has clearly defined powers and functions of each and every state organ. Of late, however, all state organs are accused of committing serious violations by interfering in each other’s internal affairs.

Nevertheless, the present mess in the country is primarily because several decisions given by the Supreme Court on issues of national importance have been openly challenged by Parliament, where the ruling party commands a majority through the support of its allies. The defiance of former Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani to write a letter to the Swiss authorities to reopen money laundering cases against President Asif Ali Zardari, followed by his disqualification, is a case in point.

At the moment, the ruling party continues to stick to its stance of not writing the letter to the Swiss court. The new Prime Minister, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, has also been summoned to appear before the Supreme Court on July 12, 2012, and inform it whether or not he intends to follow its verdict. If the PM agrees to write the letter, the standoff between the judiciary and the executive will come to an end. But that is unlikely to happen! Hence, it remains to be seen if a replay of events will take place and PM Raja Pervaiz Ashraf will be ousted like his predecessor?

Presently, it seems that the ruling lot’s top priority is to subvert, defame, discredit and malign the superior judiciary, particularly Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry; it is an attempt that will surely have devastating consequences. Of course, the Supreme Court is not oblivious to the conspiracies being hatched against it. Despite this, according to several legal and constitutional experts, the apex “court has shown judicial restraint in its attempt to bring the erring government to the book.” Also, the civil society, political parties, media and the entire nation will stand behind the judiciary come what may.

The Supreme Court has rightly issued notices to all respondents, including Husain Haqqani, former Ambassador to Washington, and Mansoor Ijaz, the American businessman, in the memo case to appear before it on July 12. It is now for the court to punish all those who were part of the memo conspiracy, since it is evident that the document is genuine. Indeed, the verdict will affect the ruling party’s image and credibility, if it is established that the President or any PPP member had anything to do with it.

Last but not least, July 18 will be a crucial day because MPA Abdul Qadir Gilani, son of former Prime Minister Gilani, will contest by-elections for NA-151 Multan, left vacant after his father’s disqualification by the Supreme Court in the contempt case. Imran Khan’s PTI has also decided to contest for this seat, as a test of its strength against the ruling party. Therefore, the election result will have a far-reaching impact on the political horizon of Pakistan.

n    The writer is President of the Pakistan National Forum.