President Musharraf likely to get indemnity if he resigns

* PM or federal cabinet likely to send a summary to president
* Law Ministry to notify decision after president signs summary
* Article 248 gives immunity to president: Afgan

By Irfan Ghauri

ISLAMABAD: The government is considering a proposal to protect all acts of President Pervez Musharraf if he resigns, sources privy to the developments told Daily Times.

They said the prime minister or the federal cabinet is likely to send a summary to the president in this regard.

“After the president signs the summary, if it is sent to him, the Law Ministry will notify it.”

The sources said the proposal was being considered under Article 48 of the Constitution, which binds the president to act on advice of the cabinet or the prime minister.

The government’s legal advisers are considering the proposal in the wake of a continuing political impasse in the country and the president’s refusal to resign without “blanket immunity” for all his acts while he held the office of the head of state.

Article 48(2) says: “The President shall act in his discretion in respect of any matter in respect of which he is empowered by the constitution to do so and the validity of anything done by the President in his discretion shall not be called in question on any ground whatsoever.”

Sher Afgan: But former parliamentary affairs minister Dr Sher Afgan Niazi says Article 248 of the Constitution already provides immunity to the president, who, according to this article, is “not answerable to any court for the exercise of power and performance of functions of their respective offices or for any act done or purported to be done in the exercise of those powers and performance of those functions”.

But sources in the government say that Article 248 applies to the president when he is holding office, and that a notification approved by the president on the advice of the cabinet or the prime minister is required to protect him after his resignation.

“This notification, if issued, cannot be challenged in any court of law,” a source said.

Source: Daily Times, 17/8/2008

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