ISLAMABAD: As the Presidency remains undecided over the replacement of Dr Babar Awan in the Bhutto reference case, the top echelons of the PPP leadership speculated Saturday as to who would represent the federation in the Supreme Court to plead the case.
According to sources, at one point the name of former Chairman Senate Farooq H Naek had been considered; however, it was dropped when the latter revealed he was not interested in taking the governmentís case, and wished to pursue a quiet private practice.
Dr Babar Awan remains in hot waters with the PPP after his refusal to appear as a witness for Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani in the latterís contempt of court proceedings with regard to the implementation of the NRO case.
Sources disclosed to The News that besides Farooq H Naek, many other names had also been discussed but had been rejected for one reason or the other. According to reports, the possibility of Senator Aitzaz Ahsan representing the government was also discussed, but this plan fell through after he was appointed as an amicus curie by the Supreme Court.
It is claimed that following the partyís decision not to grant Farooq H Naek a second tenure as Chairman Senate, Naek fell out with the top party leadership, refusing to even attend the Senate session during the election of a new Chairman and Deputy Chairman, going so far as to refuse to administer oath to the news senators. Following his refusal, President Asif Ali Zardari appointed Afrasiab Khattak to administer the oath to the newly elected senators.
Sources claimed that the former chairman also politely refused the proposal of assuming the charge of leader of the House, conveying to the top PPP leadership that he was more interested in resuming his private practice than he was in rearranging his chambers in Karachi and Islamabad.
There was also reportedly a proposal to adopt a wait-and-see policy till a decision was reached on the contempt of court case against Dr Babar Awan; it was hoped that if the latter was acquitted, he could resume his responsibility of pleading the case.
It is worth mentioning here that Farooq H Naek was a studebt of renowned jurist Ghulam Ali Memon, who was also Zulfikar Ali Bhuttoís defence lawyer in the latterís murder case, but died during the proceedings. Naek completed his probation period as a junior lawyer of Ghulam Ali Memon and afterwards moved towards the judiciary but left it after a brief stint of four years to resume his practice.
He represented Benazir Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari in the early 1990s in the reference framed against them by the then president Ghulam Ishaq Khan, and once again during the second tenure of Nawaz Sharif in 1997 through the Saif-ur Rehman Ehtesab Commission.