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Gilani no more Prime Minister

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled Speaker National Assembly Fehmida Mirza’s ruling as void and declared Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani stood disqualified from 26 April.

A three-member bench, comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, Justice Jawad S. Khawaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain heard a set of petitions challenging National Assembly Speaker Fehmida Mirza’s ruling over the reference against PM Yousuf Raza Gilani.

The bench had been hearing a set of petitions filed by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI), Azhar Chaudhry advocate and others challenging the speaker’s ruling of May 25 over the qualification issue.
Attorney General of Pakistan Irfan Qadir, in his arguments, read out a resolution adopted by National Assembly in support of the Speaker’s ruling.

The resolution says the speaker represents the Parliament, its prestige and sacredness. The Parliament will nullify any order if the court issues it. The resolution also endorses the ruling of 25 May.

Justice Khilji Arif Hussain queried, ‘What was the need of a separate resolution if the speaker’s ruling is taken as a step of the Parliament?’

Replying to this, Irfan Qadir said it was feared that the apex court may issue an illegal order like the one by seven-member bench, adding the verdict of seven-judge bench stands in conflict with Article-248 of the Constitution, under which the Prime Minister enjoys immunity.

Irfan Qadir, whose brazen remarks triggered a massive commotion during one of the previous hearings, continued with remarks, saying, “Supreme Court could have written on its own to Swiss officials. The summons issued to Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani was also an unconstitutional one.”

“However, the PM Gilani appeared before the court as he wanted to save the judiciary any ridicule. But, the PM Gilani was derided through a piece of poetry in the ruling”, he stated.

The Chief Justice Chaudhry said, ‘You should have raised the issue in appeal.’ But, the AG said there was no need for that, wondering as to how the PM Gilani was penalized given that there is no contempt law in the country.

Azhar Siddique’s counsel AK Dogar said the court had already held that the executive will work in consonance with the Constitution.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s counsel Hamid Khan said the rule by a convicted premier impacted the rights under Articles-17 and 25 of the Constitution, adding the court frequently acknowledged the right to access the justice; but, the NA speaker impeded the process.

The Chief Justice Chaudhry said if the court holds someone insane, then speaker needs not ponder over it, adding determination of insanity or conviction depends upon the court’s ruling.

In short order, the Supreme Court ruled Fehmida Mirza’s ruling as void and declared Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani stood disqualified two months after the premier was convicted of contempt.

The SC gave reference of the cases of Mining Industries of Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd. v. Deputy Speaker, Balochistan Provincial Assembly; Madad Ali v. Province of Sindh; Shams-ud-Din v. Speaker, Balochistan Provincial Assembly; Muhammad Naeem Akhtar v. Speaker, Sindh Provincial Assembly; Farzand Ali v. Province of West Pakistan; Muhammad Anwar Durrani v. Province of Baluchistan; Jagjit Singh v. State of Haryana and Rajendra Singh Rana v. Swami Prasad Maurya.

The SC stated that the judgment made by the bench of 7 Judges on April 26 followed by the detailed reasons released on May 8 has found Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani guilty of contempt of Court under Article 204(2) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 read with section 3 of the Contempt of Court Ordinance, 2003 and sentenced him to undergo imprisonment till rising of the Court under section 5 of the said Ordinance, and since no appeal was filed against this judgment, the conviction has attained finality.

The apex court further said in the short order that, Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani has become disqualified from the membership of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) in terms of Article 63(1)(g) of the Constitution on and from the date and time of pronouncement of the judgment of this Court on April 26 with all consequences, i.e. he has also ceased to be the Prime Minister of Pakistan with effect from the said date and the office of the Prime Minister shall be deemed to be vacant accordingly.

The SC ordered the Election Commission of Pakistan to issue notification of disqualification of Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani from being a member of the Majlis-e-Shoora since April 26.

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