Gilani Disqaulified as the PM by the CJ , while Makhdoom Shahabuddin Nominated as the Next PM by President Zardari
JNN 21 June 2012 ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday disqualified prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, in what was the culmination of a two-and-a-half-year-long clash between judiciary and executive, but the issue regarding the implementation of the apex court’s December 16, 2009, judgementon NRO remains unresolved, While President Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday nominated Makhdoom Shahbuddin next prime minister to fill the office.
The SC said a bench of seven judges through its judgement dated April, 26, 2012, followed by the detailed reasons released on May 8, 2012, had found 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 until the rising of the court under Section 5 of the said ordinance, and since no appeal was filed against thejudgement, the conviction has attained finality.
“Therefore, Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani has become disqualified from being a member 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 judgement of this court dated 26.04.2012 with all consequences, ie 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.”
A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, and comprising Justice Jawwad S Khawaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain, disposed of petitions of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz central leader Khawaja Asif and others against the National Assembly speaker’s May 24 ruling on the issue of Gilani’s conviction in the contempt of court case.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was asked to issue notification of disqualification of Gilani from being a member of parliament with effect from April 26, 2012. “The president of Pakistan is required to take necessary steps under the constitution to ensure continuation of the democratic process through parliamentary system of government in the country,” the court noted in its two-page short order and observed that reasons for it would be recorded later on.
The court observed that neither the speaker nor the Election Commission of Pakistan could sit on the Supreme Court judgements. It noted that the speaker should not have travelled beyond her authority to find faults in the apex court judgement. The 30-day time given in the constitution to the speaker had also lapsed, therefore she should have sent the matter to the ECP, it noted, adding that if the executive scrutinised the judgement of a seven-member bench, how would it reflect on the concept of independence of judiciary.
The bench held that the court in exercise of jurisdiction under Article 184(3) of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan was competent to ensure enforcement of the fundamental rights of the citizens in all matters of public importance. The judgement said that the speaker of the National Assembly under Article 63(2) of the constitution exercised her powers on the disqualification of the prime minister, which are not covered by the definition of internal proceedings of parliament, therefore, the court, in exercise of power of judicial review, was not debarred from inquiring into the order dated May 25, 2012.
Earlier, during the proceedings, Attorney General Irfan Qadir argued that clash between institutions should be averted. The chief justice said, “We have great respect for parliament and are for its dignity and honour but we have to see the implementation of constitution.”
He observed that if an appeal had been filed against the seven-member bench’s judgement, the matter of PM’s disqualification could have been deferred for some time. Separately, the ECP issued a formal notice disqualifying Prime Minister Gilani as a member of parliament as ordered by the Supreme Court. The commission backdated the disqualification to April 26, the date that Gilani was convicted of contempt.
President Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday nominated Makhdoom Shahbuddin next prime minister to fill the office that felt vacant after the Supreme Court disqualified Yousaf Raza Gilani on Tuesday.
Shahbuddin will file his nomination papers today (Thursday), while PPP leader Raja Pervez Ashraf will be his covering candidate.
Shahbuddin’s nomination came after a meeting of PPP leadership chaired by President Zardari.
Earlier, the ruling PPP authorised the president, also the party’s co-chairman, to nominate a candidate for the office of PM.
A statement issued from the Presidency said the meeting discussed the political situation following the Supreme Court’s Tuesday verdict. The meeting lauded Gilani for “upholding the supremacy of parliament and constitution”.
Sources said that some participants expressed their anger over the Supreme Court’s decision to disqualify Gilani as prime minister. However, the president cooled them down and said that the party would not go for confrontation against any state institution.
“We will do every role that would strength democracy in the country,” sources quoted Zardari as saying. They said that some members also suggested establishment of a constitutional court to decide about constitutional matters, adding that the proposal was rejected.
“Aitzaz Ahsan said that for such a court, a two-thirds majority of parliament is required, which the party does not have at the moment,” source said. Among the sizeable members of parliament belonging to the PPP, Gilani also attended the meeting as vice chairman of the PPP.
The PML-N leadership also had a busy day on Wednesday and reached out to allies of the PPP in an apparent bid to dent the former coalition. A PML-N delegation met the JUI-F leadership and sought support for its candidate Sardar Mahtab Khan Abbasi for the PM slot.
However, sources said, the JUI-F asked the PML-N to bring a unanimous candidate for the purpose. The PML-N also contacted another PPP ally, the MQM, and tried to convince it to distance itself from the ruling party. Nawaz Sharif-led opposition party also contacted FATA joint parliamentary group to win their support on the issue.
Sources in the PML-N said that the party has decided to contact all political parties except the Chaudhrys of Gujrat to contest PPP’s move to bring in a new leader of the National Assembly. Sources in the PPP said three candidates from the PPP and allied parties would file their nominations for the PM’s slot.
The National Assembly will hold its special session tomorrow (Friday) to elect new leader of the House. Gilani was dismissed after being convicted of contempt for refusing to ask Swiss authorities to reopen corruption cases against Zardari.