In what appeared to be a unique example of parliamentary history, the Supreme Court of Pakistan has disqualified Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani, setting aside ruling of the National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza.
According to the verdict, Gilani is no more Member of the National Assembly (MNA).
It said the office of the chief executive fell vacant from April 26, when he was convicted by the seven-member bench of the court for not implementing court’s ruling of writing letter to Swiss authorities to reopen graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.
A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry announced the verdict against the premier over identical petitions filed by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
The order has also ordered President Asif Ali Zardari to select a new prime minister, asking the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to issue a notification regarding Gilani’s ineligibility.
Earlier, concluding his arguments in the Speaker’s ruling case, Attorney General Irfan Qadir said that the immunity provided to Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani cannot be taken away anyone but the Parliament and that he was not answerable to any court.
Irfan Qadir observed, “The parliament has the right to reject court’s decision if it decides against the Speaker’s ruling”. On which, the chief justice stated that the court respected the parliament and that they should do their job while the court does its own.
Justice Khilji Arif Hussain support his fellow judge saying that the job of the court was to interpret law and that it will continue doing so.
In reply to this, Irfan Qadir informed the court that it will create conflict between institutions if the court takes a decision against ruling of the Speaker. Upon which, Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry clarified that there was not conflict among state organs.
Irfan Qadir was of the opinion that the premier was not answerable to the courts over the dispensation of his professional duties.
In his view, the apex court had violated Article 248 of the Constitution, fearing that the court may issue another ruling which could be against the law.
He continued that the prime minister’s summoning in court was also against the law. Moreover, he said that the immunity which the office of the President enjoyed could only be eliminated by the parliament.