The Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) said on Saturday that Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani is still legally and constitutionally the chief executive of Pakistan.
Speaking at a news briefing after a meeting of the All Pakistan Lawyers Representatives, PBC Vice-Chairman Akhtar Hussain said the premier had the right to appeal against the Supreme Court verdict and that a reference was required to be sent to the National Assembly speaker for his disqualification. Hussain also said that lawyers would take their own decision on whether or not to join the long march and would not become a “tool in the hands of any political party”.
The lawyers unanimously rejected the practice of appointing acting or ad hoc judges in the Supreme Court, particularly because a permanent post has been vacant for several months and should be filled, preferably on the principle of seniority.
Such an appointment could only be made after approval by the president on the advice of the prime minister and was likely to create another political deadlock, Hussain added.
He said the bar leaders believed that the formation of the bench for the hearing of the prime minister’s contempt case appeal was so far premature and it would be appropriate to constitute a bench after an appeal was filed.
Once the permanent vacancy was filled and after Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali returns to the bench, there would be at least eight judges available to hear the appeal, Hussain added.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 6th, 2012.