LAHORE: The Federal government, in a reply to the Lahore High Court on Monday regarding Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s conviction, said he could not be disqualified till the issuance of detailed order by the Supreme Court in the contempt of court case.
This was stated by deputy attorney general Abdul Hayee Gillani on behalf of the government during hearing of two identical petitions filed against the prime minister for continuing to hold his office after being convicted on contempt of court charges.
The law officer, however, sought more time from the court for filing a written reply to these petitions. At this the LHC Chief Justice Sh Azmat Saeed adjourned hearing of the case till May 11.
Pakistan Tehrik-e-Inqilab chairman Rana Ilamudin Ghazi and Advocate Shahid Naseem Gondal had filed the petitions through their counsel A.K Dogar. The petitioners argued that Gilani was punished with the imprisonment till rising of the court by the Supreme Court after being found guilty of contempt of court.
They claimed that the respondent ceased to be the prime minister the same moment he was pronounced a convict and punished under article 204(2) of the Constitution, but they added, Gillani was continuing to hold the office of Prime Minister.
Therefore, under article 199(1)(b) of the Constitution, the respondent was required to show under what authority of law he could still claim to hold the office of prime minister, the petitioners asked.
The petitioners referred to a case reported in PLD 1963 SC 486(506) Faazalul Qadar Chaudhry vs M Abdul Haq wherein the court held, “examined in that state, it is clear from clause (1) of article 204 that the Constitution lays down a rule of automatic application, that a person assuming office of profit should forthwith cease to be a member of an assembly after being convicted. In such a case there would naturally be no need whatsoever for the matter to be referred to the chief election commissioner.”
They stated that on the rule of automatic application, the respondent (Gilani) had ceased to hold the office and provisions of article 63(2) and (3) were irrelevant. Therefore, they prayed that the Gilani be asked to show under what law he claimed to hold the office of the prime minister and that he should be restrained from acting as PM and misusing the facilities connected with the said office.