“The matter of the prime minister’s disqualification is closed after the ruling of the National Assembly’s speaker in his favour. The opposition can remove him only through a no-confidence motion,” said the special assistant to the prime minister on political affairs Fawad Hussain Chaudhry on Monday.
All major bar associations have accepted the speaker’s ruling and there is no point in dragging the matter to court, Chaudhry told a press conference. He said according to Article 63(2) of the Constitution, the speaker had decided the matter of the prime minister’s disqualification. He said the speaker’s ruling could not be challenged before any court according to Article 69.
He said if the PML-N and PTI file petitions challenging the speaker’s ruling, the Supreme Court would dismiss them in the initial hearing.
“The PM can only be removed through a no-confidence motion which the PML-N and PTI cannot bring as they are ‘GT Road’ parties. The PTI is not even in the Parliament and the PML-N will not get support as the other parties are with the PPP,” the lawyer said.
Fawad said the prime minister had suggested three names for chief election commissioner (CEC) — Justice (retd) Munir A Sheikh, Justice Amirul Mulk Mengal and Justice (r) Zahid Iqbal Alvi — but Opposition Leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had objected, saying that they did not accept Gilani. He asked how PML-N leaders could attend his dinners but not accept him as prime minister when choosing a CEC.
He said the PPP had objected to names proposed by the PML-N on merit as Justice (r) Nasirul Mulk, Justice (r) Sajjad Ali Shah and Justice (r) Fakhrudin G Ibrahim had all opposed the PPP government and could not be regarded as impartial.
He said the PML-N wanted Justice Shakirullah Jan to remain CEC but this would be a violation of the Constitution and the Supreme Court’s judicial policy. He said the president, PM and PPP wanted an impartial CEC.
He said the parliamentary committee for appointment of a CEC was free to choose a person for the position.
Asked if the PPP was considering Justice (retd) Sardar Raza Khan for the position, he said the PPP would consider any names the bar associations proposed.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 29th, 2012.