In a reply filed to the court, National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza defended her decision to not disqualify the prime minister – arguing that it is “the Speaker who is to decide” on the matter.
Arguing that “there is no need to refer the matter to Election Commission of Pakistan within 30 days,” the speaker asked the Sindh High Court to dismiss a petition seeking a ruling against the decision to not disqualify the prime minister following his conviction in a contempt case by the Supreme Court.
In a two-page reply, submitted on her behalf by the National Assembly secretary, Mirza defended her decision to dismiss bids to disqualify Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani – including a refusal to send a reference, filed by Advocate Moulvi Iqbal Haider, against the premier to the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC).
Mirza stated that the reference sent by Advocate Haider, who is also the petitioner in this case, was received and was duly considered but was rejected through her May 24 ruling.
She added that the petition has become infructuous.
“The petition had no legal wings to fly, became infructuous and should, hence, be dismissed,” the reply stated.
Mirza further stated in her reply that the speaker has always remained “alive to the responsibilities that have to be fulfilled under the Constitution.”
The bench, comprising Justice Faisal Arab and Justice Nadeem Akhtar, adjourned further proceedings till June 6, giving the petitioner time to file a rejoinder.
In his petition, Advocate Haider maintained that, following his conviction, Prime Minister Gilani has ceased to be a part of the National Assembly.
He added that the speaker does not have any role in deciding whether the premier is disqualified or not, and should forward the reference to the ECP.
The petitioner had prayed to the SHC to seek a reply from the convicted prime minister in this regard, and to direct the speaker to forward his reference against the premier to the CEC.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 1st, 2012.