The National Assembly adopted on Thursday a government-moved resolution to support Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza’s ruling last month, in which she refused to disqualify Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani following his conviction in a contempt case.
Moved by Law Minister Farooq H Naek seconds before the key session was prorogued, the resolution emphatically stated that the ruling was part of house proceedings and could not be challenged in any court of law.
The move came hours after the Supreme Court heard several petitions challenging the speaker’s ruling, during which there was an indication that the final verdict might be against the government.
“The house further resolves that the afore-said ruling having been given by the speaker is part of the proceedings of the Majlis-e-Shoora (parliament) and, therefore, cannot be questioned,” the draft read.
Legal opinion was bitterly divided when the ruling was issued by the speaker on May 24, with pro-government lawyers stating it was in accordance with the true spirit of the Constitution, while those in favor of the judiciary termed it unconstitutional.
Opposition parties – the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) – immediately approached the Supreme Court with petitions to challenge the ruling.
The government, however, remained adamant on its position that no court could overrule a decision of the National Assembly speaker.
The resolution further stated that challenging the speaker’s verdict was tantamount to undermine the authority of parliament.
“The speaker represents the house, the dignity of the house and the freedom of the house and because the house represents the nation, in a particular way, the speaker becomes the symbol of the nation’s freedom and liberty,” the draft read.
It added that the principal duty of the speaker being the custodian of the house was to regulate its proceedings and pass appropriate rulings.
“The house, thus, hereby resolves to endorse and reaffirm the ruling of the speaker of the National Assembly dated May 24, 2012 in the matter of Yousaf Raza Gilani, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, under clause (2) of article 63 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan 1973, which upholds the Constitution and respects the mandate of the electorate and is within the ambit and scope of the functions and powers conferred upon the Speaker by the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan 1973,” it concluded.
Published In The Express Tribune, June 15th, 2012.
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