The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday dismissed a petition against Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani seeking the court’s direction to evict him from office after his conviction by the Supreme Court (SC) on April 26.
Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the IHC dismissed the petition filed by Advocate GM Chaudhry, requesting the court to order Gilani to stop functioning as the prime minister after his conviction.
The court observed that the petitioner should wait until the detailed verdict and final orders of the SC. Meanwhile, on Justice Siddiqui’s advice, Chaudhry withdrew his petition.
GM Chaudhry had cited all advisers and special assistants to the prime minister, the federal law secretary, attorney general and the chief election commissioner as respondents in the petition. In his petition, he maintained that according to Article 63(1)g of the constitution the prime minister stands disqualified as a member of the National Assembly (MNA).
He further contended in his petition that the prime minister’s cabinet, its advisers and ministers of state cannot continue to perform and exercise power as well since such actions would stand illegal under Article 91 of the constitution. It added that all federal ministers, advisers and special assistants as such should be asked to quit their offices.
LHC Chief Justice seeks Attorney General’s aid
Meanwhile, Lahore High Court (LHC) Chief Justice (CJ) Sheikh Azmat Saeed on Wednesday sought assistance from the Attorney General of Pakistan on two identical petitions against Prime Minister Gilani.
Pakistan Tehrik-e-Inqilab chairman Rana Ilamudin Ghazi and Advocate Shahid Naseem Gondal had filed petitions through their counsel A K Dogar maintaining that since Gilani continued to hold the prime minister’s office despite his conviction, under Article 199(1)b of the Constitution he was liable to show under what authority of law he claimed to hold the office.
Referring to another decision by the court, the petitioners held under Article 204 of the Constitution there is clearly no requirement for any ascertainments by fact-finding processes against the PM.
In such a case, there is no need for the matter to be referred to the chief election commissioner and a person holding any such office should cease to be an MNA forthwith, Dogar said.
The petitioners further stated that due to automatic application of Article 204, provisions by clauses (2) and (3) of Article 63 were irrelevant in this case, and as such, in addition to being directed to clarify the authority under which he continued in office, PM Gilani be restrained from exercising powers and misusing facilities connected with the office.
Advocate Dogar brought up an argument similar to the petition dismissed in Islamabad, saying the PM’s cabinet also stood disqualified after his conviction.
During the proceedings, the petitioners’ counsel asked the CJ to declare the PM’s disqualification without any fear.
Assuring that the court had no fear and will decide according to the law and the Constitution, the CJ adjourned the hearing till May 7 and directed the attorney general to assist the court on the matter.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 3rd, 2012.