Speaker National Assembly Dr Fehmida Mirza, finalising her decision in Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s contempt case, said that Gilani cannot be disqualified under Article 63(1)(g) of the Constitution, Express News reported on Thursday.
The speaker said that according to Article 63 of the Constitution, the question of the prime minister’s qualification “does not arise”. She has also decided against forwarding the Supreme Court’s reference to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
Quoting the Supreme Court’s order in her 11-point long ruling, Mirza wrote, “no specific charge regarding the propagation of any opinion or acting in any manner against the independence of the judiciary or defaming or ridiculing the judiciary as contemplated under Article 63 (1) (g) has been framed.”
She added: “I am of the view that the charges against Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani are not relatable to the grounds mentioned in paragraph (g) or (h) of clause (1) of Article 63, therefore, no question of disqualification of Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani from being a member arises under clause (2) of Article 63 of the Constitution.”
Sources affiliated with Express News revealed that Dr Mirza said the Supreme Court did not raise the issue of Gilani’s disqualification when it announced the verdict in the contempt case, hence there was no need to send the reference against Gilani to the ECP.
Dr Mirza consulted law experts including Aitzaz Ahsan, Fakhruddin G, Asma Jahangir and Justice (retd) Sajjad Ali for the decision, which she dictated to the secretary national assembly.
Against the ruling
Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) leader Ahsan Iqbal said that the ruling has proved that justice in the country is different for the powerful and the weak.
“All over the world, if such an order was passed against a prime minister, the premier would have stepped down from his post immediately after the order was announced… but here the prime minister is sticking to his seat.”
“The speaker should have been above her political affiliations while passing the ruling, but she instead used her post in favour of the prime minister… But we will keep stressing that a convict cannot be the prime minister of 180 million people.”
Law expert Salman Akram Raja also found it surprising that the speaker decided against forwarding the reference to the election commission as the Supreme Court had ‘clearly’ mentioned what it wanted. “The Supreme Court has the complete right to do justice.”
Law expert Wajeeh Ahmed also said that the speaker’s ruling was not the right step as Article 63 clearly indicates that when a leader is convicted, he is disqualified from his post.
In favour of the ruling
Kanwar Dilshad, former secretary election commission, talking to Express News, said that Dr Mirza was right when she said that the Supreme Court did not give any clear directions in its order. “What kind of an order did the Supreme Court pass?” he questioned.
“When I was in the election commission, we used to receive several Supreme Court orders which would clearly give us directions on what to do,” he added. “We totally support the speaker’s decision.”
Former law minister Khalid Ranjha also supported the speaker and said that her decision was within the Constitution and it cannot be challenged. “This is parliament’s internal matter.”
A seven-member bench of the Supreme Court convicted Gilani of contempt on April 26, 2012 for refusing to write a letter to Swiss authorities in order to reopen corruption cases against the president.
Read complete text of Dr Fehmida Mirza’s ruling here.