Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notices to National Assembly Speaker Fehmida Mirza, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in response to the petitions filed against the speaker’s ruling in the premier’s contempt case.
The hearing for the identical petitions, including those filed by PTI and PML-N, will be held on June 14. The people in question are not required to appear in person and can be represented by their respective counsels.
A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, observed that since the prime minister has not filed any written or verbal appeal even after a lapse of 30 days, the court’s verdict is now a conceded judgment.
The bench expressed surprise over how the prime minister had not made any efforts to rub off the stigma, while his party had sought to clear Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s name even after his execution.
When Justice Khilji Arif Hussain remarked that “for some people honour and pride matter the most,” A K Dogar quipped: “For Gilani only the office of the prime minister is important.”
Advocate Dogar argued that the premier’s actions were tantamount to ridiculing and defaming the judiciary, while PTI’s counsel Hamid Ali Khan said the speaker had “obstructed access to justice, which is a violation of fundamental rights.”
Khan also argued that the speaker had no power to overrule the apex court and was not the appellate authority against SC’s judgments.
Yet another petitioner, Zafar Ali Shah contended that the premier had induced a rift between the federal government and Punjab by not obeying the court’s ‘orders’. “Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif does not accept Gilani as the prime minister.”
A seven-member bench of the Supreme Court had convicted the prime minister of contempt of court for “willful flouting, disregard and disobedience of the apex court’s judgement on the NRO.”
However, Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza passed an order on May 24 which read: “I am of the view that the charges against Yousaf Raza Gilani are not relatable to the ground mentioned in paragraph ‘g’ or ‘h’ of Article 63 of the Constitution, therefore no question of his disqualification arises.”
After the speaker’s ruling, the premier and his counsel dropped the idea of filing an appeal. Opposition parties, however, seem adamant to overturn the ruling party’s premier. The case was adjourned till June 14.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 7th, 2012.
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