Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Tuesday disqualified Pakistan’s Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gillani. The court reiterated that the prime minister had been ineligible since April 26, 2012.
Pakistan’s top court convicted Mr. Gillani in April for refusing to write a letter to Swiss authorities to reopen corruption cases against incumbent President Asif Ali Zardari. The matter of the prime minister’s disqualification first fell in the hands of the parliament's speaker, who announced that there was no question of the prime minister's disqualification. Afterwards, the Supreme Court resumed its hearing and disqualified the prime minister, who had not filed any appeal against his conviction. As the Supreme Court has disqualified the prime minister, he will no more be a member of the parliament.
"Yusuf Raza Gillani is disqualified from membership of parliament from April 26, the date of his conviction. He has also ceased to be the prime minister of Pakistan," said Chief Justice , reading the order.
"The Election Commission shall issue a notice of disqualification and the president is required to take necessary steps to ensure continuation of democratic process," he added.
Political analysts believe that the disqualification of Gillani will ignite new political turmoil in the already crisis-hit country. The question whether the course of action pursued by the prime minister after April 26 are legal or not also remains unanswered. With elections approaching, the present government will have to take swift actions to stabilize the situation by bringing a new PM immediately.
A three-member bench, comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain heard and announced the court’s decision.
Attorney General Irfan Qadir presented his set of arguments, endorsing the speakers' ruling. He also insisted that the Supreme Court must try to avoid clash between the state's institutions.
“We respect the courts, however, state institutions should try to avoid clash amongst themselves,” the attorney general said. In reply to his comments, the chief justice assured that the judiciary respected the parliament and that there was no clash between the state’s institutions. He further added that the prime minister must have realized that contempt of court is a serious crime.
Many major political parties held rallies and protests to support supremacy of the Supreme Court over other institutions.