The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Tuesday declared Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani disqualified from holding office. The ruling, probable to steer the nuclear-armed country into new political mayhem, came more than a month after Pakistan’s prime minister was convicted for contempt of court.
The Supreme Court’s decision has significantly shot up the already tense relationship between the Pakistan Peoples Party’s government and the judiciary. According to details, Chief Justiceaffirmed that the Prime Minister’s office had been in fact empty since April 26, when the apex court convicted him on contempt charges because he rejected the court’s order to ask Switzerland to renew a multi-million-dollar corruption probe into his boss, President Asif Ali Zardari.
“Yousuf Raza Gilani has become disqualified from being member of the parliament,” said Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, according to DAWN. “He has also ceased to be the prime minister of Pakistan with effect from the same date (April 26) and office of the prime minister shall be deemed to be vacant accordingly. The Election Commission is required to issue notification of disqualification… The president is required to take necessary steps under the constitution to ensure continuation of democratic process through parliamentary system of government in the country,” he added.
Yusuf Raza Gilani has been declining to vacate his office, saying he has done the right thing and that the Supreme Court’s chief justice holds grudge against him and the Pakistan People’s Party.
The Supreme Court ruling has left Pakistan in constitutional indecisiveness, with the PPP government’s administration also subsequently sent home. According to legal experts, Gilani cannot plea the verdict.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan People’s Party was reportedly having an extraordinary meeting to decide its reaction to the judgment.
According to Fawad Chaudhry, a counselor to the prime minister, Gilani would carry on functioning as premier and any ultimate decision concerning his future would be taken by the parliament.
“The Supreme Court cannot disqualify the prime minister like this,” he said, according to the Washington Post.
Meanwhile,, a leading leader of the opposition party, Pakistan Muslim League-N, which initiated the court action, praised the verdict.
“It upholds the supremacy of the law and the constitution,” he said, according to the NY Times.