ISLAMABAD - Accepting petitions challenging NA speaker’s ruling against PM’s disqualification, the Supreme Court Wednesday issued notices for June 14 to Speaker Fehmida Mirza, PM Gilani, and secretaries of ECP, cabinet division, and law and justice department.
Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, heading a three-member bench, observed that Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani by not filing appeal against his conviction and not making any oral or written request at the time of judgment’s announcement has accepted his sentence in the contempt of court case.
SC Deputy Registrar (Judicial) Khalid Naeem informed the court that Mr Gilani till date had not filed appeal at the principal seat or the registry branches of the apex court all over the country. The court was told that after the 18th amendment the word ‘conviction’ was prefixed in the article 63(1)(g) as a result the speaker’s role under article 63(2) has become irrelevant; therefore, in view of that Gilani is disqualified from being elected or as the member of the parliament.
Justice Khilji Arif Hussain remarked that the President has sent to the court the reference regarding Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s murder just to remove the stigma on his death, adding; “For some people honour and pride matters the most.” The chief justice said some people even after the completion of their sentence approach the court for removing the stigma; as with that they are not qualified for a public office.
AK Dogar appearing on behalf of Azhar Siddique argued that Mr Gilani was acting in a manner prejudicial to the integrity of the judiciary and has ridicule or defamed the judiciary by not obeying the order.
Hamid Ali Khan, representing Imran Khan, said that speaker’s ruling has obstructed access to justice, which was violation of fundamental rights under article 9 and 10A of the constitution. He said the speaker’s action is detrimental to the judiciary, which is against the fundamental rights in the light of the Al-Jihad Trust case. Hamid Khan argued that speaker has no power to overrule the apex court order and she was not the appellate authority for the SC judgments.
Zafar Ali Shah contended that not following the court order by the prime minister has generated legal dispute between the Centre and Punjab province as Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif does not accept Gilani as the prime minister.
A seven-member SC bench on April 26 convicted the prime for committing contempt of court under article 204(2) read with section 3 of the Contempt of Court Ordinance 2003 for wilful flouting, disregard and disobedience of the apex court judgment on NRO.
However, National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza, after sitting idle on the issue for almost a month, passed an order on May 24 stating; “I am of the view that the charges against Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani are not relatable to the ground mentioned in paragraph (g) or (h) 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.”
After the speaker’s order the PM and his counsel dropped the idea of filing appeal and taken the position that speaker’s verdict was final. But the opposition parties have contested it.