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Pakistan PM Gilani barred from office

19 June 2012 12:33 pm - 5     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Pakistan's top court has disqualified Prime Minister YousufRazaGilani from holding office, two months after convicting him of contempt of court.

The Supreme Court ruled he had "ceased to be the prime minister of Pakistan".

In April, the Supreme Court convicted MrGilani of failing to pursue corruption charges against President Asif Ali Zardari.

The legal case is part of a bitter feud between Pakistan's civilian government and the judiciary.

In April, MrGilani was given only a token sentence and spared a jail term.

Tuesday's court ruling disqualified him from office and from parliament.

"Since no appeal was filed [against the 26 April conviction]... therefore Syed YousufRazaGilani stands disqualified as a member of the Majlis-e-Shoora [parliament]," Chief Justice IftikharChaudhry told a packed courtroom.

He added: "He has also ceased to be the prime minister of Pakistan... the office of the prime minister stands vacant."

The court backdated the disqualification to 26 April, raising questions over decisions MrGilani has made in office since then.

It is not clear what next steps MrGilani may take - or whether his removal means the fall of the government.

The BBC's Orla Guerin in Islamabad says senior leaders of the governing Pakistan People's Party are in emergency session with MrGilani and President Zardari.

The party has the necessary majority in parliament to elect a successor to MrGilani.
Ruling 'unlawful'

Our correspondent says there will be great political uncertainty following the ruling, and some people will see it as another round in the clash of institutions taking place in Pakistan.

During Tuesday's hearing, Attorney General IrfanQadir accused the court of behaving unlawfully.

He said the prime minister was not answerable to the court in regard to his professional duties and that justices had violated an article of the constitution in their ruling.

MrGilani decided not to appeal against the contempt conviction in April. His lawyer said he feared a more unfavourable decision from the court if he did so.

The pursuit of the contempt case by Supreme Court judges is widely seen as an attempt at meddling in the country's politics. Many believe the judiciary is being backed by the military.

The charges against President Zardari date back to the 1990s when his late wife Benazir Bhutto was prime minister. They were accused of using Swiss bank accounts to launder bribe money.

President Zardari has always insisted the charges against him are politically motivated.

The Supreme Court ordered MrGilani's government to write to the Swiss authorities to ask them to reopen the cases against MrZardari.

But MrGilani refused, saying the case had been closed by a Swiss judge "on merit" and the president had constitutional immunity.(BBC)
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  • alisten-Australia Wednesday, 20 June 2012 09:46 AM

    Cannt belive that Pakistani judges powers and look at our judges.

    silva Wednesday, 20 June 2012 09:53 AM

    hope this law and ordr maintained in all over the world, not for pakistan we need this in srilanka also

    Ronald Wednesday, 20 June 2012 03:57 AM

    See the difference between our supreme court and the Pakistan

    RamUK Tuesday, 19 June 2012 01:26 PM

    Libya,Sriya,Eygpt ...Pakistan...list goes on

    Em Tuesday, 19 June 2012 01:30 PM

    Power of America.. A small analysis MR's good friends are loosing power very frequently. Maldives - Nasheed, Now Pakistan - Gilani in near future Iran - A'Nejad clash with the supreme leader. When is yours??


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