Pakistan’s Supreme Court Rules Gilani No Longer Prime Minister

On April 26, Pakistan’s Supreme Court found Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani in contempt of court for his refusal to ask Switzerland to re-open a corruption investigation into President Asif Ali Zardari. Today, the Supreme Court ruled that as a result of that conviction, Gilani is no longer Prime Minister (and has not been so since the April conviction).

From Reuters:

Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Tuesday declared Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani ineligible for office, plunging the country into another political crisis.

In April, the Supreme Court found Gilani guilty of contempt of court for refusing to reopen corruption cases against the president. Gilani’s lawyer, Fawad Chaudhry, said only parliament could dismiss the prime minister.

“Since no appeal was filed (against the April 26 conviction) … therefore Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani stands disqualifed as a member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (parliament)…,” said Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry in a packed courtroom.

Dawn brings us more:

“Yousuf Raza Gilani has become disqualified from being member of the parliament,” said Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, reading the order.

“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.

A three-member bench, comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain heard a set of constitutional petitions challenging National Assembly Speaker Fehmida Mirza’s ruling over the reference against Yousuf Raza Gilani.

The Express Tribune cites a report by the Express News that Gilani will have 30 days to appeal the ruling. The Tribune also reports that the PPP, the political party of Zardari and Gilani, is holding an emergency meeting. There also is increased security in the government zone:

Security in the Red Zone has been put on high-alert, while a heavy contingent of police has also been deployed at the Gilani House in Multan.

It will be very interesting to see how Zardari and the PPP choose to go forward from this point. Will they simply support an appeal of the Supreme Court ruling, even though they did not appeal the initial contempt ruling? Will they instead choose a new Prime Minister and seek to finish the current term until elections next year? Will they choose to call early elections?

Whatever course Zardari and the PPP choose, Pakistan is now in uncharted waters. I have seen no reports, however, suggesting that the military plans to step in and take control of the government during this crisis. That is a major step forward for democratic processess as the judiciary and the elected government seek to find a way to move forward.

Update: Dawn is now reporting that the PPP has decided not to call for early elections and will instead name a new Prime Minister within 24 hours.

Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Reddit0Share on Facebook0Google+0Email to someone

7 Responses to Pakistan’s Supreme Court Rules Gilani No Longer Prime Minister

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz To Secretary Kerry @StateDept and the US team, get the Iran deal done now, best wishes John! https://t.co/HH5BMSriuk
21mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @fordm And who said a guy that looks like he is from Herman's Hermits couldn't be an important world figure?
31mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel RT @docexblog: The great @emptywheel on @cunylawschool clinic's #FOIA litigation against National Security Council https://t.co/DWNkxecsIZ
1hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @robertcaruso Both are stupid. Sue meeee!
2hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz Seconded RT @JeffreyToobin When "religious liberty" was used to justify racism. Important piece by @imillhiser http://t.co/By8Z6dcJG2
2hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @WaltAuvil Yup. But for some reason NSC doesn't want to admit VP was making decisions reserved to POTUS.
2hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @ColMorrisDavis Both you & I know it went like: Dick: Do it. Bush, Yoo, Rice, Gonzales: Yes sir. But NSC doesn't want to explain that now
3hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel The Torture Report said NSC authorized torture. NSC's lawyer now claiming it didn't. https://t.co/yNb8TvoAJJ Did ANYBODY authorize torture?
3hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz So @emptywheel https://t.co/fyycjPoS7a + @joshgerstein http://t.co/bc70AU2Knr have dueling awesome, but different FOIA stories out today.
3hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel RT @chrisgeidner: States w no marriage equality now: AR, GA, KY, LA, MI, MS, ND, NE, OH, SD, TN, TX. States w range of partial marriage equ…
3hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel In an effort to kill a drone FOIA, NSC's lawyer argues here that CIA bears all legal responsibility for torture. https://t.co/yNb8TvoAJJ
3hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @Ali_Gharib If the Iranians think Congress has precluded real sanctions relief, that is a huge game changer.
4hreplyretweetfavorite
June 2012
S M T W T F S
« May   Jul »
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930