Paki SC disqualifies PM for failure to open Swiss moneylaundering cases

Pakistan to elect new PM as supreme court disqualifies Yousuf Raza Gilani

PTI | Jun 19, 2012, 07.02PM IST

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was today disqualified as an MP by the Supreme Court two months after he was convicted for contempt, a staggering verdict that was surprisingly accepted by the ruling-PPP which swiftly moved to select a new premier.

Capping nearly 30 months of bitter feud between the judiciary and the government, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry held that Gilani, 60, “ceased” to be the Prime Minister from April 26 this year.

Gilani was then convicted and sentenced for not obeying court orders to reopen graft charges in Switzerland against President Asif Ali Zardari.

Contrary to expectations that the PPP will back him to the hilt, the ruling party said it would abide by the verdict and set in motion the process of selecting Gilani’s successor.

Federal ministers Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, Makhdoom Shahabuddin and Khursheed Shah are among those being considered for the post of premier, the sources added.

A session of the National Assembly or lower house of Parliament is likely to be convened tomorrow for the formal election of the new premier.

Today’s verdict came in response to several petitions that had challenged National Assembly speaker Fehmida Mirza’s decision not to disqualify Gilani following his conviction.

“Since no appeal was filed against this (April 26) judgment, the conviction has attained finality. Therefore, Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani has become disqualified from being a member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (parliament) in terms of Article 63(1)(g) of the Constitution on and from the date and time of pronouncement of the judgment of this court dated 26.04.2012 with all consequences,” the Court said.

It added, “He (Gilani) has also ceased to be the Prime Minister of Pakistan with effect from the said date and the office of the Prime Minister shall be deemed to be vacant accordingly”.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pakistan-to-elect-new-PM-as-supreme-court-disqualifies-Yousuf-Raza-Gilani/articleshow/14274073.cms

Yousuf Raza Gilani convicted in contempt case, spared jail term

PTI | Apr 26, 2012, 10.58AM IST

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Thursday convicted Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani for contempt of court for refusing to revive graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari and sentenced him to a symbolic “till the rising of the court”, sparing him a jail term.

During proceedings in courtroom number 4 that lasted less than 10 minutes, the seven-judge bench headed by Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk announced the verdict and said Gilani’s sentence would last “till the rising of the court” or till the completion of the hearing.

The judges left the court immediately after announcing the verdict, effectively ending 56-year-old Gilani’s sentence.

However, legal experts were divided on whether Gilani’s conviction would lead to his disqualification. They said the court’s detailed order would provide clarity in this regard.

Emerging from the court, Gilani told the media: “We had sought justice. The decision was not appropriate”.

The maximum sentence that could have been given to Gilani in this case was six months.

Earlier, Gilani drove in a small motorcade to the Supreme Court complex, where members of his council of ministers were waiting for him.

The premier then walked towards the building flanked by his son Abdul Qadeer Gilani and interior minister Rehman Malik as his supporters showered rose petals on him.

He stopped at the door of the building and waved to his supporters before going inside. The proceedings in the packed courtroom began at around 9.30am.

After the judges entered the room, Gilani walked and stood at the rostrum with law minister Farooq Naek and his lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan.

The government put in place strict security arrangements for Gilani’s third appearance in the Supreme Court in the contempt case.

Helicopters mounted aerial surveillance were also put in place while over 2,000 security personnel were deployed in the “Red Zone” where the apex court and parliament is located.

The Supreme Court has been pushing the government to reopen cases of money laundering against President Zardari in Switzerland since December 2009, when it struck down a graft amnesty (National Reconciliation Ordinance) issued by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf.

The government has refused to act, saying the President enjoys immunity in Pakistan and abroad.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Yousuf-Raza-Gilani-convicted-in-contempt-case-spared-jail-term/articleshow/12877193.cms

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