A division bench of the Sindh High Court on Wednesday deferred till May 18, a judgment on the issue of maintainability of a petition against Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani convicted and sentenced on charge of willful disobedience of and ridiculing judiciary.
The court which was expected to announce its judgment on Wednesday decided to defer it after the petitioner filed another application today submitting that the situation has changed entirely after the Supreme Court’s detailed judgment.
“Now there new grounds and arguments which I will agitate before the bench in view of detailed judgment,” petitioner Moulvi Iqbal Haider said.
The petition was filed on April 28, seeking direction to the Speaker National Assembly to forward a reference against Yousuf Raza Gilani to the Chief Election Commissioner who is final authority to declare seat of Gilani vacant consequent upon his conviction and sentence by the Supreme Court on April 26 in a contempt of court case.
Earlier the bench comprising Justice Faisal Arab and Justice Nadeem Akhtar on Tuesday asked the petitioner to satisfy the court on the maintainability of the petition. The short order was silent about disqualification of the Prime Minister, the bench observed. The bench was of the view that the apex court has not said that Article 63-1 (G) was attracted.
Replying to the questions raised by the bench, petitioner submitted that even in short order court has held that PM Gilani has willfully disobeyed the orders of the court and has ridiculed the court and thus he stands disqualified.
The petitioner also argued that irrespective of the duration of sentence, conviction itself entails disqualification and holders of all constitutional offices including the respondent Speaker National Assembly and Chief Election Commissioner are bound to apply their minds and decide the issue of disqualification of the convicted prime minister.
The petition cited Speaker National Assembly, Chief Election Commissioner and Federation of Pakistan through federal law secretary as respondents.
The petitioner maintained that the Supreme Court in its short order convicted and sentenced prime minister to a lesser sentence of “till rising of the court”’ in view of mitigating circumstances.
The bench also left the process of declaration of unseating of Yousuf Raza Gilani to the holders of constitutional offices including Speaker NA and CEC as per due course of law, the petitioner said adding that petitioner on April 27 has sent a reference to the Speaker National Assembly requesting her (Fehmida Mirza) to forward the said reference to the Chief Election Commissioner as she is bound to act as per law and the Constitution.
The petitioner also seeks a direction to the CEC to convene a meeting to exclusively consider the issue of disqualification of the Yousuf Raza Gilani after he was convicted and sentenced and decide the reference.
The court was also requested to ask the Yousuf Raza Gilani that under what authority and law, he is continuing to hold office and discharging functions as prime minister despite his conviction on explicit charge of “willful disobedience of court and ridiculing the court.”
The Express Tribune