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Pakistan SC disqualifies Prime Minister Gilani

Posted by Admin on June 20, 2012

http://in.news.yahoo.com/pakistan-sc-disqualifies-prime-minister-gilani.html

Gilani was found guilty of contempt for refusing to ask Swiss authorities to re-open corruption cases against President Zardari.

Yahoo! India News – 10 hours ago

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Supreme Court on Tuesday disqualified Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani from holding his office following his conviction in a contempt case.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan had on April 26 convicted Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani for contempt of court for his refusal to comply with the order to write to Switzerland authorities asking them to re-open corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

“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.

“He has also ceased to be the prime minister of Pakistan … the office of the prime minister stands vacant.”

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the Supreme Court asked President Asif Ali Zardari to ensure that steps are taken for the continuation of democracy in Pakistan.

Gilani and his government have refused to obey the court’s order to write to Swiss authorities asking them to re-open money laundering cases against Zardari. The government argues that Zardari has immunity as the head of state.

Gilani was convicted for violating Article 63(1) (g) of Pakistan’s constitution by a seven-judge bench of the court, headed by Justice Nasirul Mulk.

Accused of graft, Zardari had been granted amnesty under the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) in 2007 by the then President Pervez Musharraf to facilitate his return home and, primarily that of his wife, former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

The NRO that granted immunity to politicians and bureaucrats in corruption cases was struck down as void in 2009.

On January 16, 2012, the court issued a contempt notice against Gilani for not acting against Zardari.

Gilani was indicted for contempt of court on February 13.

The case stems from what many observers say is a political battle between the government and the military, which has held the whip in Pakistan’s political arena for most of the country’s 64 years of independence. Many say the army is using the court to keep the government on the back foot.

Thousands of corruption cases were thrown out in 2007 by an amnesty law passed under former military President Pervez Musharraf, which paved the way for a return to civilian rule.

Two years later, the Pakistan Supreme Court ruled that agreement illegal and ordered cases involving Swiss banks against President Asif Ali Zardari re-opened.

Pakistan’s Constitution says that anyone convicted of ridiculing the judiciary is barred from remaining in office as a member of parliament, but experts said that it would take a long time to disqualify Gilani.

Gilani has been the longest-serving Pakistani prime minister ever. This is the first time ever in Pakistan’s history that a prime minister appeared before the court and was convicted of contempt.

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