Supreme Court sacks Prime Minister

In an unprecedented show of judicial independence and strength, the Supreme Court of Pakistan has dismissed the Prime Minister Mr Yousaf Raza Gillani for contempt of court. In an earlier post this blog debated what Mr Gillani’s fate might be? Mr Kadri QC and I concluded that by breaching a court order and acting contemptuously, Mr Gillani was destined to get into trouble. And it seems that our prediction was correct! 

Mr Gillani was convicted of contempt and did not appeal the Supreme Court’s decision.

Stripping the prime minister of his office, a measure of last resort used by the judiciary to maintain constitutional order, was a difficult step to take and Mr Gillani’s successor will face the even harder task of writing to the Swiss authorities (pursuant to, and in implementation of, paragraphs 177 and 178 of the NRO Judgment) to restart the corruption cases against the President Asif Ali Zardari and his cronies.

In order to replace Mr Gillani, who will be departing from his official residence today, it is expected that the National Assembly will elect a new prime minister on Friday 22 June 2012.

Exercising its original constitutional jurisdiction, the Supreme Court ordered that:

Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani guilty of contempt of Court under Article 204(2) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 read with section 3 of the Contempt of Court Ordinance, 2003 and sentenced him to undergo imprisonment till rising of the Court under section 5 of the said Ordinance, and since no appeal was filed against this judgment, the conviction has attain 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, i.e. he 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

The Pakistan Mazdoor Kissan Party is pleased with the Supreme Court’s approach to the issue of Mr Gillani’s contempt. No one is above the law: especially not the prime minister. Pakistan’s citizens deserve that people with public power should be held accountable for their actions. Our country’s politicians ought to respect the rule of law and refrain from using the law of the jungle for their own political ends.

A free and fair judiciary is in Pakistan’s interest and decisions such as this one, if consistently made and respected, might help our country restore constitutional order. It is hoped that such actions will help Pakistanis make strides towards freedom.

The people of Pakistan are universally embracing the ruling: they complain that Mr Gillani was not working in the interests of “good governance”. The people, who have no water, electricity, sanitation and food are rejoicing at the prime minister’s demise/dismissal because he failed to act in accordance the constitutional role allocated to his office.

The Court’s Short Order is available below

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