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SC disqualifies Prime Minister Gilani

Islamabad: Supreme Court on Tuesday disqualified Prime Minister, Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani in a set of petitions filed to challenge ruling of Speaker, National Assembly. A three member Bench, headed by Chief Justice, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry in its short order said President is required to take necessary steps under the constitution to ensure continuation of democratic process through parliamentary system of the government in the country. The other members of the bench were Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain.
In April, the Supreme Court found Gillani guilty of contempt of court for refusing to reopen corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.
“Yusuf Raza Gillani stands disqualified as a member of the Parliament” said Chaudhary in a packed courtroom. “He has also ceased to be the prime minister of Pakistan,the office of the prime minister stands vacant.”
The decision is a big blow to the PPP, it is unlikely to lead to the fall of the unpopular government.
The PPP and its coalition partners have the numbers in parliament to elect a new prime minister until the government’s term ends early next year when a general election is due.
The PPP’s central executive committee said it would set aside reservations it has on the judgment, consult with legal advisers and then formulate a strategy. The party urged its workers to exercise restraint.
“Once we have finished our consultations, parliament is the forum for this. We will see what route we have to take,” senior PPP official Qamar Zaman Kaira told reporters. Zardari cancelled a visit to Russia over the Supreme Court judgment, a presidential spokesman said.
Gillani is the first serving prime minister in Pakistan’s history to be convicted by a court.
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