Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Apparent beheading of Steven Sotloff sees more calls for #IsisMediaBlackout

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Lesotho Coup: Exiled Prime Minister vows to return home after fleeing

Read more

DEBATE

Child Migrants In America: What to do about the wave of unaccompanied minors? (Part Two)

Read more

DEBATE

Child Migrants In America: What to do about the wave of unaccompanied minors?

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Abbas Araghchi, Iranian deputy foreign minister

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

FOCUS

When water becomes a weapon of war

Read more

ENCORE!

Eve Ensler: 'In The Body Of The World'

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Ed Husain, Author of 'The Islamist'

Read more

  • IS video purports to show beheading of second US journalist

    Read more

  • Could France sell the Mona Lisa to pay off its debts?

    Read more

  • Video: Bodies ‘left behind’ as Ukraine forces flee rebel assault

    Read more

  • Trust and 'bio-disaster units' needed to fight Ebola

    Read more

  • France vows crackdown on unemployment benefit ‘abusers’

    Read more

  • Julie Gayet wins privacy case against French glossy Closer

    Read more

  • Germany blocks popular car pick-up service Uber

    Read more

  • Several UN peacekeepers killed in Mali explosion

    Read more

  • NATO plans new 'spearhead' force to counter Russia

    Read more

  • French clubs left behind as others spend big

    Read more

  • Britain drops arrest warrant for ill boy’s parents

    Read more

  • When water becomes a weapon of war

    Read more

  • Arab media strike back at IS Islamists – with cartoons

    Read more

  • US military targets Somalia's al Shabaab Islamist group

    Read more

  • Eve Ensler: 'In The Body Of The World'

    Read more

  • Boko Haram Islamists seize northeast Nigerian town

    Read more

  • Is Carla Bruni against a political comeback for Sarkozy?

    Read more

  • Monaco’s Falcao leaves Ligue 1 for Man Utd

    Read more

Asia-pacific

Pakistan Supreme Court ousts PM from office

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-06-19

In a move that has sparked fears of fresh political turmoil in Pakistan, the country's Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that Prime Minister Yousuf Reza Gilani was no longer eligible to hold office, two months after his conviction of contempt of court.

AP - Pakistan’s top court ruled Tuesday that the prime minister was no longer eligible to hold office due to an earlier contempt conviction, ushering in fresh political turmoil in the nuclear-armed country.

The verdict by the Supreme Court was a major blow against Yousuf Reza Gilani, who has been hanging on to office for months in the face of opposition by the judges.

Gilani and his party, the largest in the ruling coalition, were holding an emergency meeting to discuss the verdict.

In the past, the party has said it would have the numbers in parliament to elect a new premier if Gilani was ousted by the court.

But some aides have suggested that the prime minister might try to hold on. If Gilani were to resist the order, it could spark institutional deadlock and social unrest, even raising the possibility of the army staging a coup as it has done three times in the country’s past.

In its ruling, the Supreme Court ordered the country’s election commission to formally dismiss Gilani and said he had not legally been the prime minister since April 26, when the court convicted him for contempt for refusing to open a corruption probe against his boss, President Asif Ali Zardari, dating back to the 1990s and involving the jurisdiction of courts in Switzerland.

“The office of the prime minister shall be deemed to be vacant accordingly,” said Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudry, who then ordered Zardari to begin the process of electing a new premier.

The ruling was the culmination of a process that began in a Supreme Court decision in 2009 ordering the government to ask authorities in Switzerland to reopen the cases against Zardari. Gilani refused, saying the president had immunity from prosecution so long as he was in office, and in January the court ordered contempt proceedings against him.

Gilani has been refusing to step down, saying he has done nothing wrong and accusing the Supreme Court’s chief justice of having a vendetta against him and his party.

Fawad Chaudhry, an adviser to the prime minister, said Gilani would continue working as premier and any final decision about his fate would be taken by the parliament. He did not elaborate.

“The Supreme Court cannot disqualify the prime minister like this,” he said.

In the world of Pakistani politics, the court order against Gilani could become an advantage to his and Zardari’s party in elections that have to be called before early next year. It will likely portray the case against Gilani as the latest in a long line of unjust decisions by the courts and the army and use it to fire up the party’s base ahead of elections. Party founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was hanged by the court in 1979.

Rasul Bakhsh Rais, a professor at Lahore University of Management Science, said the Zardari government was unlikely to accept the court’s decision.

“The political situation is not likely to be decided very peacefully I am afraid. It will be decided by demonstrations,” he said.

If Gilani does not step down, the Supreme Court could call on the president or the military to enforce the decision, Rais said.

“Pakistan is in a real mess,” he said.

 

Date created : 2012-06-19

  • PAKISTAN

    Deadly explosion strikes market in northwest Pakistan

    Read more

  • PAKISTAN

    High-ranking al Qaeda leader killed in US drone strike

    Read more

COMMENT(S)