The decision to oust Prime Minister Gilani

By Yasser Latif Hamdani

A few hours ago the Supreme Court of Pakistan ruled that Yusuf Raza Gilani stands disqualified under 63(1) g of the Constitution. I have written extensively on this in many of my previous blog posts which may be found on this website. However I’d like to state some basic issues with this judgment in clear and unambiguous terms (sadly no one speaks in those in Pakistan:

1. The Supreme Court of Pakistan, in my legal opinion, is NOT vested with the authority under the constitution to dismiss the Prime Minister or over-rule the decisions of the Speaker i.e. Presiding Officer of the National Assembly whose decisions are his or her privilege and are covered by the parliamentary privilege clause.

2. Chief Justice of Pakistan/the entire Supreme Court of Pakistan has no authority to dictate to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on what to write to which foreign authority. That is an executive function and not a judicial function.
3. The Prime Minister was correct in obeying 248(2) of the Constitution above arbitrary dicta of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. He has paid a terrible price for following the Constitution in its letter and spirit. My heart goes out to him.

4. By loosely wording the short order and disqualifying the Prime Minister from 26 April, 2012, the Chief Justice of Pakistan has opened up a whole new constitutional crisis for Pakistan. The status of the budget as well as the recent executive decisions of the cabinet are now under a shadow. The impact of this on the economy and uncertainty it will create will be terrible.

I am not a People’s Party supporter. However, here one must commend the PPP for the statesmanlike manner in which the party has accepted what is otherwise a monumental injustice to a Prime Minister who was unanimously elected as the leader of house in 2008 and for the crime of obeying the Constitution.

It is now important to acknowledge that we are no longer a democracy but a judiciary, where the whim and will of an unelected institution ostensibly carries more power than 180 million people.

Perhaps it is time to dispense with the pretence of parliament, prime minister and president and constitutionally empower the Chief Justice to act as all three. Wait why constitutionally empower him? The Chief Justice should pass a decree abolishing everything other than the supremacy of the Supreme Court.

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