x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Pakistan PM Gilani disqualified by Supreme Court

Pakistan's top court has disqualified the prime minister from office, in a move likely to throw the country into fresh turmoil two months after the premier was convicted of contempt.

ISLAMABAD // Pakistan's top court has disqualified Yusuf Raza Gilani, the Pakistan prime minister, in a move likely to throw the country into fresh turmoil two months after the premier was convicted of contempt.

The Supreme Court on April 26 convicted Mr Gilani for refusing to ask Swiss authorities to reopen corruption cases against Asif Ali Zardari, the president, in a highly politicised case.

Under the constitution, anyone convicted of defaming or ridiculing the judiciary is barred from being a member of parliament.

The matter fell first to the speaker of parliament, a member of the main ruling Pakistan People's Party, who on May 24 announced that there was "no question of disqualification".

Mr Gilani subsequently decided not to appeal his conviction in a move interpreted as an effort not to antagonise the court into disqualifying him.

But today, the Supreme Court did so anyway.

"Yusuf Raza Gilani is disqualified from membership of parliament from April 26, the date of his conviction. He has also ceased to be the prime minister of Pakistan," said chief justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, reading the order.

"The Election Commission shall issue a notice of disqualification and the president is required to take necessary steps to ensure continuation of democratic process," he said.