Pak court issues notice to govt on petition against Gilani

Lahore/Islamabad: A Pakistani court has issued a notice to the federal government on two petitions asking it to stop Yousuf Raza Gilani from holding the post of Prime Minister after his conviction while another court has dismissed a similar petition.

The Lahore High Court issued the notice yesterday after hearing the arguments of two petitioners represented by lawyer A K Dogar, who is also the counsel for Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed.

Dogar argued that after the conviction, the premier and his cabinet stood disqualified and there was no need of any further process for their disqualification. He asked Chief Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, who was hearing the matter, not to feel any fear and declare the premier disqualified.

The Chief Justice said the court had no fear and would give a decision according to the Constitution. He then adjourned the case till May 7 and directed the Attorney General to assist the court in the matter.

In a separate development, Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the Islamabad High Court yesterday dismissed a petition seeking the removal of Gilani from his office and the dissolution of his cabinet in the wake of the Supreme Court`s conviction of the premier of contempt on April 26.

The judge observed in his order that the petition was premature as it could not proceed without a detailed judgment from the Supreme Court. "The petition is premature, wait for the detailed verdict," observed Siddiqui.

Petitioner G M Chaudhry had contended that under the provisions of the Constitution, Gilani stood disqualified from being a member of the National Assembly after his conviction.

The apex court convicted Gilani of contempt and gave him a symbolic sentence of less than a minute for refusing to act on orders to revive graft cases in Switzerland against President Asif Ali Zardari. Gilani has refused to resign, saying only the Speaker of the National Assembly could disqualify him.