ISLAMABAD - To keep the ball rolling Speaker National Assembly Dr. Fehmida Mirza has finally broken the silence and asked Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani to submit a response regarding his conviction by the apex court in contempt of court case in the Speaker’s office.
Sources in the government informed that the move was aimed at keeping the matter under her thumb as in case of her inaction in the case on expiry of the 30 days time the matter would automatically pass on to the Chief Election Commissioner for further action.
Sources further informed that the matter of Prime Minister’s reply to the Speaker office would not move further, as the PM’s counsel Barrister Ch. Aitzaz Ahsan would going to file an appeal against the conviction of his client in contempt of court case on or before coming Friday the last date for filing the appeal in the case.
Constitutional and legal experts said that in case of acceptance of the appeal, which would also be clubbed with a stay application all the other legal activities going on in this regard would automatically seize to work till the decision of the court on the appeal against the conviction of the Prime Minister.
These legal experts said that the move on the part of Speaker was aimed at just keeping the matter with her as in case she would not take any action on the reference sent to her by the apex court for further legal and Constitutional action on it, it would automatically pass on to the Chief Election Commissioner who would again have at maximum 90 days to decide on the matter of disqualification of the Prime Minister.
The Speaker would deal the reference under Article 63(2) which reads: ‘If any question arises whether a member of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) has become disqualified from being a member, the Speaker or, as the case may be, the Chairman shall, unless he decides that no such question has arisen, refer the question to the Election Commission within 30 days and should he fail to do so within the aforesaid period it shall be deemed to have been referred to the Election Commission’.
But as the appeal against the verdict would likely be filed before the furnishing of the response by the Prime Minister Gilani to the Speaker’s office the exercise would automatically seize till the time the apex court would dispose of the appeal of the Prime Minister.
Political observers said that in case the appeal of the Prime Minister against his conviction would be accepted and stay would also be granted against the disqualification process in motion the government would get breathing space of another couple of months, as Barrister Ch. Aitzaz Ahsan would likely to stretch the case as long as possible.
Sources in the PPP informed that Barrister Ch. Aitzaz Ahsan would likely raise series of law points and point out a number of lacunae in the detailed judgement to build his case.
It is pertinent to mention here that the time limit of 30 days for both Speaker National Assembly to take action on the disqualification reference and Barrister Ch. Aitzaz Ahsan to file an appeal against the verdict would be expiring on Friday (May 25th).