LAHORE - Jurists are of the view that the conviction against Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani continues to stand even if National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza has ruled in favour of not disqualifying him, while the government has also not filed appeal against the guilty verdict.

Senior constitutional experts say the decision of Prime Minister Gilani not to file an appeal in the contempt case is purely a ‘political’ one. Some say the appeal option was not availed fearing it could make the situation worse.

Without undermining the constitutional authority of the speaker to rule on the matter in hand, former Supreme Court judge Fakhruddin G Ebrahim maintains that by not filing the appeal within the specific time, the prime minister has, as a matter of fact, accepted the conviction although it is otherwise whether it was right or wrong.

SM Zafar said the premier’s decision appears to be a political gesture, apprehending that an appeal could make things worse for him and he did not want to run the risk.

He said although Gilani had no dearth of sincere people yet no one advised him that he should clear his name as the court has convicted him for ridiculing the judiciary.

“Does it mean he want to live with the conviction?” Zafar posed a query.

The former law minister further said the government aides were of the opinion that the advantage gained by a favourable ruling of the speaker should not be risked by going to the Supreme Court, given the fact that the appeal could remove what the government had described as ambiguity in the judgment.

He said if the apex court had granted protection to the PM it has to come through a decision of the Parliament, but the instant was purely of the speaker and not a parliament.

“In the Article 69, it is clearly stated that parliamentary actions are protected and should not be criticised.”

Another ex-minister fro law, Dr Khalid Ranjha, says not filing appeal is a political decision which does not undermine the prime minister membership in the assembly after the speaker’s favourable ruling.

He said many parliamentarians were convicted in that way but still they were holding their membership. Ranjha believes that the conviction is effective only when it undermines the office, but it didn’t in the instant case; therefore, it will not be deemed to that conviction which deprives one of his offices.

Barrister Salman Akram Raja also termed it political move and said several petitions had been filed against the ruling of the speaker and the instant case at the level of superior courts, adding that it was for the relevant court to take up or avoid hearing of the present ruling.