ISLAMABAD – Federal Law Minister Farooq H Naek has maintained that the letter written by the Supreme Court Assistant Registrar to the National Assembly Speaker pertaining to verdict against the prime minister is illegal.

He alleged the letter written by Assistant Registrar Nasir Iqbal to the National Assembly Speaker, the Secretary Cabinet Division and the Chief Election Commissioner was misuse of his power and the Supreme Court must hold an inquiry into it. The Supreme Court official’s letter called for ‘further necessary action’, he added.

He said it was the prerogative of the Speaker of National Assembly and the Senate Chairman to send references to the Election Commission regarding disqualification of parliamentarians.

Addressing a news conference along with Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira and Sardar Umar Gorgaij in Islamabad on Saturday, the Law Minister said the apex court had neither disqualified the Prime Minister nor given any directions to the Speaker or the Election Commission in this regard.

Naek mentioned the SC Assistant Registrar was not authorised to issue directions to the assembly speaker. He also said Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani was still the prime minister and member of the National Assembly, and the cabinet was functioning constitutionally.

Naek said if the Supreme Court ordered the disqualification of the prime minister, the government would comply.

The law minister said the prime minister could not be disqualified under Article 63(1)(g).

The assistant registrar was ‘dictating terms for compliance’ and ‘arrogating powers which he does not have’, Naek said. He asked the Supreme Court to conduct an inquiry against the assistant registrar for ‘ridiculing Parliament’ and to take action against him.

“A motion for breach of privilege will be moved in the National Assembly against this official,” he said. Besides, Naek pointed out, the Premier had 30 days to appeal his conviction. “What is the rush? The Prime Minister has not exhausted all the avenues that are available to him.”

The law minister said an appeal in the contempt case would be filed once the Supreme Court released its detailed verdict. “The trial ends only when the appeal is decided,” he said.

Referring to Speaker Fehmida Mirza’s role in the matter, Naek said rulings issued by superior courts made it clear that she could not act as a mere ‘post office’ to convey the matter of the Premier’s possible disqualification to the Election Commission.

“She has to exercise her mind according to the orders of the superior courts. If the Speaker decides there is no case (against Gilani), then the matter will not go to the Election Commission,” Naek said.

Naek and Kaira termed the vicious propaganda of Nawaz Sharif as uncalled for and an attempt to influence the Supreme Court.

Naek came down hard on Nawaz Sharif and said his statement against Prime Minister was tantamount to influencing the court as it has yet to give detailed judgment in the case. He further charged that Nawaz was also trying to divert the attention of the public as well as the court from Mehran Bank scandal and hoped the court would not take any influence from the statement of Nawaz Sharif.