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"Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong; they are the ones to attain felicity".
(surah Al-Imran,ayat-104)
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User Name: abdulruff
Full Name: Dr.Abdul Ruff Colachal
User since: 15/Mar/2008
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Regime vs. Judiciary: Pakistan Supreme Court disqualifies PM Gilani

-Col DR. ABDUL RUFF

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The Pakistan Supreme Court has on June 19th barred premier Yousuf Raza  Gilani  from office. Pakistan's top court has disqualified Gilani from holding office, two months after convicting him of contempt of court.The apex court also ruled Gilani had ceased to be the prime minister of Pakistan w.e.f. 26 April, raising speculation about the nature of the verdict and its  impact on the decisions he had made in office since that day till June 19th - the day of judgment.  .

In April, the Supreme Court convicted Gilani of failing to pursue corruption charges against President Asif Ali Zardari. The legal case is part of a bitter feud between Pakistan's civilian government and the judiciary. In April, Gilani was given only a token sentence and spared a jail term. Today's court ruling disqualified him from office and from parliament. "Since no appeal was filed against the 26 April conviction... therefore Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani stands disqualified as a member of the Majlis-e-Shoora [parliament]," Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry told a packed courtroom.He added: "He has also ceased to be the prime minister of Pakistan... the office of the prime minister stands vacant."

The court backdated the disqualification to 26 April, raising questions over decisions Mr Gilani has made in office since then. It is not clear what next steps Mr Gilani may take - or whether his removal means the fall of the government.Senior leaders of the governing Pakistan People's Party (PPP) are in emergency session with Mr Gilani and President Zardari, reports the BBC's Orla Guerin in Islamabad. A government official said President Zardari had also summoned heads of the PPP's coalition partners to the presidency for further talks.

The Supreme Court ordered Gilani's government to write to the Swiss authorities to ask them to reopen the cases against Mr Zardari. But Gilani refused, saying the case had been closed by a Swiss judge "on merit" and the president had constitutional immunity. Gilani has always insisted only parliament can remove him from office. He decided not to appeal against the contempt conviction in April - his lawyer saying he feared a more unfavourable decision from the court if he did so.

The pursuit of the contempt case by Supreme Court judges is widely seen as an attempt at meddling in the country's politics. Many believe the judiciary is being backed by the military.

The judgment would create great political uncertainty following the ruling, and some people will see it as another round in the clash of institutions taking place in Pakistan. During Tuesday's hearing, Attorney General Irfan Qadir accused the court of behaving unlawfully. He said the prime minister was not answerable to the court in regard to his professional duties and that justices had violated an article of the constitution in their ruling.

The charges against President Zardari date back to the 1990s when his late wife Benazir Bhutto was prime minister. They were accused of using Swiss bank accounts to launder bribe money. President Zardari has always insisted the charges against him are politically motivated.

The ruling PPP party, however, has the necessary majority in parliament to elect a successor to Gilani. The foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar could be a possible replacement. Hina Rabbani Khar was born on 19 November 1977 in Multan, Punjab, Pakistan. She graduated with a B.Sc. in Economics from Lahore University of Management Sciences in 1999 and received her M Sc (Hon) in Business Management from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2001. In the 2002 general elections, as a candidate with the Pakistan Muslim League (Q) (PML-Q)—the party of President Pervez Musharraf—Khar was elected to the National Assembly, representing the NA-177 Muzaffargarh-II constituency in Punjab. After the PML-Q denied her a ticket for re-election in 2008, she joined the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and was elected for a second time. The PPP won the majority of the votes and formed an alliance with the Pakistan Muslim League (N). She took office as Minister of State for Foreign Affairs on 11 February 2011, and as full Minister of Foreign Affairs on 20 July, 2011.She was elected to the National Assembly in both 2002 and 2008 and was Minister of State for Finance and Economic Affairs between 2008 and 2011.After Shah Mehmood Qureshi's resignation as Foreign Minister, she became acting Minister of Foreign Affairs on 13 February 2011. She was approved as Foreign Minister on 18 July becoming the youngest and first female Minister of Foreign Affairs. On 13 June 2009, she became the first woman to present the Pakistani budget in the National Assembly.

Shortly after her appointment, Hina Rabbani Khar visited India and held peace talks with her Indian counterpart, Somanahalli M Krishna. Relations between the two countries had been suspended following the 2008 "Mumbai attacks", resuming in February 201.She was bold enough to hold talks with leaders of Kashmiri independence movement before meeting Indian government representatives.

Hina Rabbani Khar is married to Firoze Gulzar, with whom she has two daughters, Annaya and Dina. She is the co-owner of the Polo Lounge restaurant on the Lahore Polo Grounds.

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