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New petitions against ruling

Speaker National Assembly Dr Fehmida Mirza. – File Photo

ISLAMABAD, May 29: Another two petitions — one by PML-N lawmaker Syed Zafar Ali Shah and the other by a private citizen — were filed in the Supreme Court on Tuesday against the May 24 ruling of National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza that saved Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani from being disqualified after his conviction by the apex court in the contempt case.

In his petition, Senator Zafar Shah argued that the apex court should restrain the prime minister and his cabinet from presenting the federal budget 2012-13.  The common prayer in the petitions is that the court should declare the speaker’s ruling illegal and unconstitutional.

It may be mentioned that on a request by the second petitioner, Syed Mehmood Akhtar Naqvi, the Supreme Court had suspended PPP lawmaker Farahnaz Ispahani’s parliamentary membership on May 25.

On Monday, PML-N stalwart Khwaja Mohammad Asif and PTI chairman Imran Khan had filed similar petitions before the Supreme Court.

However, both the new petitions also focus more on the prime minister than the speaker, though Senator Zafar Shah has requested the court to initiate contempt proceedings against the speaker for disobeying and ridiculing the Supreme Court verdict by issuing the ruling in favour of the prime minister.

Mr Shah, who filed the petition in his personal capacity and will himself argue it whenever it is taken up by the court, pleaded that the apex court should direct President Asif Ali Zardari to summon a special session of the National Assembly to elect a new prime minister under Article 91(4) of the Constitution.

He named the federal government through the establishment secretary, law ministry, Speaker Fehmida Mirza, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, cabinet secretary and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan as respondents.

Prime Minister Gilani’s endeavour to continue to cling to power along with his cabinet, the petitioner said, made it appear as if the country was being governed through a civil martial law. He accused the prime minister of deliberately trying to destroy the parliamentary system by undermining the supremacy of parliament.

Mr Shah said the gravity of the situation could be gauged from the fact that the chief minister of the biggest province of Punjab had refused to attend a meeting of the National Economic Council last week because it was headed allegedly by an unconstitutional prime minister.

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