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ISLAMABAD, June 1: The Supreme Court will formally commence on Wednesday hearing on a number of identical petitions challenging the May 24 ruling of National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza which had saved Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani from being disqualified after his conviction in the contempt case.

According to a case schedule issued by the SC for the next week, a three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain will take up the petitions filed by PTI chief Imran Khan, PML-N leaders Khawaja Muhammad Asif and Senator Zafar Ali Shah, Advocate Mohammad Azhar Siddiqui and Syed Mehmood Akhtar Naqvi, a citizen.

The petitioners requested the Supreme Court to declare the speaker’s ruling unconstitutional and illegal.

In his petition, Khawaja Asif said Prime Minister Gilani was a convicted and disqualified member who continued to decide the fate and future of the people. “His rule is, therefore, disgraceful and an offence to the rights of the people to life, dignity, honour and pride. When a disqualified member of the house continues to act as prime minister, he is subverting the Constitution and is culpable under Article 6 — treason,” he said.

“We want to make the speaker irrelevant. We do not believe that there is any more room for any further interpretation of her ruling.”

Imran Khan argued that the speaker had misused her power and role. “She is bound to remain within the confines of the powers vested in her office by the Constitution and cannot transgress such powers or authority,” he said.

As a member of the legislature/a coordinate branch, the speaker had no constitutional authority to sit in appeal over the decision of the apex court, he said, adding that the ruling was passed on extraneous considerations and by not taking into account circumstances relevant to the question of the prime minister’s disqualification.— Nasir Iqbal