NA passes bill to validate Gilani’s post-conviction actions
ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly on Monday passed a bill with simple majority, which will validate actions taken by former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani between his conviction on April 26 and sacking on June 19 by the Supreme Court in the contempt of court case.
Gilani was convicted in the NRO implementation case and handed down a symbolic punishment — till the rising of the court. Because the court’s short order was not clear whether the prime minister had lost office, Gilani acted as prime minister till June 19.
Then a three member-bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry sacked the then premier on the basis of the April 26 short order which wasn’t challenged by the government.
Instead of filing a review petition against the conviction, the government sought National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza’s ruling in favour of Gilani which she gave on May 24. She ruled that following the prime minister’s conviction there was no need to send a reference to the Election Commission for his disqualification.
The chief justice then struck down the speaker’s ruling and asked the president to take necessary action to fill the position of the prime minister.
Soon after Gilani’s removal, questions were raised over the legal status of actions taken by him as prime minister between April 26 and June 19.
On June 24, President Asif Ali Zardari issued ‘Validation Ordinance, 2012, to protect all acts of Yousuf Raza Gilani as prime minister between April 26 and June 19 and restrained the courts, including the Supreme Court, from challenging them.
On July 9, the ordinance was presented before the National Assembly in the form of a bill and the standing committee on law and justice unanimously approved it on Sept 25.
Under the 18th Amendment, the president cannot re-promulgate an ordinance that has to be presented before either house of parliament within 120 days. Former federal minister for law and justice Khalid Ranjha said it was necessary for the certainty of the law. Moreover, he said, the court in its detailed order had asked the government to take necessary action to provide legal cover to the former prime minister’s actions taken during the intervening period.