By Qasim Nauman
ISLAMABAD: (Reuters) – Pakistan’s increasingly assertive Supreme Court on Tuesday declared Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani ineligible for office, plunging the country into fresh political turmoil during a crisis in relations with the United States.
In April, it found Gilani guilty of contempt of court for refusing to reopen corruption cases against the president.
“Since no appeal was filed (against the April 26 conviction) … therefore Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani stands disqualified as a member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (parliament)…,” said Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry in a packed courtroom.
“He has also ceased to be the prime minister of Pakistan … the office of the prime minister stands vacant.”
But Fawad Chaudhry, a senior Gilani aide, said only parliament could dismiss the prime minister.
While the decision is a big blow to the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), it is unlikely to lead to the fall of the unpopular government. ….
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