ISLAMABAD: The government has pre-empted a judicial verdict through a resolution of the National Assembly adopted in the dying moments of the budget session on Thursday afternoon in the Parliament House.
The verdict could have an adverse impact on the ruling of the speaker of the National Assembly about a reference in which the legal status of the prime minister was challenged and the speaker discarded the challenge outright. The resolution has made it imperative on all institutions to respect the ruling of the speaker under the relevant clauses of the Constitution wherein she declined to refer to the chief election commissioner the case pertaining to the disqualification of Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani after the judgment in the contempt case.
The resolution was opposed by senior jurist and former law and parliamentary affairs minister belonging to the major opposition Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) Zahid Hamid and was moved by federal law minister Farook H Naek. The mover was shielded by half a dozen legislators hailing from the ruling alliance when he hurriedly read out the resolution. The opposition PML-N members were busy in shouting and protest in the house. They could not understand the impact of the resolution. They were not in their full strength as leader of the opposition Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan and some top leaders of the PML-N were also missing on the occasion. The opposition’s voice that was raised by Zahid Hamid was immediately rejected by the brutal majority of the government members who appeared charged. The resolution has authenticated the ruling of Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza who issued it last month. Interestingly the ruling came on the reference of an outsider who is not member of any Parliamentary house and it was promulgated outside the house during the days when the house was not in session even. The legal experts are of the opinion that the ruling duly given by the speaker cannot be challenged on any forum and the resolution in question has provided that legal cover to the ruling.
The draft of the resolution has been so skillfully choreographed by the constitutional experts of the government that it has removed all the lacunas attached with the ruling and its pronouncement. The resolution envisages that the ‘The Speaker represents the House, the dignity of the House and the freedom of the House and because the House represents the nation, in a particular way, the Speaker becomes the symbol of the Nation’s freedom and liberty. The principal duty of the Speaker of the House is to regulate the proceedings of the House and to pass appropriate Rulings in this regard.’
The resolution concluded by declaring that ‘The House further resolves that the afore-said Ruling having been given by the Speaker of the House is a part of the proceedings of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) and, therefore, cannot be questioned.’
While discussing the ruling the resolution says that ‘The House thus hereby resolves to endorse and reaffirm the Ruling of the Speaker of the National Assembly dated 4tth May 012, in the matter of Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, Prime Minister of Pakistan under Article 3 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan 973, which upholds the Constitution and respects the mandate of the Electorate and is within the ambit and scope of the functions and powers conferred upon the Speaker by Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan 973.’
The legal observers are of the view that the resolution would be exploited by the legal experts of the government as a shield against any argument challenging its legal capacity. It is understood that eminent constitutional expert Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan who is legal brain of the incumbent administration, had also been consulted about the resolution.