ISLAMABAD: Some of the reports being published on the speaker’s decision on PM’s disqualification issue are deliberately missing several keys point including the procedural difference between conviction and disqualification.
The court and the speaker have acknowledged the distinction between the jurisdictions of the two constitutional offices. The Supreme Court, in its judgment, clearly hinted that the decision to convict PM Gilani can have other implications, but it opted not to examine those implications.
No experienced journalist can ignore the difference in roles of different constitutional offices. The role of the court was to decide the question of conviction while the role of the speaker was to decide the question of disqualification.
The court settled the matter of conviction, while the speaker settled the question of disqualification or otherwise. The speaker could not deliberate on judgment regarding conviction which is the prerogative of the court. She instead focused on the question of disqualification.
The matters relating to conviction are being highlighted in some reports and it is being alleged that the speaker has ignored these matters. A very clear difference between the question of conviction and disqualification is, however, being deliberately ignored. The court judgment paragraphs supporting conviction are being quoted but the fact that the court restrained itself from committing anything on the question of disqualification is being conveniently ignored.
Moreover, the relevant clauses of the constitution which empower the speaker to decide the matters regarding disqualification of the members of the National Assembly are also being deliberately ignored. The clauses which attach finality to the decision of the speaker are also not being mentioned.
It is also being ignored in such reports that wherever the court wanted to disqualify various members, it clearly stated so in its decisions and the speaker, the parliament and the executive implemented those verdicts.
Various precedents on disqualification including the one about Javed Hashmi, who was awarded 19 years punishment, while the PM was awarded only a few seconds punishment, are also being ignored. Another important point being ignored in such reports is that no speaker in our recent history has ever disqualified a member on such grounds. This parliamentary norm and tradition of our parliament to respect the mandate of the people ought to be mentioned in any report on the speaker’s ruling.