ISLAMABAD: The newly-independent Election Commission of Pakistan on Friday formally requested the Supreme Court for the provision of the detailed judgment in Gilani’s conviction case so that the commission could determine what it needs to do in the light of the apex court’s order and as per its constitutional mandate.
Acting Chief Election Commissioner of Pakistan Justice Mian Shakirullah Jan told The News that the ECP, which met here on Friday to discuss the SC’s short order in Prime Minister’s conviction case, has also deliberated on the issue of the role of the Speaker National Assembly and the ECP as per the constitution and law.
When asked if there arises a conflict between the judgment of the apex court and the position taken by the Speaker NA, Justice Shakirullah Jan said that the ECP would decide the matter as per law and constitution.
Justice Jan, who is also the Puisne judge of the Supreme Court, did not offer his comment when asked if the Speaker NA could sit as a judge on the judgment of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. “The Election Commission would comment on this only when such a situation arises,” he said.
The CEC said that the ECP has received the short order of the Supreme Court, which on Thursday convicted Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani. He said that a meeting of the ECP was convened on Friday to discuss the short order. Justice Jan said that the deliberations of the ECP on the subject would continue on Monday to reach to some conclusion on the matter.
Following the decision of the ECP, Justice Jan said that a letter on behalf of the ECP has been sent to the SC on Friday for the provision of the detailed judgment. “In the light of the said judgment, we want to determine our role,” the Acting CEC said.
To a question, he said the short order as received by the ECP indicates the application of Article 63(1)(g) for which the Commission has a role under the law and the constitution. Justice Jan explained that the detailed judgment was required to clearly determine what the Commission needs to do.
Justice Jan said the short order does not contain any definite direction for the ECP with regard to the Article 63(1)(g) which envisages five-year disqualification for anyone convicted for offences reflected in the same article.
The Article 63(1)(g) reads: “he has been convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction for propagating any opinion, or acting in any manner, prejudicial to the ideology of Pakistan, or the sovereignty, integrity or security of Pakistan, or morality, or the maintenance of public order, or the integrity or independence of the judiciary of Pakistan, or which defames or brings into ridicule the judiciary or the Armed Forces of Pakistan, unless a period of five years has elapsed since his release;”
The CEC said that Article 63(2) and Article 63(3) reflect on the role of the ECP as well as the Speaker NA regarding the disqualification of any member of the parliament.
Article 63(2) and (3) reads as: “If any question arises whether a member of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) has become disqualified from being a member, the Speaker or, as the case may be, the Chairman shall, unless he decides that no such question has arisen, refer the question to the Election Commission within thirty days and should he fail to do so within the aforesaid period it shall be deemed to have been referred to the Election Comission. (3) The Election Commission shall decide the question within ninety days from its receipt or deemed to have been received and if it is of the opinion that the member has become disqualified, he shall cease to be a member and his seat shall become vacant.”