Islamabad: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has said the National Assembly Speaker`s refusal to send a reference against him to the Election Commission is a "victory for democracy".
"Today, for the first time in the history of Pakistan, democracy has won and the speaker ruled in my favour," The Express Tribune quoted Gilani, as saying.
Dr Fehmida Mirza dismissed bids to disqualify Gilani following his conviction by the Supreme Court in a contempt case last month, two days before the possible expiry of a 30-day deadline to decide on the fate of Gilani.
"No question of disqualification of Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani from being a member arises under clause (2) of Article 63 of the Constitution," said Dr Mirza, who is also a member of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party.
She refused to send a reference against the Premier to the Election Commission, and dismissed a court order and a subsequent petition that sought his disqualification.
"I am of the view that the charges against Yousuf Raza Gilani are not relatable to the grounds mentioned in paragraph (g) or (h) of clause (1) of Article 63," the ruling stated.
The decision has triggered a fresh constitutional and legal debate in the country, whereby the ruling PPP is set to stand firm in its stance that Parliament is the supreme institution and this ruling cannot be challenged at any other forum.
On April 26, a seven-member bench of the Supreme Court convicted Gilani on contempt of court charges over his refusal to write a letter to the Swiss authorities asking them to open graft charges against President Asif Ali Zardari.