Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said his conviction of contempt by the Supreme Court does not disqualify him from the office of premier as he had not committed any criminal offence by not approaching Swiss courts to revive graft charges against President Asif Ali Zardari.
“The charges against me are not of a criminal nature. In a civil charge,there cannot be disqualification,” he said during an interaction with a group of reporters at the Prime Minister’s House this evening.
Gilani said he had followed the Constitution,which grants immunity to the President,and he was not guilty of moral turpitude.
He said the constitutional clause regarding presidential immunity had never been debated or interpreted in the country’s 64-year history.
The apex court convicted Gilani and gave him a symbolic sentence of less than a minute on April 26 for refusing to act on orders to reopen the graft cases against Zardari.
Gilani has rejected demands from the opposition to resign following his conviction,saying only the Speaker of the National Assembly could decide on his disqualification.
Gilani said the main opposition PML-N had not waited for the court’s detailed judgment before it began calling for his resignation.
“I do not need their (PML-N’s) recognition. We do not need alternative options but we will follow the Constitution and rule of law,” he said.
Referring to the adoption of a resolution in the National Assembly earlier in the day on the creation of a new province in the southern part of Punjab,he described it as a step forward and in line with the 40-year-old desire of the people of the region.
A national message by the people of southern Punjab has been sent across,” he said.
The move was being backed by the Awami National Party,Mutahidda Qaumi Movement,Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam and Balochistan National Party,he said.
Asked about the PML-N’s decision not to support the creation of the new Janoobi Punjab province and its move to introduce a resolution for creating other provinces,Gilani said the party had “lost the game” and is trying to divert the attention from real issues.