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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Go Gilani Go!

A register of reports and views from the Pakistan press

Written by Ruchika Talwar |
May 5, 2012 12:26:16 am


Last week saw the Supreme Court convict Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani for contempt of court for not writing to Switzerland to open graft cases against President Asif Zardari there. Based on a short order,Gilani was awarded a symbolic punishment of court custody for 30 seconds. Gilani later spoke to the media and said that he will not demit office and that the ball was now in the National Assembly speaker’s court to assess whether he remains qualified to retain office. He also challenged the opposition (PML-N) to table a no-confidence motion against him. A week later,Speaker Fehmida Mirza insisted that under no circumstances will immediate action be taken against Gilani.

The Express Tribune quoted Mirza on May 4: “‘I have to consult and discuss the matter. The detailed order (of the Supreme Court) is also expected… I have to read the letter properly. Everything will be done legally and according to the rules.’ The speaker added that everyone was in a hurry and expected her to pass a decision immediately,which was not possible.” Daily Times added on May 4 that Mirza advised the protesting members of the PML-N to “not revive unethical traditions in Parliament.”

Earlier this week,there were protests inside Parliament led by PML-N legislators who demanded Gilani’s resignation. The News reported on May 3: “As the session started with the Question Hour,PML-N legislators started beating desks and chanting slogans of ‘Go Gilani go’,‘Honour the SC decision’,‘corrupt government not accepted’”. It was reported that Gilani was absent throughout the proceedings. Dawn reported on May 4 that he “made his intentions clear that he would neither acquiesce to the opposition protests nor to the short order of the Supreme Court and would continue working as lawful chief executive of the country.”

The Senate (Pakistan’s Upper House) and the National Assembly passed separate resolutions on Thursday in Gilani’s support. Daily Times carried the text of both resolutions on May 4,which agreed that each House had complete confidence in Gilani as the “constitutionally and democratically elected prime minister and unanimously elected chief executive of Pakistan.” Gilani thanked Zardari and PPP’s allies for their support. The PML-N,however,staged a sit-in inside the house.


AS SOON as Gilani and his government secured enough parliamentary support to remain in business,the treasury benches lost no time in proposing and winning a bid to carve out a new province out of Punjab as promised. The demand for a province for the Seraiki-speaking residents of southern Punjab is longstanding. The PPP promised to split Punjab along linguistic lines. Other than Sindh,south Punjab is their only bastion. On May 4,the resolution was passed. In reaction,the PML-N raised a new demand. Pakistan Today reported on May 5: “After PPP and its coalition partners passed a resolution for the formation of a south Punjab province,PML-N submitted a resolution for the formation of four new provinces… Bahawalpur,FATA,South Punjab and Hazara.”

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