Last month, a court panel convicted Yousuf Raza Gilani on contempt charges
Assembly Speaker Fahmida Mirza had 30 days to decide on disqualification proceedings
Mirza says Gilani's actions don't justify disqualification
The speaker of Pakistan’s National Assembly decided Thursday not to pursue disqualification proceedings against Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, according to a copy of the speaker’s decision reviewed by CNN and Pakistan’s minister of information.
Last month, a seven-member bench of the Supreme Court convicted Gilani on contempt charges for refusing to call on Swiss authorities to reopen old corruption charges against Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari.
According to Pakistan’s constitution, Speaker Fahmida Mirza had 30 days from the day of the verdict to ask the Election Commission to pursue disqualification proceedings if she viewed Gilani’s conviction as cause for dismissal.
In her five-page decision released Thursday, Mirza said she did not believe the prime minister’s refusal to follow the Supreme Court’s order justified disqualification.
“The speaker has an autonomous office, and in her view she came to the conclusion that this matter does not rise to the level of disqualification,” Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said.
Gilani’s critics and political opponents said the conviction was a ground for his removal, but Thursday’s decision by the speaker seems to make it more likely that Gilani will finish out the final year of his five-year term.