Pakistani court disqualifies PM


Pakistan's supreme court today declared prime minister Yusuf Raza Gilani ineligible for office, plunging the country into another political crisis.

In April, the supreme court found Mr Gilani guilty of contempt of court for refusing to reopen corruption cases against the president.

Mr Gilani's lawyer, Fawad Chaudhry, said only parliament could dismiss the prime minister.

"Since no appeal was filed (against the April 26th conviction) ... therefore Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani stands disqualifed as a member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (parliament)...," said chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry in a packed courtroom.

"He has also ceased to be the prime minister of Pakistan ... the office of the prime minister stands vacant."

Mr Gilani was the first serving prime minister in Pakistan's history to be convicted by a court.