Yousuf Raza Gilani (photo), a former speaker and aide to assassinated politician Benazir Bhutto, has been elected by the Pakistan’s parliament as the new country’s prime minister.
After his election, Mr Gilani, who has himself been jailed under Pervez Musharraf’s leadership, repeated his pledge to demand the release of the judges who have been sacked and detained by the president. On Monday Gilani told the parliament : “I will demand the immediate release of all the arrested judges”.
Shortly after that, the police started removing the barricades outside the home of the supreme court chief justice, Ifikhar Chaudhry, who was dismissed by Musharraf last November.
Musharraf has been accused by the leaders of the main parties in parliament of dismissing around 60 senior judges. Since that many of them have been under house arrest as the president feared that they would overturn his re-election.
President Musharraf said Mr Chaudhry was sacked over allegations of impropriety and misconduct. The judges suspension had sparked the country’s biggest political crisis since 1999, when Pervez Musharraf seized power in a bloodless.
If the new government frees the judges, they could still declare Musharraf’s re-election illegal and remove him from the presidency. Yousuf Raza Gilani also said that he will ask parliament to pass a resolution, seeking the UN inquiry into the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.
The new prime minister won 264 votes in the 342-seat lower house of parliament, while Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, a senior leader of the pro-Musharraf Pakistan Muslim League (PML-Q) party, secured 42 votes in the poll on Monday evening.
Yousuf Raza Gilani will be sworn in on Tuesday by Pervez Musharraf, who has promised full support to the incoming government. “Which ever new government is formed, it will enjoy my full support”, said president Musharraf while addressing the Pakistan Day military parade in Islamabad on Sunday.