Pakistan's top court has disqualified the prime minister from holding office following a contempt conviction two months ago. There has been no response to the ruling from the premier or his government.
Pakistan's Supreme Court on Tuesday disqualified Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani from holding office.
"Yousuf Raza Gilani is disqualified from membership of parliament from April 26, the date of his conviction. He has also ceased to be the prime minister of Pakistan," Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry said.
"The Election Commission shall issue a notice of disqualification and the president is required to take necessary steps to ensure continuation of democratic process," the judge added.
There was no immediate response from the government, but the ruling appeared to mean that Gilani would have to leave office one way or another, something that could be expected to trigger political turmoil in the country.
However, Gilani's lawyer, Fawad Chaudhry disputed the court's assertion, saying that the prime minister could only be dismissed by parliament.
The ruling comes almost two months after the Supreme Court convicted the prime minister of contempt for refusing to ask Swiss authorities to reopen a corruption case against Pakistan's president, Asif Ali Zardari.
After the speaker of the parliament stated last month that there would be "no question of disqualification," Gilani decided not to appeal his conviction.
pfd/ncy (AFP, Reuters, dpa)