LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday restrained President Asif Ali Zardari from holding political activities, Geo News reported.
A full bench of the Lahore High Court on 10 Mar 2011 had reserved the judgment on several petitions challenging holding of dual office by President Asif Ali Zardari, after leading counsel for petitioners in the case concluded his arguments. It may be noted that different benches of the high court have been hearing these petitions since 2009.
In its verdict spread over 33 pages, the court said political activities cannot be held in the Presidency. The order said that the president was not supposed to perform political activities and was bound to be impartial, quoting several cases.
Initially, a legal panel of the federation, comprising Talib H Rizvi, S.M. Masood, Saiful Malook and Ramzan Chaudhry, had contested the petitions, however they had boycotted proceedings afterwards, expressing their dissatisfaction after the court had refused to hear the federation's objection petition first.
Later, the incumbent bench headed by Chief Justice Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry had started ex-parte (one sided) proceedings on the petitions. However, the bench had appointed two senior constitutional experts, Abid Hassan Manto and S.M Zafar, as amicus curie (friend of court) to seek independent point of view from the constitution.
On March 10, petitioner's counsel A.K. Dogar in his concluding arguments reiterated that President Zardari’s act of holding political office was in clear violation of article 41 (1) of the constitution. He asserted that the president, being head of the state, could not hold an office of a political party.
Dogar said Asif Ali Zardari was holding the office of Pakistan People’s Party co-chairperson along with the office of President of Pakistan, making the President House a hub of political activities.
He prayed that President Asif Ali Zardari be directed to surrender the office of Pakistan Peoples Party co-chairperson.