LHC adjourns hearing of Zardari dual office petition

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LAHORE – A Lahore High Court (LHC) full bench on Wednesday heard arguments of amicus curie in identical petitions challenging dual office of President Asif Ali Zardari and adjourned its hearing until today (Thursday). Abid Hassan Manto, the amicus curie, in his arguments submitted that there is no constitutional clause that might bar the president from being member of a political party. “But, president being symbol of the federation should not let the Presidency be used for political activities of any political party” Manto informed the court.
He said that the president should remain neutral and apolitical to meet constitutional requirements and promote national solidarity. Manto would continue his arguments today.
The court had appointed amicus curie, friends of the court, to continue proceedings on the petition after Zardari’s counsels and law officers of the federal government boycotted the proceedings.
The bench has already observed that it would announce its verdict, as soon as arguments of the amicus curie are concluded. The bench headed by LHC CJ Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry also includes Justice Iftikhar Hussain Chaudhry, Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Ijazul Ahsan. The petition was filed by the Pakistan Lawyers Forum challenging political activities of President Zardari while serving as the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) co-chairman.
The petitioner alleged that being that head of state, Zardari should not indulge in politics by holding the co-chairmanship of the PPP. He said that on various occasions, the president has openly acted as the PPP co-chairman forgetting his constitutional responsibilities as the head of state.
The petitioner said that the president was notorious for corruption and labeled as “Mr 10 percent” in the international and national print and electronic media. He submitted that according to articles 62 and 63 of the constitution, Zardari was not qualified to be the head of state, as he is not honest. The petitioner requested the court to disqualify Zardari from holding both offices.