Zardari dual office case – Manto says rules don’t apply to president

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LAHORE – Amicus Curie Abid Hassan Manto informed a Lahore High Court (LHC) full bench on Thursday that rules applying to a government servant do not apply to the president and the constitution does not bar the head of state from being a member of a political party. He told the bench that the president, being a symbol of the federation, should not indulge in political activities.
After hearing arguments, the full bench headed by LHC Chief Justice (CJ) Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry and including Justice Iftikhar Hussain Chaudhry, Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Ijazul Ahsan adjourned the case’s hearing until January 24. The bench is hearing petitions filed by the Pakistan Lawyers Forum (PLF), Engineer Ghulam Jillani and Asif Mehmood Khan seeking President Zardari’s disqualification for indulging in political activities in his capacity 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 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 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 head of state, as he is not honest. The petitioner requested the court to disqualify Zardari from holding both offices.