The bench has also rejected the proposal by the federal government to find out any other middle way to resolve the contempt case against the president.
The full bench, headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, resumed hearing on the contempt petition seeking proceedings against President Zardari for not leaving the political office of PPP’s co-chairman in view of the judgment issued in 2011.
Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Nasir Saeed Sheikh, Justice Sheikh Najmul Hassan and Justice Ijazul Ahsan are other members of the full bench.
When the proceedings started on Friday, the chief justice asked Attorney General Irfan Qadir whether he wanted the bench to hear his submissions or focus on resolving the issue.
The AGP replied that the matter should be resolved and sought permission to go as he had little time to leave for the airport. He added he had great regard for the court and should be considered as a friend of the court. He said it was the best thing to adopt a middle path for majesty of law.
The bench accepted the request of the AGP to go and said the court would seek his assistance, if necessary.
Advancing arguments, Advocate Wasim Sajjad said he had submitted throughout the case proceedings that no contempt was made and requested the bench to correct its last order.
The chief justice observed that the court would look into the matter and asked the counsel to proceed further and focus on the petitioner’s application regarding the latest political activities of the president based on newspaper clippings.
Wasim contended that it was impossible to contradict all baseless news reports and mentioned that the media misquoted his statement last time.
He said media was publishing baseless reports, adding nobody had any right to interfere in the president’s personal life. As the general elections were coming close, more political rallies would take place and hence such allegations would keep coming up every now and then, Wasim said, praying to the apex court to stay away from the political environment.
He said he had already submitted that no political meetings would be held in presidency and the president did not have any political office. However, the chief justice pointed out it was mentioned in paragraph 39 of the dual office case verdict that president should be impartial and remain aloof from politics.
Quoting the Tahirul Qadri case, he contended that the petitioner was not a bona fide party in the contempt case against the president.
“It was a very fragile point that Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) were different parties. Will the president go in public arena?” head of the bench questioned the counsel for the federation.
The bench directed Wasim Sajjad to take instructions from the president whether he was willing to refrain from indulging in political activities in public arena, observing the maintainability of the petition would be decided after the reply. The bench will resume the case on March 8.