LAHORE – The LHC Wednesday gave another chance to President Zardari to obey within 68 days a court order requiring him to stop holding political activities at the presidency and relinquish the post of PPP co-chairman.
A three-member full bench headed by Lahore High Court (LHC) Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial put off until Sep 5 the case regarding implementation of a May 12, 2011 order of a four-judge LHC full bench.
That bench had ruled that president could not continue as co-chairman of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). It asked President Zardari to either step down as president, or resign as the PPP co-chairman and stop using the presidency for politicking.
“If the order will not be complied with in letter and spirit, the court will see what action could be taken,” the three-judge bench observed Wednesday. Justice Bandial also observed that LHC is a constitutional court and a decision has to be taken about the head of the state; therefore, the court would fix a time for compliance of the court order.
“The full court had on May 12 hoped that the president would refrain from holding political activities at the President House; but this certainly didn’t mean that the court order could be flouted,” the LHC CJ observed.
The three-member bench also expressed its displeasure over the absence of the federal government’s law officer and said it was highly inappropriate that “he doesn’t come”. Additional Attorney General Abdul Hai Gilani told the court that he hadn’t received any notice therefore the court should adjourn the hearing.
Gilani also objected when the court asked the petitioner lawyer AK Dogar and Azhar Siddique for arguments on admissibility of the contempt petitions against President Zardai for not giving up his political activities at the presidency. He said that court could not continue the proceedings without serving the notice. However, the court dismissed the objection.
The bench completed the proceedings on the contempt petitions seeking action against Mr Zardari for disregarding court orders. The petitioners had contended that the president’s post under the constitution was non-partisan and non-political, but Mr Zardari was neither non-partisan nor he was fulfilling the constitutional requirement; therefore, he could be prosecuted for contempt of court.