Millennium Post

Zardari’s dual office case: LHC adjourns matter till 10 October

A Pakistani court hearing the contempt case against Asif Ali Zardari for holding the dual offices of the President and co-Chairman of the ruling PPP adjourned on Thursday the matter till 10 October after the government’s lawyer expressed his inability to appear before it.

A four-judge bench of the Lahore High Court headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial asked the petitioner to present his arguments about Article 248 (2) of the Constitution, which gives the President immunity from criminal proceedings, at the next hearing.

It adjourned the matter till 10 October after the counsel for the federal government, Wasim Sajjad, informed the bench that he could not come to Lahore as he was to appear in the Islamabad High Court for another case.

The Lahore High Court had earlier issued a notice to Zardari, asking him to tell the court as to why he had not followed its suggestion to relinquish the political office of co-chairman of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party.

Petitioner Azhar Siddique’s counsel A K Dogar, who also represents Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Saeed, argued that the federal government could not defend the case as Zardari would have to appoint his own lawyer for the purpose.

‘The federal government cannot become a respondent in the case. It is a contempt of court case and under the law, the federal government cannot defend the President. The President should appoint a lawyer to plead his case in the High Court,’ he said.

According to Siddique, the use of presidency for ‘partisan political activities’ by Zardari was not only illegal but amounted to contempt of the court’s order issued on 12 May last year.

During a previous hearing, Attorney General Irfan Qadir had argued that the petition challenging the holding of two offices by Zardari was ‘politically motivated’ and an attempt to drag the court into politics.

He had asked the court to dismiss the petition.
M Zulqernain

M Zulqernain

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