President Asif Ali Zardari. — File photo

LAHORE: Again issuing a notice to the principal secretary to President Asif Ali Zardari, the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday adjourned the hearing in the contempt of court petition against President Zardari for not relinquishing the political office of PPP co-chairman, DawnNews reported.

A larger bench of the LHC headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial adjourned the hearing to Sept 14.

Other members of the bench include Justice Nasir Saeed Sheikh, Justice Sheikh Najamul Hasan, Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah.

Wasim Sajjad represented the federation during the hearing whereas no one appeared on the president's behalf.

During the hearing, the deputy attorney general informed the court that Attorney General Irfan Qadir could not appear for the hearing due to his engagements at the Supreme Court's Quetta registry today.

The deputy attorney general requested the bench to adjourn the hearing.

Addressing the bench, the counsel for petitioner Advocate Muhammad Azhar Siddique said that the president had received the notice through his principal secretary, adding that, the fact that no one appeared on the president's behalf was also tantamount to contempt of court.

The bench subsequently said that if the president had any reservations or objections pertaining to the LHC's verdict in the dual office case, he could register those before the bench through a counsel or a representative.

Sajjad said the government respected the judiciary, adding that, the question that needed addressing was that whether or not contempt of court had been committed.

The bench stated that the courts respected the president's office and his position, however, rule of law was of utmost importance.

Adjourning the hearing to Sept 14, the bench issued summons for Attorney General Irfan Qadir for the upcoming hearing.

Speaking to media representatives after the hearing, Sajjad said the federal government would file a formal request to become a party in the case.

Advocate Muhammad Azhar Siddique, chairman of the Judicial Activism Panel, had filed the petition against the president for continuing to hold a political office and indulge in political activities in violation of an order of an LHC full bench.

Advocate Siddique had contended that the LHC in its May 12, 2011 judgment on dual-office held by the president had ruled that he should not use the highest office for political purposes.

He had argued that the president had committed contempt of court by not disassociating himself from his political office.

The court had said that it expected the president to relinquish political activities by Sept 5 in accordance with an order issued a larger bench of the LHC on May 12, 2011.

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