President Asif Ali Zardari. — Photo by Reuters/File

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday heard the contempt of court petition against President Asif Ali 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 heard the case.

During the hearing, Advocate Wasim Sajjad, representing the government, said that petitions were being filed against the head of state as if he was an ordinary man.

Upon which, the bench said that if the president would not follow the court's orders, then what would the average citizen do.

Sajjad moreover requested the court for more time, adding that, he was not employing delaying tactics.

In his remarks, Justice Bandial said that the head of state was not an ordinary citizen. Whereas, the bench said the matter involved the issue of contempt of court and that it would rule over it on the basis of merit.

Also during the hearing, Sajjad argued that the president's office was political as he was elected president after a consensus among the political parties in the parliament.

Subsequently, the bench directed Sajjad to find out from the president whether he would follow the court's directives or not.

The bench directed Sajjad to apprise it of the president's response to the query and adjourned the hearing to Oct 31.

On Sept 5, the bench had issued a fresh notice to President Zardari through his principal secretary and sought a reply to the petition pleading contempt proceedings against him for not abiding a court order to relinquish his political office.

The petition that had been filed by Munir Ahmad through lawyers A K Dogar and Azhar Siddique had accused President Zardari of indulging in political activities in the presidency. It had stated that the president had neither disassociated himself from the political office nor had he stopped ‘misusing’ the President House despite a verdict by the Lahore High Court’s full bench against the dual office.

The petitioner had also contended that the use of Presidency for political activities was illegal and tantamount to committing contempt of the court’s orders issued on May 12 last year. He had also requested the court to issue a show-cause notice to the president and punish him under Contempt of Court Ordinance, 2003, read with Article 204 of the Constitution.

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