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Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari.—File Photo

LAHORE: A heated argument occurred between Chief Justice of Lahore High Court (LHC) Umar Ata Bandial and Attorney General Irfan Qadir during Wednesday’s hearing of a contempt of court petition over the dual offices held by President Asif Ali Zardari, DawnNews reported.

A five-member bench, headed by Justice Bandial, was hearing the case. Other members of the bench include Justice Nasir Saeed Sheikh, Justice Sheikh Najmul Hassan, Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah.

A heated exchange of remarks took place between Justice Bandial and Attorney General Qadir at the beginning of the hearing.

The attorney general maintained that President Zardari was an elected president, adding that, the Constitution did not allow for any curbs on the political activities of the president.

Attorney General Qadir moreover criticised the court’s decision on the case pertaining to the construction of the ‘controversial’ Kalabagh dam.

Responding to which, the LHC chief justice said anyone who had any objections to or reservations over the court’s decision on the dam should challenge the ruling instead of attacking the court.

The hearing was in progress until the filing of this report.

The petition

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