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Zardari contempt case: LHC adjourns hearing to Feb 6

January 22, 2013

President Asif Ali Zardari. — File photo

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday heard the contempt of court petition against President Asif Ali Zardari for not relinquishing the political office of PPP co-chairman, DawnNews reported.

A full bench, headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, heard the case.

During the hearing, Wasim Sajjad, the federation’s counsel, stated that the president enjoyed complete immunity under the Constitution.

Sajjad reiterated that the court had expressed its "hope" that the president would relinquish one of the offices, adding that in that case not quitting one of the posts was not tantamount to committing contempt of court.

He added that since the president enjoyed immunity from prosecution, a contempt petition against him should not be entertained.

Responding to which, the bench said if the head of state had done something unlawful or wrong, impeachment was an option.

The bench added that the Constitution did not grant full immunity to the president.

The hearing was later adjourned to Feb 6.

The petition

Earlier on Sept 5, 2012, 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 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, 2011. 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.