4-member Govt panel boycotts court proceedings against Zardari

Last Updated: Tuesday, June 22, 2010 - 18:52

Lahore: A four-member legal panel of the
government boycotted proceedings in a court hearing petitions
challenging the holding of the two offices of President and
chief of the Pakistan People`s Party by Asif Ali Zardari.

The legal panel comprising Talib H Rizvi, S M Masood,
Saif-ul-Malook and Ramzan Chaudhry left the court room in the
Lahore High Court after expressing dissatisfaction and
disinterest in the proceedings and the decision on the matter
of holding dual offices by Zardari.
As the proceedings began yesterday, Masood informed
the bench that the panel had filed a civil miscellaneous
application challenging the maintainability of the petitions
being heard by the court.

He said the petitions were not maintainable as the
petitioners had no locus standi and no cause of action to take
up the matter before the court.

Masood said the prayer made in the petitions was
neither maintainable nor could it be granted in the exercise
of extraordinary constitutional jurisdiction under article 199
of the constitution by the court.

He argued that the High Court, in exercise of its
extraordinary constitutional jurisdiction, could only issue a
writ directing a person performing functions in connection
with the affairs of the federation.
However, in the case being heard by the bench, there
was no allegation that any action under question was being
performed with the affairs of the federation and in violation
of law and therefore the petitions were not competent, Masood
added.

The lawyers for the government further argued that the
petitioners had raised a political question and the High Court
was not empowered under the constitution to issue a writ on
the basis of "Doctrine of Political Question".

Masood said that no writ could be issued under the
constitution for any act considered by a petitioner to be
against his political views.

The High Court had the jurisdiction to issue writ for
any act violating the mandate of the constitution on the
touchstone of constitutional principle, he said, adding that
any further proceedings on the petitions were neither legal
nor competent.

Opposing these arguments, A K Dogar, the leading
counsel for the petitions, pointed out that the petitions had
already been admitted for regular hearing and former Attorney
General Anwar Mansoor Khan had not opposed this during a
hearing on March 29.

At this, Talib H Rizvi said that the bench had no
jurisdiction to hear these petitions and asked the judges to
decide their objection petition first.

In response, the bench headed by Justice Ijaz Ahmad
Chaudhry dismissed the government`s objection petition and
asked Dogar to continue his arguments.

After listening to this order, the government`s legal
panel left the courtroom and announced it would boycott the
proceedings.
Rizvi said: "We are boycotting the proceedings and the
court can issue any order on the subject matter."

The judges observed that if the panel had decided to
boycott the court`s proceedings, then how could the court stop
them.

Resuming his arguments, Dogar said the Supreme Court
had already decided that the President could not indulge in
political activities.

In response to a query from the court, he said many
press clippings had been produced to establish Zardari`s
direct involvement in politics and his bias towards political
parties.

Dogar said the constitution did not allow the
President of Pakistan to lead a political party as he had to
represent the federation.

The bench later adjourned the matter till July 7. The
bench also sought the appearance of Attorney General to
represent the government at the next hearing.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, June 22, 2010 - 18:52

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