Lahore: A Pakistani court on Thursday gave the
federal government time till June 14 to reply to a petition
challenging the holding of dual offices of President and
ruling party chief by Asif Ali Zardari.
A five-member bench of the Lahore High Court headed by
Justice Ijaz Chaudhry had served notice on the President
during the last hearing of the petition challenging his
holding of two offices.
Pakistan Lawyers Forum president A K Dogar filed the
petition that questioned the right of the President to also
function as head of the ruling Pakistan People`s Party.
Government lawyer Saiful Maluk today requested the
court to grant more time to submit a reply.
The court then ruled that the government should submit
a response by June 14.
Dogar, who is also the counsel of Jamaat-ud-Dawah
chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, said in his petition that the
holding of two offices by Zardari is a blatant violation of
Article 41 (1) of the constitution.
He noted that the article states that the President
"shall be the head of state and shall represent the unity of
the republic" and that his position will be non-partisan.
"President Zardari is not representative of the unity
of the republic," Dogar contended.
Dogar further said: "The President as the symbol of
the unity of the federation is entitled to the highest respect
and esteem by all functionaries of the state.
"But it is equally true that this respect and esteem
will be forthcoming if he conducts himself with utmost
impartiality and neutrality, that he keep himself entirely
aloof from party politics and does not give the impression to
anyone that he is siding with one faction or working against
He added that the Supreme Court had laid down that the
President should be a non-partisan person in order to protect
and preserve the dignity of the office.
"Mr Zardari is required to maintain a neutral image,"