Lahore: In a setback to Asif Ali Zardari, a
Pakistani court on Thursday ruled that the President, who is also
the chief of the ruling PPP, should suspend political
activities and must be impartial.
A four-judge bench of the Lahore High Court headed by
Chief Justice Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry issued the order in response
to petitions that had challenged the holding of the dual posts
of President and PPP chief by Zardari.
The court, which had reserved its judgement in the case
in March, said the presidency should not be used for political
The President is not supposed to engage in political
activities and is bound to be impartial, the bench said in its
The bench noted that the Supreme Court had already ruled
that the President should discharge his duties and functions
with complete neutrality, impartiality and aloofness from any
partisan political interest.
The High Court hoped that the President would abide by
the law and disassociate himself from the political office.
Lawyer A K Dogar, who is also the counsel for
Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, was among those
who filed petitions that challenged the holding of the two
posts by Zardari.
Dogar had contended that the Constitution required the
President, being head of the state, should be neutral and
Several benches of the High Court had heard these
petitions since 2009.
The government`s legal panel had initially contested the
petitions but later boycotted proceedings after expressing
their dissatisfaction with the court.
Following this, the High Court started ex-parte
Zardari regularly chairs meetings of the PPP`s top
leadership at the presidency.
His son Bilawal is the Chairman of the PPP but he has not
yet started political activities as he is studying in Britain.