The Lahore High Court (LHC) wants President Asif Ali Zardari to know it means business.
In a written order of its earlier verdict, which gave the president till September 5 to resign from his post of Pakistan Peoples Party co-chairman, the court stressed that the ruling is not only binding but has ‘enforceable legal effects’.
Friday’s written instructions of the LHC order passed on Wednesday also directed its office to immediately serve the order to President Zardari through his principal secretary. The secretary is to submit a reply regarding the president’s position regarding compliance with the order before the deadline of September 5.
The LHC also issued notice to the attorney general of Pakistan to seek his assistance on various constitutional aspects of the case.
A three-member bench on Wednesday had asked President Zardari to dissociate himself from political activities by September 5, in a contempt case that was a follow-up to an order passed by the LHC last year.
In May 2011, a bench headed by former LHC Chief Justice Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry had ruled the Presidency off-limits for political activity, saying the practice was “inconsistent with the dignity, neutrality and independence of the presidency.”
“In the present case, the respondent president has also accepted the judgment (issued on May 12, 2011) by not challenging the same. That confers finality on the judgment and stops the respondent from challenging it. It is also plain that even after the lapse of one year following the judgment, the respondent continues to retain in his private capacity the office of Co-chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples Party. Prima facie the forgoing facts are such that these require further probes by this court,” the court order stated.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 30th, 2012.