President's dual office: SHC show-cause notices to DAG

Orders personal appearance of Attorney General Pakistan.


Zeeshan Mujahid March 07, 2011

KARACHI: A full bench of the Sindh High Court comprising Chief Justice Mushir Alam, Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Maqbool Baqar issued on Monday a show-cause notice to a Deputy Attorney-General (DAG) while ordering the Attorney-General Pakistan (AGP) to appear in person in a petition challenging the dual offices held by Asif Ali Zardari as the president of Pakistan and co-chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party, the ruling party.

The bench was hearing a petition filed by an old PPP worker, Rasheed Akhund advocate, who moved the court maintaining that the office of the president of Pakistan is the highest office. He maintained that a person cannot be the president of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan as well as the head of a political party. As president he is supposed to treat everybody and anybody in the country equally, but he cannot do so as the head of the PPP, he maintained, citing various provisions of the Constitution.

When the petition was called, DAG Umer Hayat Sandhu was called absent, something which irked the bench. On December 13, 2010, Sandhu had sought four weeks' time to obtain instructions from all the respondents. Notices had been served by the bailiff to the president's secretariat.

The bench issued a show-cause notice to Sandhu as to why he did not bother to appear and inform the court about any responses given by the respondents. The bench gave him a last chance and adjourned for four weeks with directions to the Attorney General Pakistan to appear personally in this case at the next hearing, otherwise the court would be forced to proceed on the basis of material available on record on merit. If necessary, amicus curiae would be appointed to assist.

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