The Azad Kashmir chapter of the Pakistan Peoples Party will launch a protest on May 16 against the decision by the Lahore High Court against President Asif Ali Zardari holding two offices simultaneously.
“We don’t accept this decision against President Zardari and we will observe a protest strike against this on May16 across Azad Kashmir,” said Chaudhary Abdul Majeed, opposition leader in the Azad Kashmir legislative assembly and leader of the PPP in the region.
Petitioners have challenged the right of President Zardari to simultaneously hold the presidency while remaining co-chairman of the ruling PPP.
On May 11, the Lahore High Court ruled that it “expected” President Zardari to suspend all political activities on the grounds that these activities were inconsistent with the neutrality and independence of the office of the presidency.
The court, however, also said that the president’s political activities are not against the law and holding the chairmanship of the party is not grounds for disqualification from holding the office of the president.
The president’s supporters in Azad Kashmir, however, view the ruling as being directed against the party.
At a press conference in Muzzafarabad, they did not address the fact that the ruling issued no binding orders to the president.
They were instead irked at the notion that the presidency is an office above politics.
“Democracy and politics go together and cannot be separated,” argued Majeed.
He termed the ruling unjust and a violation of human rights and said that the party would hold sit-in on Sunday.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 14th, 2011.