Lahore High Court Chief Justice Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry on Friday constituted a full bench to hear petitions against President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani for allegedly defying court orders and attempting to ‘subvert’ the constitution.
The bench, headed by Justice Azmat Saeed and comprising Justice Nasir Saeed Sheikh and Justice Shahid Saeed, will start proceedings next week.
Advocate AK Dogar filed the petitions on behalf of Advocate Rana Ilamudin Ghazi and one Allah Bakhsh Gondal.
Petition against President Zardari
Through his petition, Advocate Ghazi sought directions from the court for President Zardari to disassociate himself from the political office of PPP, in light of a decision given by a full bench of the court in May this year.
He submitted that a full bench of the LHC had declared the involvement of the president in political activities unconstitutional. However, he added, the president had neither disassociated himself from political activities at his earliest, as expected by the court, nor had he stopped ‘misusing’ the premises of the presidency for purposes of his political party.
The petitioner prayed to the court to issue a direction in the nature of writ of prohibition, requiring the president to act in accordance with LHC orders and disassociate himself from the PPP office and to stop using the presidency, officials, and financial resources of the government for personal purposes.
Petition against PM Gilani
In his petition against the prime minister, Gondal contended that by deliberately defying Supreme Court orders and through repeated attempts to subvert the constitution, Gilani had ceased to hold the office by automatic operation of provisions of articles 5, 6 and 92(2) of the Constitution.
The petitioner said the federal government had started “confrontations” with the SC, after the court struck down the national reconciliation ordinance (NRO) in December 2009.
He said that government had not complied with orders repeatedly given by the court to write a letter to Swiss authorities regarding the reopening of $60 million corruption cases against President Zardari.
He further said that the president’s then-right hand, Zulfiqar Mirza, had publicly attacked the SC judges. The PPP also called a general strike and protest across Sindh against an order of the SC for the removal of Justice (retd) Deedar Hussain Shah as NAB chairman.
The petitioner further said that the prime minister failed to take any steps in implementing the LHC order, wherein president Zardari was expected to disassociate himself from political office at earliest possible.
The petitioner submitted that the PPP government had openly threatened the country through its “Sindh Card”, which, he said, was a clear case of subversion of the federation.
He further said the president assumed and exercised absolute powers. The prime minister, he added, was ‘a mere puppet in his hand’.
“The dictatorship of Mr Zardari in the garb of democracy had subverted the third pillar of the state, the parliament,” he stated.
The petitioner appealed to the court to declare that the prime minister had deliberately defied and repeatedly brushed aside orders by the SC and had in ‘utter bad faith’ tried to subvert the Constitution.
Furthermore, he asked the court to also declare that the PM was ‘disqualified’ to hold his office.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 15th, 2011.
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