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Pak court forms larger bench to hear petition against Prez

June 25
03:20 2012

ISLAMABAD: A Pakistani court today constituted a larger bench to hear a contempt of court petition against President Asif Ali Zardari while a lawyer filed a plea in the Supreme Court challenging the President’s immunity and holding of dual offices.

Lahore High Court Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial constituted the larger bench that will hear the petition accusing Zardari of contempt of court for not quitting the political office of head of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party.

The bench, which will be headed by Bandial, will hear the case on June 27.

Earlier, Bandial had issued a notice to the Principal Secretary to the President in connection with the case.

Bandial said the court would make its next decision after the President’s Principal Secretary submitted a response.

Lawyer A K Dogar, who is representing the petitioner, said the High Court should summon the President to explain his position as the Supreme Court had recently summoned former premier Yousuf Raza Gilani in a contempt of court case.

Muhammad Azhar Siddique, a lawyer, had filed the petition that said Zardari had not disassociated himself from his political office as soon as possible in line with an order issued by the Lahore High Court last year.

He said the directions issued by the court had not been obeyed and the President had not stopped “misusing” the presidency for the purposes of the PPP.

In a separate development, lawyer Mahmood Akhtar Naqvi filed a petition in the Supreme Court that challenged President Zardari’s immunity and the holding of dual posts by him.

Naqvi referred to Article 43 of the Constitution and said the President cannot hold two offices.

It could not immediately be ascertained whether Naqvi’s petition had been admitted by the Supreme Court, which is currently locked in a standoff with the PPP-led government.

A bench led by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry last week disqualified former premier Gilani following his conviction of contempt for refusing to act on the court’s orders to revive graft cases against in Switzerland against Zardari. -PTI



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