LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) has sent its short order to the president asking him to relinquish one post as no appeal has been submitted against the court’s order and now decision is to be taken as final.
The LHC full bench judgment sought compliance in the dual office case as the verdict was issued on May 12, 2011.
The order said the law declared by the LHC in its constitutional jurisdiction has enforceable legal effects and a binding force, and no further judicial steps are required to enhance enforceability of such declaration of the law.
A three-member bench on June 27 had granted time to President Asif Zardari to relinquish the office of PPP co-chairman by September 5 and its written order had been issued on Friday. The court ordered its office to serve the instant order to the president through his principal secretary, asking him to submit a written reply to explain about the position taken by the president regarding the compliance of the court’s order.
“In the present case, the respondent (the president) has also accepted the judgment, issued on May 12, 2011, by not challenging it. 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 People’s Party. Prima facie the forgoing facts are such that these require further probe by the court.
“Nevertheless at the inceptional stage in the contempt matter, it is fair and just that the respondent is apprised of the forgoing position, the law declared by full bench of this court and the obligations cast upon him as a result of the judgment. It is expected that the respondent (president) shall appreciate that his obligations under the judgment had crystallised on account of his acceptance,” the order said.
The court also issued a notice to the attorney general for Pakistan to seek his assistance on various constitutional aspects of the case.Responding to the court’s query about the maintainability of the contempt petition against the president in view of his immunity in criminal cases under Article 248 (2) of the Constitution, the petitioner’s counsel argued that the SC, while hearing the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) implementation case, had granted time and opportunity to former prime minister Yusuf Raza Gilani to comply with the judicial order (writing a letter to Swiss authorities). He requested the court to invoke the said principle and grant the same opportunity to the president. The court gave time to the president to act upon the judgment till Sept 5.