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Pak court admits petitions against Zardari

Lahore: A Pakistani court has admitted petitions against President Asif Ali Zardari for not disassociating himself from political activities and formed a bench to hear them. The same bench of the Lahore High court will hear petitions seeking the disqualification of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on charges of committing treason by allegedly defying court orders and subverting the Constitution.

Lahore High Court Chief Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed on Wednesday admitted the petitions and formed a three-judge bench to hear them. The Chief Justice will head the bench. Former Chief Justice Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry had on October 14, 2011 constituted a bench after a single judge had referred the cases to him for constitution of a larger bench. The bench will start hearing the petitions after the court`s winter vacation.

Lawyer A K Dogar, who is the counsel for Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, filed the petitions on behalf of two lawyers and asked the court to direct President Zardari to disassociate himself from the political office of co-chairman of the ruling Pakistan Peoples` Party in light of a decision given by a full bench of the High Court in May last year.

Advocate Ilamuddin Ghazi too submitted a petition in which he said that the full bench had in its order declared the President`s involvement in political activities as unconstitutional. Ghazi said Zardari had not disassociated himself from political activities as expected by the court or stopped misusing the presidency for purposes related to his political party.

Another petitioner, Allah Bakhsh Gondal, contended that Prime Minister Gilani had repeatedly attempted to subvert the Constitution by deliberately defying the Supreme Court`s orders. He contended Gilani had ceased to hold the office of premier by automatic operation of several constitutional provisions. Gondal asked the court to disqualify the premier and take action against him on charges of high treason.

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