Party chief seems more powerful than PM: LHC CJ | Pakistan Today

Party chief seems more powerful than PM: LHC CJ

LAHORE – Lahore High Court Chief Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry on Monday observed that after passage of the 18th Constitutional Amendment, a political party chief seems to be more powerful than the prime minister.
He was hearing petitions challenging political activities of President Asif Ali Zardari while serving as the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) co-chairman. Other judges on the bench included Justice Iftikhar Hussain Chaudhry, Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Ijazul Ahsan.
The full bench observed that before decision of the case, it is important for the court to analyse the change in power of the president, PM and party chief in light of Article 63-A of the constitution after passage of the 18th Constitutional Amendment. The bench directed petitioner’s counsel, AK Dogar, to explain on January 31 “what powers are left with the president now and what effect if any of it leaves on the political scene if the president as head of a ruling political party exercises his powers positively or negatively?”
The full bench heard arguments of Abid Hasan Manto as amicus curie and petitioner’s counsel AK Dogar. Manto said that the petitioner has filed the petition after being impressed by media reports and the petitioner did not have evidence that the Presidency is being wrongly used for political activities of the PPP, as President Zardari is co-chairman of the party. Manto said that the constitution did not bar the president from being head of a political party but the president should be neutral being symbol of the federation.
Justice Ahsan asked Dogar that if the president is chief of a political party and he did not allow the Presidency to be used for political activities of that party, then what would he say? Dogar replied that how is it possible that a teacher is present with his students and he might not lecture them. Dogar said that the constitution directs the president to be neutral but it is not possible if he is also heading a political party. He said there are 600 employees of the Presidency and if the president heads a political party, then all 600 men would serve agenda of the party. The court adjourned the case’s hearing until January 31 asking Dogar to further explain the issue. The bench is hearing petitions filed by the Pakistan Lawyers Forum (PLF), Engineer Ghulam Jillani and Asif Mehmood Khan challenging political activities of President Zardari while serving as the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) co-chairman. He said that on various occasions, the president has openly acted as the PPP co-chairman forgetting his constitutional responsibilities as the head of state.
The petitioner said that the president was notorious for corruption and labeled as “Mr 10 Percent” in the international and national print and electronic media.



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