LAHORE - Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed of the Lahore High Court on Tuesday refused to become part of the five-member bench, hearing two constitutional petitions, which questioned holding by Asif Ali Zardari the offices of President of Pakistan as well as PPP Co-Chairman. Justice Azmat Saeed took the plea that as previously he had been appearing as prosecutor in an accountability reference against Asif Zardari, it would be against the spirit of justice to sit on the bench. As a result of this plea, the five-member bench of Lahore High Court was dissolved. The bench comprised of Justice Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry, Justice Ch Iftikhar Hussain, Justice Sh Azmat Saeed, Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Iqbal Hameed-ur-Rehman. The court has sent the petitions to the Chief Justice Lahore High Court for constituting a new bench. It is pertinent to mention here that Justice Azmat Saeed had also declined to hear the case in October last year on a similar plea when he was hearing the matter as a single bench. The petitions were filed by AK Dogar of the Pakistan Lawyers Forum and lawyer Asif Mehmood against the holding of two offices by Asif Ali Zardari. It was argued that the said act of President Asif Ali Zardari was in clear violation of Article 41 (1) of the Constitution, and that President being Head of the State cannot hold an office of a political party. Petitioners submitted that President Zardari was holding the office of Co-Chairman PPP since his election as the President of Pakistan. They said the President was the Head of State and not the head of government, and as representative of the unity of the republic he could not participate in politics. Referring to a Supreme Court judgment, Dogar said in the case of Muhammad Nawaz Sharif vs President of Pakistan (1993) it was held:Now, the President as the symbol of the unity of the Federation is entitled to the highest respect and esteem by all the functionaries of the State. But it is equally true that this respect and esteem will be forthcoming if he conducts himself with utmost impartiality and neutrality, and keeps himself entirely aloof from party politics and does not give the impression to any one that he is siding with one faction or working against the other. He said the Apex Court had laid down the principle that the President was required to maintain a neutral image. According to him, he has collected number of documents and Press clippings to prove that the President House was functioning as the Head Office of PPP. The petitioners pleaded for directing President Asif Ali Zardari to surrender the office of Co-Chairman of PPP.