LAHORE - The Lahore High Courts Thursday verdict is expected to lead to an important debate among the legal fraternity about the eligibility of the president to simultaneously hold a party office and use the presidency for political activities. Holding that the president should discharge his duties with complete neutrality and impartiality, the court hoped that he would dissociate himself from political office at the earliest.. it is declared that the use of the premises of presidency for partisan political activity is inconsistent with the sanctity, dignity, neutrality and independence of the presidency, said the landmark judgment. After the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in December 2007, the party had elected Bilawal Bhutto Zardari as the chairman and Asif Ali Zardari as co-chairman of the party. Then in 2008, when under a foreign-brokered deal Gen Musharraf stepped down as president, Mr Zardari was chosen as his successor. Thus, he started wearing two hats at the same time, turning a deaf ear to assertions that the Constitution doesnt allow the president to hold a party office. The matter was taken to the LHC with the prayer that Mr Zardari be directed to hold only one office. The petitioner-lawyer argued the case in detail. The respondents wanted to raise some objections, but on being denied an opportunity by the court they boycotted the proceedings, leaving no one to defend the president. Of course, it was all part of a strategy. The court decided the matter on Thursday. In fact, it was a very bad precedent set by Mr Zardari to wear the two hats simultaneously. But, perhaps, he wanted to show the world that if Musharraf could be COAS and president at the same time, he too could concurrently be the head of state and the party. But he forgot that being the party chief he could give himself a million other roles and nobody would have any objection. But the office of the president is one which limits all other options. It was for this reason that former presidents like Ghulam Ishaq Khan, Farooq Leghari and Rafiq Tarar had to sever their links with their parties before entering the presidency. But Zardari tried to go for a new experiment. Having assumed the role of the president, Mr Zardari started holding party meetings at the presidency, caring little that the budgetary allocation for his office was not meant for the PPP people. Hardly any party meeting was held at the PPP Secretariat thereafter. It would be good it the matter now goes to the Supreme Court and the controversy is discussed from all aspects. The apex courts decision if at all the matter goes there will resolve the controversy for good. The LHC verdict should also be instructive for other leaders, who are using their government offices for party meetings. It is an open secret that many party or parliamentary party meetings are held at the chief ministers offices and the participants are offered lunches, dinners, which they are not entitled to. The wrong practice blurs the distinction between the government and the party. And it is for this reason that the budgets for the chief ministers in all provinces are raised every year. Even the governors are no exception. While they are supposed to be the ceremonial heads, without many functions to perform, they also use public funds as mercilessly as they can. There is no realization whatsoever that they should try to slash their expenditure in view of the sagging national economy. Superfluous to point out wasteful expenditure by the ministers. After the LHC verdict, the PPP leaders are expected to review the situation and take necessary decisions. Former law minister Babar Awan says the Constitution gives the president right to take part in politics, and before restraining the president from taking part in politics he has to be taken out from the definition of the word 'citizen as every citizen has the right to become member of any party Regarded as Mr Know all of the present setup, the former minister would have done better by raising this point before the LHC. The argument he has come up with now appears like a defeated general talking to himself and saying that the new strategy in his mind could have made him victor. While President Zardari has already announced that son Bilawal will assume some important political role in September, when he will complete his education at Cambridge, Faryal Talpur may also have to shoulder more responsibilities. Although it has to be a family affair, Zardaris burden will be shared by son and sister.