LAHORE - A five-member bench of the Lahore High Court has given the last opportunity to the Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) to represent the federation of Pakistan in the two constitutional petitions, challenging holding of two offices by Asif Ali Zardari who is President as well as PPP Co-Chairman. The bench adjourned the proceedings till March 29, directing AGP and the Advocate General Punjab to submit the governments reply if any on the eligibility petitions on the next date of the hearing. The petitions have been filed by AK Dogar of the Pakistan Lawyers Forum and another lawyer Asif Mehmood. On Friday, the bench comprising Justice Ijaz Ahmad Ch, Justice Ch Iftikhar Hussain, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Iqbal Hameed-ur-Rehman and Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan expected that AGP would appear before the court but he again sent a message that he was busy elsewhere. Deputy Attorney Gen Naseem Kashmiri told the court that the AGP was in Quetta to attend some proceedings. Petitioner AK Dogar objected to the absence of AGP, terming it as an indicator of reluctance on the part of the federal govt to be the part of the proceedings. He requested the court to continue with the proceedings on the matter without Attorney General as DAG Naseem Kashmiri was present in the court. Dogar added that waiting for the attorney general seems to be futile as he had not come last time as well despite the court orders. Upon this, senior LHC judge Justice Ijaz Ahmad Ch who headed the bench said that last opportunity is being be given to the AGP and if he did not come on the next date of hearing as well, the bench will run its business with the help of DAG. Petitioners AK Dogar and Asif Mehmood have stated in the petitions that act of President Zardari of holding the office of co-chairman PPP was in clear violation of article 41 (1) of the constitution. The petitioners said the President being head of the state cannot hold office of any political party. Petitioners submitted that President was continuously holding the office of PPP Co-Chairman along with the office of the President of Pakistan, which was violation of Article 41(1) of the Constitution. They said the President was the head of state and not the head of govt and is symbol of the unity of the republic and could not participate in politics. Citing a SC judgment, Dogar said: In the case of M Nawaz Sharif vs President of Pakistan (1993) it was held that 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 that he 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 required to maintain a neutral image. He said he collected a number of documents and press clippings to prove that the President House was functioning as the head office of PPP. Petitioners argued that President Zardari should be directed to surrender the office of PPP Co-Chairperson.