Islamabad: The Pakistan government has challenged a recent Supreme Court verdict that suggested the President could not indulge in politics as he is expected to be non-partisan and disengaged from all political activities.
Deputy Attorney General Dil Muhammad Ali Zai yesterday filed a petition seeking a review of parts of the apex court`s ruling on former air force chief Asghar Khan`s petition against the rigging of the 1990 general election.
The government stated in the review petition that the Supreme Court did not have the authority to issue such an order regarding the President.
It argued that court`s observations regarding the role of the presidency should be reviewed.
In its detailed verdict issued on November 8 in response to Khan`s 16-year-old petition, the apex court held former army chief Gen Mirza Aslam Beg and former ISI chief Lt Gen Asad Durrani responsible for distributing millions of rupees among politicians to rig the 1990 elections in favour of the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad political bloc.
The verdict further said the two generals had acted on the instructions of late President Ghulam Ishaq Khan.
In this regard, the ruling stated that presidents in parliamentary republics are "expected to be apolitical/non- partisan and objectively disengaged with any and all affiliations of a political, ethnic, linguistic, or geographic nature".
The apex court`s ruling came at a time when the Lahore High Court is hearing another petition accusing President Asif Ali Zardari of contempt for using the presidency for the political activities of his Pakistan People`s Party.
The Lahore High Court had said in an order last year that it expected the President to disassociate himself from the activities of the PPP.
The government`s review petition further stated that there is currently no active election or political cell in the presidency.
The petition said the Asghar Khan`s petition was against the doling out of public funds for the rigging of the 1990 election and did not involve the current President`s office.
The review petition further said that the President`s authority is symbolic and he does not have any executive powers.
In a related development, Geo News channel reported that the Supreme Court`s Registrar returned the review petition as a court fee of Rs 10,000 was not attached to it.
There was no official word on this development.