Remarks on president-in-politics; Govt challenges SC judgement
18 November, 2012
ISLAMABAD: Challenging the Supreme Court's judgement regarding the role of the Presidency in the Asghar Khan case, the federal government has contended that the office of the president is a political office and not one in the service of Pakistan.
The government has also asked the court that all state institutions should be strengthened and no observation made that could weaken institutions. All institutions under the constitution are entitled to the highest respect.
The federal government through the law secretary on Saturday filed a review petition under Article 188 of the constitution read with Order XXVI of the Supreme Court rules 1980 for a review of its order dated October 19. The petition has been drafted by Deputy Attorney General Dil Muhammad Khan Alizai.
Meanwhile, the SC Registrar Office has returned the government's review petition due to non-adhesive of Rs 10,000 court's fee in this regard, as the government would file it again on Monday after removing the court's objection.
The government in its review petition said the conduct of the incumbent president of Pakistan was never an issue in the Asghar Khan case, nor was it relevant for a decision in the matter. "The observations made by this honourable court amount to an error on the face of record, and, therefore, the order of this honourable court is liable to be reviewed."
It also said the court may have similarly refrained from issuing notice to the president's secretary. "By doing so, this court has applied a different yardstick to the office of the president of Pakistan, which is an error on the face of the record and needs to be corrected."
The government contended it is an established practice of the court based on the sound precedents that the court would not involve itself in academic or hypothetical questions.
"Despite this background and clarification, this honourable court passed observations which amount to directions to the president of Pakistan which are purely based on hypothetical and assumed facts. As this honourable court has departed from the established practice in making observations against the Presidency, there is an error on the face of the record which needs to be rectified."
It also argued the court had rightly concluded it was not the institution of the army or the ISI that was involved in election process in 1990 and the interference was done by Gen (r) Mirza Aslam Beg and Gen (r) Asad Durrani in their personal and individual capacity and not on behalf of the institutions they represented.
"Similarly, this honourable court should have noted that the alleged activities of the then president Ghulam Ishaq Khan were conducted in his individual capacity and not on behalf of the Presidency as an institution. It may kindly be noted that no allegation, whatsoever, was made during the proceedings that the incumbent president of Pakistan had created any election cell in the Presidency."
The review petition stated the court had referred to the oath of the president, which in substance is similar to the oath of the prime minister, speaker, ministers, judges, etc. All holders of these offices are required to perform their functions in accordance with the constitution and the law.
It further stated the president is elected by several members of an electoral college, comprising the National Assembly, the Senate, and all provincial assemblies. The president is invariably nominee of a political party who seeks votes and is supported in this process by political parties.