If the government is looking for support from allied parties on proposing a new bill to validate the National Reconciliation Ordinance, it will not find it.
PPP’s insiders said the party’s top leadership is considering enacting a new law to close all the cases which were shelved under the 2007 ordinance. This was discussed at one of the meetings after the Supreme Court’s verdict on Friday.
It was not, however, immediately known whether the government had already approached its allies to vote in favour of the proposed bill.
But all the government’s allied parties at the centre—Pakistan Muslim League-Q, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and Awami National Party (ANP)—have already said they will not be supporting the government on the matter.
“We will not support any bill that is aimed at giving blanket indemnity to corruption…we have opposed it once and will do the same if and when the government brings a new law (to support the ordinance),” said Kamil Ali Agha, PML-Q’s information secretary.
PML-Q, which joined the government early this year, has more than 30 members in the National Assembly and without its vote no legislation can be passed in the lower as well as upper house.
The PPP’s strength in the house is 127, at least 43 short of the 172 required for a simple majority to pass legislations.
PML-Q’s 35 lawmakers and either the MQM with 25 members or the ANP’s 13 legislators are needed to get any bill passed by the house.
But it was not only the PML-Q which refused to support the NRO, the ANP has the same intentions and the MQM said it will only consider the option when the PPP’s plans become clearer.
ANP Information Secretary Zahid Khan told The Express Tribune that his party had a principled position on the issue and like last year, his party will oppose the ordinance.
MQM’s Wasey Jalil said his party will decide whether to support or oppose the legislation only when the PPP approaches them. However, even if the group votes in favour of the legislation it will not be enough for the government.
Last week, the Supreme Court rejected a government petition to review its earlier decision to declare the controversial ordinance void ab initio (invalid from the very outset).
Former president Pervez Musharraf issued the ordinance in October 2007 to close thousands of corruption and criminal cases against political workers and bureaucrats.
At one of the hearings, the federation’s lawyer, former law minister Dr Babar Awan, had hinted at bringing a new NRO.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 28th, 2011.
More in PakistanRailways land scam: FIA awaits green signal to further probe