SC criticises govt over NRO inaction

Express May 06, 2010

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) has once again criticised the government for not implementing the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) judgment.

A five-member larger bench of the SC, led by Justice Nasirul-Mulk and comprising Justice Raja Fayyaz Ahmed, Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja, Justice Rahmat Hussain Jafferi and Justice Tariq Pervez summoned Secretary Law Aqil Mirza and Chairman National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on May 13 to explain their contradictory statements on the implementation of the NRO judgement.

At the last hearing, the SC was informed that the NRO judgment has been fully implemented and the cases against NRO beneficiaries have been reopened across the board including foreign countries. The SC was also informed a letter has been sent to Swiss authorities for the reopening of cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

The Attorney General (AG) of Pakistan Justice (Rtd) Molvi Anwarul-Haq, appearing in the suo motto case of Ahmed Riaz Sheikh surprised the bench when he pleaded that the Swiss cases against Zardari “cannot be reopened and therefore there is no need for any correspondence with the Swiss authorities on the issue.”

“The Swiss Cases issue is over and no letter has yet been written to Swiss authorities in this regard nor is one necessary,” Haq read a letter by Mirza which he submitted before the bench. This is the first time that the government has taken a categorical position in the SC on the issue of reviving the Swiss cases against president Zardari. Justice Mulk questioned the AG “It means that Chairman NAB and the deputy attorney general deceived the court by saying that the letters have been sent to the Swiss authorities and the NRO Judgment is being implemented.”

“The direction of the SC on December 16th last year was clear to the federal and provincial governments to reopen cases against NRO beneficiaries while implementing the NRO judgment,” Justice Mulk remarked. “Were the Swiss authorities contacted and if yes then what is the result and if no explain that why the cases have not been re-opened till now” Justice Mulk inquired from the AG.

Justice Khawaja informed the AG that he is the representative of the government and that it is his duty to contact government officials for the implementation of court rulings and that the NRO judgment has not been implemented for the last six months. Justice Pervez remarked that “the whole parliament is bound to honour and implement the judgment of this august court”. Meanwhile, Dr Basit, the counsel for Shiekh Riaz, argued that his client has completed his sentence.

Justice Khawaja said that “the sentence has not been completed till now, there is still a lot that needs to be investigated, the prime minster has constituted a fact finding committee to investigate Riaz’s case further, the committee will submit its report within seven days and in light of that report, the court will hear his case at the next hearing.”

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