ISLAMABAD: The government formally requested the Supreme Court, on Saturday, to permit it to appoint a new counsel, the fourth in a row, to defend it before the full-court resumed hearing of a review appeal against the controversial National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) verdict on Monday.
The government has contended in its application that a petitioner has the right to change the counsel under article 10-A of the constitution. It goes on to state that all actions expedited against the NRO by petitioners are motivated by political vengeance.
President Zardari on Friday had agreed to substitute Dr Babar Awan for Dr Khalid Ranjha in a meeting of the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) core committee.
Former law minister Dr Awan had resigned from the cabinet to represent the government in the apex court in several cases including the landmark presidential reference to revisit the death penalty awarded to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto for the murder of a political opponent. A large number of PPP stalwarts will also be present in the court to witness the proceedings.
Entry into courtroom No. 1 will be regulated by passes. Security cameras have been installed in the courtrooms as well as public entry gates and reception areas of the apex court. Passes will also be issued to journalists who regularly cover Supreme Court proceedings.
After hearing of the NRO review appeal is adjourned, the full court will dismantle and a division bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, will resume hearing of a suo motu case coupled with two identical petitions challenging the award of contracts to rental power projects. Reshma Rental Power Plant had reimbursed the Rs4.5billion mobilisation advance it received for generating electricity on the court’s directive on Friday.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 20th, 2011.
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