NRO implementation case: SC expects Ashraf to write Swiss letter

Published: June 28, 2012
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While hearing the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) implementation case on Wednesday, the apex court ordered Prime Minister Ashraf to submit a written response by July 12 to the court on whether or not he will write a letter.

While hearing the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) implementation case on Wednesday, the apex court ordered Prime Minister Ashraf to submit a written response by July 12 to the court on whether or not he will write a letter.

ISLAMABAD: 

It’s back to square one for the government. Having spent less than a week in the prime minister’s office, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf has been presented a conundrum that led to the ousting of his predecessor: How does one not write a letter to Swiss authorities to reopen graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari without committing contempt of court?

While hearing the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) implementation case on Wednesday, the apex court ordered Prime Minister Ashraf to submit a written response by July 12 to the court on whether or not he will write a letter. A three-member bench headed by Justice Nasirul Mulk ordered Attorney General Irfan Qadir to get in touch with Ashraf and inform the court about the premier’s stance.

In its written order, the Supreme Court’s message to the incumbent chief executive rang out loud and clear: “As far as non-implementation of para 178 of the judgment is concerned, the former prime minister (Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani) was tried, convicted and sentenced, and as a consequence he lost membership of Parliament.

The new prime minister was elected last week and we trust him to implement the directives (of the court). In the meanwhile, the attorney general is directed to seek instructions from prime minister (and submit the same in the court by July 12).”

The attorney general, known for his less than amiable relationship with the court, reiterated his stance and told The Express Tribune that the court should not press the government for the letter. He said that he agreed with Law Secretary Yasmin Abbasi’s view that former attorney general Malik Qayyum’s correspondence with Swiss authorities to close cases against President Zardari was valid – therefore, he argued, there was no need for the government to take any action against Qayyum or overturn his communication.

Wasim Sajjad, the counsel for Qayyum, told the court that his client was currently admitted in a hospital in London. He urged the court to review its order regarding Qayyum and asked the government to take action against him accordance with the law. He also asked for more time to present his arguments.

In a related case regarding the illegal appointment of Adnan A Khawaja as the Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL) chairperson by former premier Gilani, Justice Mulk asked the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) how they could state Gilani had been unaware that Khawaja was a convicted person – considering Gilani and Khwaja had in fact spent time in jail together.

The Supreme Court had earlier directed NAB to hold an inquiry to fix responsibility for appointing a convicted person (an NRO beneficiary) as the OGDCL chairperson.

Advocate Hamid Khan told The Express Tribune that the court has given a chance to the new prime minister and the government should take benefit of it – before the court exercises other options to revive cases against President Zardari. He added that the court was unlikely to go into the nitty gritty of the case this time and would decide this issue soon after receiving a reply from premier Ashraf.

On Tuesday, an application was filed in the Supreme Court praying that contempt proceedings be initiated against Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf for giving a statement that he will not write a letter to Swiss authorities.

Published In The Express Tribune, June 28th, 2012. 

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Reader Comments (8)

  • Blithe
    Jun 28, 2012 - 3:51AM

    Nice!

    I love supreme court!

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  • a&a
    Jun 28, 2012 - 7:06AM

    Come on Stop it, it’s too much now . . . !!!!

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  • Jun 28, 2012 - 7:29AM

    SC should do something that this thing will not take too long. Also SC should tell the present regime if not follow the directive of SC then the govt will be disolve and call for a fresh election.

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  • Billoo Bhaya
    Jun 28, 2012 - 7:43AM

    Where is our Cracker-Jacker Aitizaz Ahsan??? For another Rs100 fee he could re-use the defense he used for Gilani, this time for Rental Raja and see if he can win. He is the Craker-Jacker of our times and will establish a record and precedence of how hollow his poetry is and was.

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  • Mirza
    Jun 28, 2012 - 8:46AM

    The PCO SC judges can and have gone against their oath of office by endorsing the acts of high treason. They are paid govt servants and have no fear of accountability like the generals. However, the elected PM has to go to the voters again and again and cannot break the oath of his office to go against the article 248 of constitution clearly granting sitting president immunity. “Article 248(2) says that not only can no criminal proceedings can be instituted against the president, but also that none can be continued.” The PCO SC is bent upon creating political martyrs and helping the PPP for the next elections. There would be slogans “har ghar se Bhutto nikle ga tum kitne Bhutto maro ge”.
    One fails to understand the motives of the SC to force the elected PM to go against the constitution. The PM can only be removed by a vote of no confidence by the parliament not by vote of no confidence by PCO SC.

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  • Not me
    Jun 28, 2012 - 8:51AM

    It is just writing a letter.
    Then Swiss courts will investigate and if there is no evidence then case will be dropped

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  • Aftab Kenneth Wilson
    Jun 28, 2012 - 2:54PM

    On the other hand saner elements in our country are expecting PM to ask President to initiate judicial inquiry against CJ and four other judges who are bent upon derailing the whole system on fabricated cases and politically laced cases by undemocratic forces.

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  • Khadim Hussain
    Jun 28, 2012 - 7:51PM

    Everyone should respect the choice of electorate. Any party which comes into power after elections especially under a neutral ECP, deserves the respect and confidence the people gave it. No mullah, paid govt servant generals or SC judge have any right to undo the election results. That is the reason head of the state in democratic countries are granted immunity from prosecution under the constitution. This is only to avoid the avalanche of cases manufactured against them to stop from governance. This is what has been happening in Pakistan under the PCO SC. How can paid govt servants have all the right and powers and people’s choice none? If Pakistan has to make any progress in future the undemocratic interference must stop like yesterday, enough is enough! Thank God B. Desh is moving ahead under democracy in half the time, now we are only at par with Nepal in S. Asia.

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