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Old Tuesday, January 10, 2012
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Exclamation NRO case: 'Gilani sided with party instead of constitution' SC

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Tuesday said that the government had failed to implement the verdict in the National Reconciliation Ordinance Case (NRO).

The five-member bench was announcing its verdict in the NRO implementation case. The court said that the prime minister had sided with a party instead of the constitution, and that he did not appear to be honest.

It said the government’s refusal was not only against the constitution, but was also against the Quran.

The five-member bench said that an investigation can be carried out and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani can be declared ineligible for ten years. The verdict also stated that the government had been given two years, yet no action had been taken. It also said that Chairman NAB’s attitude came under misconduct and that he could be removed.

The five-member bench of Supreme Court, headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, had earlier reserved its judgement in the NRO implementation case.

Attorney General (AG) Maulvi Anwarul Haq informed the five-member bench that he was unable to tell whether or not the government would write a letter to the Swiss authorities.

The law secretary has gone abroad, where he is being treated for a prostate problem, the AG submitted. The secretary was required to prepare a summary for the prime minister for his permission to reopen graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari in Switzerland.

The cases were withdrawn under the NAB Ordinance through a letter written by former Attorney General Malik Muhammad Qayyum.

Justice Khosa’s observation left the NAB authorities and others present in the courtroom wondering about the order due to be released shortly. They wondered whether the court initiate contempt proceedings against Law Secretary Masood Chishti or pass directions to the prime minister for compliance.

Earlier, the court had observed that they could issue notices to the prime minister for defiance of their verdict.

The five-judge bench, on the last day of hearing, had observed that it was giving a final opportunity to authorities to take action against those who violated its verdict.

The bench had asked the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman Fasih Bokhari to examine why Ahmed Riaz Sheikh and Adnan A Khwaja were appointed despite being convicts.

Bokhari informed the court that criminal intent and misuse of authority had been absent from the cases in which the court had asked him to take action.

There are other laws under which Sheikh and Khwaja could be proceeded against, said the chairman. “But as far as NAB law is concerned, they could not be proceeded against,” he added.

The attorney general pleaded that the government had reopened over 8,000 cases pursuant to its December 16 order against the NAB Ordinance. Besides, the order on establishment of accountability courts was also implemented, he submitted.

Justice Khosa observed the law secretary seem to be avoiding an appearance deliberately. Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry observed that the secretary may not return unless the implementation case was decided.

“I will pray for his early recovery,” the AG hastened to add.

On January 3, the court had expressed disappointment over the non-implementation of the court’s judgement and had given the government time till January 10 (today) to file their reply in the case.

On December 16, 2009, the Supreme Court had declared the NRO to be void ab initio (void from the start), thus leaving those pardoned under the ordinance as fair game for investigators.

NRO case: ‘Gilani sided with party instead of constitution’ – The Express Tribune
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