Qayyum says dismissal of NRO pleas not linked to politics -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Qayyum says dismissal of NRO pleas not linked to politics

ISLAMABAD: Attorney General for Pakistan Justice (retd) Malik Qayyum says the Supreme Court’s dismissal of petitions against the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) has no political connotations.

“It is not meant to send any goodwill message to the beneficiaries of the NRO,” he told The News after the apex court order on Wednesday.

However, political analysts believe that the ruling is timed with the increasing marginalisation of President Pervez Musharraf. Nevertheless, the attorney general says that in the previous hearing of the case, it was adjourned till the last week of February.

To a question, the AG confirmed that the registrar of the Supreme Court and not the judges fixed the date of hearing of some cases.

Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) chief Qazi Hussain Ahmed, PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif, retired bureaucrat Roedad Khan, Tariq Asad and former PPP stalwart Dr Mubashir Hassan had challenged the NRO in the Supreme Court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution after it was promulgated in October last.

In the previous hearing of the petitions challenging the NRO on Feb 6 2008, just 12 days before the general elections on Feb 18, Afzal Siddiqui, advocate, submitted before the court that Abdul Hafeez Pirzada, the counsel for Dr Mubashir Hassan, had sought an adjournment of the case and had requested that the case might be adjourned till after March 15, 2007. However, the case was adjourned for the last week of February.

The government was not clear on its stance about the NRO till the start of February. Malik Qayyum had told this correspondent in early February at the time when the ordinance promulgating the NRO was to expire on Feb 3, that he did not know why the petitions challenging the NRO were not being taken up by the apex court.

However, on Feb 6, he told the five-member bench of the Supreme Court that the NRO was protected in the Constitution under article 270-AAA.

On Thursday, when contacted, Malik Qayyum said the NRO was not an ordinary law and that it was protected under the Constitution. He told The News that three petitioners, Shahbaz Sharif, Qazi Hussain Ahmad and advocate Tariq Asad, were no more interested in following their petitions and, thus, their petitions were rejected.

On the other hand, the counsels for Roedad Khan and Dr Mubashir Hassan have requested for more time, so the hearing of the main case will take place afterwards and that so far it has been adjourned for unspecified time.

He said the Thursday’s order was an interim one in which the apex court had ordered the lower courts to swiftly complete the process of closing the cases against different people in accordance with clauses six and seven of the amended order of the Constitution.

Malik Qayyum, however, dismissed the impression that the government or the Presidency had influenced the date of hearing at this time.
Source: The News