SC office again returns review petition
By Nasir Iqbal
ISLAMABAD: The federal government faced another embarrassment when the Supreme Court office on Saturday returned its amended review petition against the Dec 16 verdict declaring the National Reconciliation Ordinance illegal and unconstitutional.
“Yes, the Supreme Court office has returned our additional grounds,” advocate-on-record Raja Abdul Ghafoor, who submitted the petition on behalf of the federal government, told Dawn.
This time the court office returned the petition with a host of objections on technical grounds, including the one that it was moved by Barrister Kamal Azfar.
It said the government, in its earlier petition filed on Jan 16, had requested through a separate application to dispense with the presence of Barrister Azfar, who had earlier pleaded the government case before a 17-judge SC bench hearing challenges to the NRO.
The government had requested that Mohammad Masood Chishti, an advocate, be allowed to represent it before the court in place of Barrister Azfar.
“That application is yet to be approved by the Supreme Court,” the SC office said. It also highlighted some problems with the language of the petition.
“Now this is with the government to decide either to re-file the same after removing objections or challenge the returning of the review petition before the court, AoR Abdul Ghafoor said.
The Supreme Court had on Feb 23 also returned because of technical reasons documents submitted by the federal government to form additional grounds along with its petition seeking review of the verdict against the NRO.
In its amended review petition, the government had pleaded that opening Swiss cases would be like putting the late Benazir Bhutto on trial and it was against all norms of justice, decency, morality and law.
It argued that the verdict on NRO contradicted the court’s earlier ruling on the NAB Ordinance.
Once the federation had made it clear that it would not contest petitions against the NRO, there were no justifiable reasons to hold a full hearing or issue a detailed judgment going beyond the parameters of pleadings and prayers in the matter, the additional grounds had argued.
The government said: “The federation was condemned unheard by the court on numerous important issues while deciding the NRO judgment in breach of the time-honoured judicial principle of natural justice i.e. the opportunity to be heard.
“The verdict on amnesty law also failed to appreciate that the NRO led to restoration of democracy in the country, resulting in the release of detained judiciary and their restoration by the democratic government. It also enabled the leaders of major political parties to return to Pakistan to participate in free and fair elections, thus paving way for the transition from military dictatorship to democracy.”