SC resurrects NRO -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

SC resurrects NRO

ISLAMABAD – A special bench of Supreme Court Wednesday revived the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) 2007 by overruling a previous court order that stopped the subordinate judiciary from deciding any case under this law.

A five-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar, also dismissed three of the five constitutional petitions against the NRO due to continuous absence of petitioners.

Besides the Chief Justice, the larger bench comprised Justice Muhammad Nawaz Abbasi, Justice Faqir Muhammad Khokhar, Justice Ijazul Hassan and Justice Chaudhry Ejaz Yousaf.

The dismissed petitions were filed by President PML-N Mian Shahbaz Sharif, Amir JI Qazi Hussain Ahmed and Tariq Asad advocate but none of them turned up before the apex court after the event of November 3.

Proceeding with the remaining petitions against the NRO which were filed by Dr Mubashir Hassan, one of the PPP founding members and Roedad Khan, a retired bureaucrat, the apex court observed that the subordinate courts may dispose of cases under the provisions of NRO 2007.

With these remarks the bench adjourned hearing of the two remaining petitions against NRO till indefinite period of time. Hassan and Roedad were present in person. Dr Hassan submitted before the bench that his counsel, Abdul Hafeez Pirzada, could not turn up before the court as being abroad for medical treatment. Earlier, the counsel of Shahbaz Sharif informed the bench that he has no instructions from his client to proceed with the case. Roedad submitted that his counsel was also suffering from heart problem and sought adjournment.

Attorney General Malik Muhammad Qayyum also appeared before the bench and stated that the petitioners appear to be not interested in pleading their cases and the matter couldn’t be adjourned indefinitely. He requested the apex court to dismiss the petitions against the NRO and nullify a previous ruling that barred the courts from deciding the cases under NRO till the final decision of the apex court on petitions against NRO. He also stated that Article 270-AAA is part of the Constitution and only a two-third majority of Parliament can revisit its constitutionality.

Shortly after the promulgation of NRO in October last year, a four-member bench of the apex court headed by then Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry had barred the judiciary from adjudicating upon any case under the NRO. It specifically stopped the implementation on sections 6 and 7 of the NRO.

As a result of the negotiations between Musharraf regime and PPP leadership, NRO was introduced in October last year to provide amnesty to public office holders charged in different corruption cases between 1986 and 1999.

However, the apex court soon took its shine away when it barred the lower judiciary from deciding cases under NRO till it was sub judice.
Source: The Nation
Date:2/28/2008