Non-implementation of NRO verdict: 16th is the ‘day of judgement’
* SC says non-implementation of Dec 16, 2009, judgement by PM sheer contempt of court
* PM’s stance he acted on advice of secretaries ‘no longer valid’
By Hasnaat Malik
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday decided to announce its decision on April 16 over non-implementation of its orders by the prime minister about writing to Swiss authorities for reopening of corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.
On March 8, a seven-member SC bench – headed by Justice Nasirul Mulk had directed Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani to write a letter to Swiss authorities “regardless of the advice of secretaries”.
On Thursday, the court said that non-implementation of its December 16, 2009, judgement about the NRO case by the prime minister was a “sheer contempt of court”.
Justice Nasirul Mulk said the PM’s defence that he acted on the advice of secretaries was no longer valid as the court had passed a specific order to Gilani on March 8 about the matter.
Attorney General (AG) Maulvi Anwarul Haq told the court that the prime minister had submitted a report in his defence in court.
The court said the PM had asked for postponement of the NRO case’s implementation proceedings while the court had ordered for the compliance of its December 16, 2009, order.
Instead of submitting a report about implementation of the court’s order, the prime minister on March 21 wrote to the court, refusing to write a letter to Swiss authorities. He also requested the court to take up the matter after the final decision on contempt of court proceedings.
The premier through his principal secretary said, “The very issue in question is already sub judice before the same honourable bench.”
The prime minister had said that although the present proceedings and those in the contempt of court case were different, “the issue involved is essential and materially the same”. The court was also told that the prime minister had already filed a written statement in the contempt of court case while evidence had already been recorded.
On March 8, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, said the court had given a clear direction to Gilani that “instead of seeing here and there write a letter to Swiss authorities” and that the prime minister would expose himself to another contempt if he did not implement the SC’s order.
“Whether authority of the prime minister is above the SC?” the court asked the AG, adding, “The PM can’t say that he could not implement the order because it’s non-implementable.”
Justice Gulzar Saeed said the situation would aggravate if the prime minister did not comply with the court’s order.
Justice Nasirul Mulk said the court’s order for wring a letter without getting any advice was a separate issue. He added continuation of contempt proceedings did not mean the prime minister was not accountable for implementation of the NRO verdict as well as writing a letter to Swiss authorities.
“Now, the prime minister and law secretary will have to interpret court’s orders,” said Justice Gulzar.
The court said that its second order to the prime minister for writing a letter was also not implemented, “thus an appropriate decision will be given over it on April 16”.