Islamabad: Pakistan`s Supreme Court on Thursday questioned why government functionaries had caused a delay in implementing its verdict nullifying a graft amnesty that had benefited thousands of people, including President Asif Ali Zardari.
The apex court`s observations came during the hearing by a five-judge larger bench of a suo moto case on the non-implementation of its verdict on the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), which was issued by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf to scrap thousands of graft cases.
After striking down the NRO last year, the Supreme Court had directed the government to reopen corruption cases against thousands of people, including Zardari.
The apex court especially directed the government to revive corruption cases against Zardari in Switzerland but authorities have done little so far to implement the order.
Justice Raja Fayyaz Ahmed, a member of the bench, observed that four months had passed since the apex court gave its verdict and it was yet to be implemented.
"What about compliance with the court`s orders, what is the constitutional obligation?" Ahmed asked when Deputy Attorney General Agha Tariq Mehmood sought more time from the court to implement the verdict.
"Should we issue notice to the Prime Minister, he is the government...What is happening? It is the responsibility of the Prime Minister to implement the order of the apex court," Ahmed said.
The Deputy Attorney General told the bench that the government respected the apex court`s verdict. Ahmed retorted: "Yes, you respect the Supreme Court`s verdict but do not implement it."
At the outset of the hearing, the Deputy Attorney General submitted a report that said an inquiry was conducted to fix responsibility on government officials involved in promoting an official of the Federal Investigation Agency despite knowing that he was a beneficiary of the NRO.
The bench later adjourned the hearing till May 06.
Tensions between the Pakistan People`s Party-led government and Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry have increased since the apex court began pressuring authorities to implement its order to reopen graft cases against Zardari and his close aides.
Senior PPP leaders have insisted that the President enjoys immunity from criminal prosecution. The apex court on Wednesday struck down the promotion of 54 bureaucrats by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, adding to the tensions between the government and the judiciary.