Pak SC indicates it could summon PM in NRO case

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 19, 2011 - 18:13

Islamabad: Pakistan`s Supreme Court has
indicated that it could summon the Prime Minister if the
government`s lawyers did not represent it in a case seeking a
review of the court`s decision striking down a graft amnesty
that benefited President Asif Ali Zardari and thousands of
others.

A 17-judge full bench of the apex court headed by
Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry yesterday issued show-cause
notices to the Solicitor General for misguiding the bench and
to a government advocate-on-record for dissociating himself
from the government`s petition seeking a review of a verdict
which scrapped the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO).

The apex court has expressed its exasperation over the
government`s apparent failure to appoint a counsel to
represent it in the crucial case, which was taken up by the
full bench after the ruling PPP filed a petition seeking a
review of the verdict that annulled the graft amnesty passed
by former President Pervez Musharraf in 2007.

During yesterday`s hearing, Chaudhry questioned who
would defend the NRO if nobody is willing to argue the case on
behalf of the government.

The Prime Minister is the representative of the
government and perhaps he should be asked to come forward to
plead the case, Chaudhry observed after the Attorney General
and the advocate-on-record declined to present arguments
during the hearing.

The Supreme Court has been irked by the government`s
perceived attempts to delay the hearing of the review petition
on one pretext or the other.

It subsequently adjourned the proceedings on the
request of Attorney General Anwarul Haq. Since the apex court
struck down the NRO last year, it has pressured the PPP-led
government to reopen corruption cases that were closed under
the amnesty.

The government is yet to take any action in this
regard though it has removed some minor officials who
benefited from the NRO.

President Zardari is among the more than 8,000
beneficiaries of the NRO.

The apex court has asked the government to communicate
with Swiss authorities to reopen cases involving the alleged
laundering of USD 60 million by Zardari.

The government has denied Zardari`s involvement in the
matter and the President`s aides have said he enjoys immunity
from criminal prosecution.

The apex court made it clear during yesterday`s
hearing that even if it dismissed the review petition because
of lack of interest shown by the government in pursuing the
matter, it would still hear the case regarding the steps taken
by the government to implement its order scrapping the NRO.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, April 19, 2011 - 18:13

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