Pak SC may take up legal challenges against NRO next week
Islamabad: Adding to woes of President Asif
Ali Zardari, Pakistan's Supreme Court is expected to take up
next week legal challenges to the amnesty granted to him and
thousands of other people in graft cases under a controversial
law which lapsed three days back.
Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry is likely to constitute a
special bench of the apex court next week to decide the fate
of the people granted amnesty under the National
Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO).
The NRO, which expired on November 28, was issued by
former military ruler Pervez Musharraf two years ago to scrap
corruption cases filed against Zardari, his slain wife former
premier Benazir Bhutto and other politicians and bureaucrats
between 1986 and 1999.
Figures provided recently by the government showed that
over 8,000 people benefited from the NRO.
The NRO lapsed last week after the PPP-led government
failed to get it ratified by Parliament in line with an order
issued by the Supreme Court.
A majority of legal experts believe that pending
petitions challenging the NRO could be taken up for hearing
next week, the 'Daily Times' newspaper reported today.
Petitions against the NRO have been filed in the apex
court by former finance minister Mubashar Hassan and retired
bureaucrat Reodad Khan.
Legal experts said after the NRO's lapse, pending
petitions that challenged the law's validity were a constant
worry for beneficiaries as the cases could be revived against
them if the apex court declared the ordinance
However, Zardari has said that he enjoys constitutional
immunity by virtue of being the President and cases against
him could not be taken up as long as he remains in the post.
In February last year, a Supreme Court bench headed by
then Chief Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar, who was appointed by
Musharraf, vacated an earlier apex court order freezing some
sections of the NRO and allowed beneficiaries of the law to
enjoy immunity in graft cases.