Tag Archives: National Reconciliation Ordinance

Sick and Tired!

By: Agha Haider Raza

Over the past week Pakistan has read many different news items. From the passing of the 18th amendment to the bomb blast at the US Consulate, much is happening. Some may say the stories are for the betterment of our country while others may disagree. In my mind the successful visit of the Foreign Minister and his entourage to the United States gave Pakistan some much needed positive press. However, the current witch-hunt carried out by the Chief Justice and the ugly battle over the reopening of Zardari’s corruption cases has embarrassed many of those who fought for the independence of the judiciary. Now do not get me wrong, as much as I enjoyed protesting on the streets of Lahore for the reinstatement of the nation’s top judge, I can’t fathom Mr. Iftikhar’s current agenda of picking and choosing his enemies. When will we be able to see actual results from the “democratically” elected officials and the “independent” judiciary we as a nation have struggled to achieve for 62 years? When will stop pointing fingers and vilifying those whom we disagree with? Or have we gotten used to being stuck in this whirlpool of revengeful politics. Honestly, we Pakistanis have gotten sick and tired of the lies and broken promises. Continue reading


A judicial agenda for the times

By: Cyril Almeida

QUICK: name the chief justice of India. Can’t? How about Australia then? Brazil maybe? Canada, France or China? Russia, Malaysia or Turkey?

That CJ Iftikhar is a household name isn’t of course his fault. Credit for that goes to Musharraf, who clumsily tried to sack the judge who refused to do his bidding the second time round. However, that CJ Iftikhar and the non-PCO-II judges continue to make almost daily headlines is absolutely their choice. But why? What exactly is the court trying to achieve?

Conventional wisdom has it that you need to look no further than who is getting battered the most — the federal government — and who has the most to lose — Asif Zardari — to figure out the court’s agenda.  That possibility makes the baying-for-blood populists and transformation-seekers very happy and the legal purists concerned about due process, separation of powers, etc very unhappy.  Yet, assume for a minute that CJ Iftikhar’s court has an institutional agenda that goes beyond the fate of Zardari and his cohorts. It really isn’t so far-fetched. Continue reading

Majesty of Law

By: Mir Jamilur Rahman

People last week saw the operation of justice in all its majesty. The 17 judges of the Supreme Court declared unanimously that an accused person cannot be absolved of charges by an act of parliament. An ordinance promulgated by the president has the same force and effect as an act of parliament (Article 89(2)). President Musharraf, the product of a sham referendum, had conceived and promulgated the NRO to acquire legitimacy and another tenure and clean the slate for about 8,500 NAB-hit people, which included politicians, bureaucrats and party functionaries. They were accused of corruption and other criminal acts and undergoing trials in Ehtisab Courts. But the NRO washed out all accusations pending against them. However, Musharraf’s machination failed miserably because the PPP government gave him neither legitimacy nor another term. Heart-broken, Musharraf left the country to take shelter in London. Continue reading

The Pakistan Government along with her Military and Citizens.

By: Agha Haider Raza

In the December 18th New York Times publication, an article Pakistan Ministers Are Called Before the Courts was written by Jane Perlez and Salman Masood.  Though the article does state the annulment of the National Reconciliation Ordinance and the repercussions of the decision taken by the Pakistan Supreme Court, it has given an image portraying the Pakistan Army as an anti-democratic institution.  Understandably the Pakistan Army is going through a turbulent phase.  The army is currently engaged in a battle against militants who are adamant in bringing down the current democratic set up in Pakistan.  However, one must not forget that many of these militants have grown up in the same neighborhood as the army soldiers, and regardless of allegiance, it is always difficult to take up arms against a childhood acquaintance. Continue reading

Supreme Court declares NRO null and void

The Supreme Court has declared the controversial National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) null and void in a short order.

In a landmark decision, the apex court unanimously decided that the ordinance was unconstitutional.

All old cases that had been dismissed under the NRO stand revived and can now be reopened as per the court orders.

The court said that all orders that were passed and all acquittals under the NRO were illegal and never existed.

The apex court in its order also said that all convictions that were held prior to the enactment of the NRO stand revived as well.

Letters made to Swiss courts requesting the withdrawal of cases were also declared unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court asked the government to take action against the former attorney general for making these requests.

Presidential Spokesperson Farhatullah Babar called the verdict ‘shocking’ but said that the government will respect the courts decision.
Babar, however, pointed out that the president and the provincial governors enjoyed immunity from legal proceedings under the constitution.

-Dawn News

So what its just the NRO!

By: Agha Haider Raza

So the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) beneficiaries list comes out.  The media is happy that those persons who enjoyed taking advantage of the NRO have light casted upon them, while the government is trying to push forward the argument of how they have respected the Supreme Court’s judgment and have publicized the list.  It seems to be a win-win situation for all parties.  But is it really?  Calls for the resignation of ministries and portfolios have echoed from all corners.  How has this zero-sum game turned into a finger-pointing-name-calling battle? Continue reading