Pakistani Supreme Court strikes down controversial amnesty law

Zardari currently has no plans to resign willingly

By Hasan Khan

2009-12-16

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: - The Supreme Court of Pakistan declared the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) unconstitutional December 16, reviving all cases of corruption, misuse of power and embezzlement abolished under this law.

A full court, comprising 17 judges of the Supreme Court of Pakistan headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, unanimously declared the law unconstitutional, and null and void.

Speaking to media, senior lawyer Hafiz Pirzada said all cases of a civil and criminal nature against politicians and former government officials, including incumbent President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari, stand restored to their position as of October 5, 2007 - the date when the controversial law was signed into law by former President Pervez Musharraf.

Reacting to the court decision, Zardari’s spokesman Farhatullah Babar told reporters that the People’s party respects the court verdict. However, Babar said Zardari has immunity under article 248 of Pakistan’s constitution.

“There is no question of President Zardari’s resignation”, Babar said.

Jamaat Islami leader Qazi Hussain Ahmed said the decision will have lasting impact on Pakistan’s political scene. Talking to reporters, Qazi advised Zardari to resign without waiting for the people to demand it.

The controversial law abolished all cases of criminal, corruption, embezzlement and misuse of power against politicians and government officials registered from January 1, 1986 to October 12, 1999.

The Supreme Court in a landmark decision July 31, 2009, asked the government to approve all ordinances pending in parliament, including the NRO, which was up for renewal.

However, on November 4, 2009, facing resistance from opposition parties, the government, withdrew the NRO bill from the agenda of the National Assembly. The government then decided not to defend the law before the court.

Zardari is not the only beneficiary of the law.

The leader of the Muthahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Altaf Hussian, is reported to be the biggest beneficiary with 71 cases, including murders and attempted murder, withdrawn against him.

The mother-in-law of Zardari, Nusrat Bhutto, PPP leader Jehangir Badr, interior minister Rehman Malik, and defense minister Ahmad Mukhtar also benefited from the law.

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Reader Comments

  • carrying on that good job and pry for the Pakistan you people are doing the good job i appraciate you love to all may you live long|

    December 21, 2009 @ 09:12:00AM abid maqsood
  • The article is good and the contents are very true. But this is the first time, any court of Pakistan has given decision against the government. I doubted it, as this may be a big drama, some big plan behind it. May be this government has planned to change the faces from Zardari to Nawaz Sharif but won\'t make a difference, both are cheater and dacoits. Who else is there to take over, not a single person who can be called a gentleman, all politicians are corrupt. All should be hanged in one line and then only it is possible to make a good pakistan. The second thing, pakistani people are also corrupt wherever & whenever they get a chance to grab something, they grab & call themselves a gentleman pakistan, shit on them. It is written in the Quran, when people loose their eiman, we set them with cruel leaders (Government).

    December 21, 2009 @ 03:12:00AM Stevenson
  • This is a very ordinary article.It does not throw any new light on the subject.The problem with the people is that they do not distinguish between knowledge and understanding.By knowledge one can talk on the matter but when it comes to drawing of conclusions such people are more often than not,wrong. Pakistan problems flow from GHQ whose corruption and machination have landed her in the mess that she is in.Yes,it was aided by Nawaz SHARIF AND OTHERS.So here was a gang of thieves crying thief.SC and media are,as they are wont to do toeing this

    December 19, 2009 @ 11:12:00PM shaukat jamil
  • its a great decisions by a great nation Pakistan.

    December 18, 2009 @ 05:12:00AM safdar hussain
  • all are the best

    December 18, 2009 @ 03:12:00AM tigist menberu