| GEO Pakistan|
| Supreme Court declares NRO unconstitutional|
| Updated at: 2206 PST, Wednesday, December 16, 2009|
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan has struck down the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), saying it is unconstitutional.
A 17-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, in his short order, declared the ordinance as null and void.
According to the judgment, the NRO is contrary to the equality guaranteed by the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan. Similarly, all the cases, disposed off because of the controversial ordinance, now stand revived as of Oct 5, 2007 position, said the judgment.
In addition, the court has ordered the government that it should immediately reopen the Swiss cases concerning President Asif Ali Zardari.
"The provisions of the NRO seem to be against national interests thus it violates the several provisions of the constitution," the ruling said.
Earlier, during hearing of petitions against the NRO, the chief justice said even parliament has no right to change the basic structure of the constitution.
“In accordance to oath, we are committed to safeguard the constitution,” he remarked.
Earlier, the chief justice has warned the NAB Chairman Naveed Ahsan about a stern action if something false detected in the list. He ordered the NAB Chairman to sign the list if it was correct. On the court’s order, he signed the list.
The court summoned the summary file of directives issued for the elimination Swiss cases when the hearing resumed on Wednesday. On the excuse of acting attorney general, the court summoned principal secretary and secretary law. Secretary law while presenting the file in the court said attorney general wrote the letter for withdrawal of cases on the directives of Asif Zardari’s lawyer Farooq H Naek that was opposed by the than law minister Zahid Hamid.
The court has expressed displeasure on acting attorney general and said he hide the truth. The principal secretary of president Salman Farooqi informed the court that cases files are not present in presidency. The files were in president’ camp office in Rawalpindi.
The court advisor Mian Allah Nawaz in his arguments termed the NRO as filthy law and said any, which is beneficial for some individuals, is illegal. Another court advisor Shaiq Usmani said there is no legal ground of giving amenity under NRO. President could only issue the ordinance, which will convert into law by the assembly.
In his remarks, chief justice said how assembly could declare corruption as legal. The judges in their remarks said NRO is against Quranic teachings and amenity could only be given to political cases.
The judges said that if it were an ordinance for national reconciliation, then Baloch leaders and Altaf Hussain should also have been called to the country. During the final stages of the hearing, Salman Raja, Akram Chaudhry, Dr Farooq Hussain, Shahid Orakzai and Abdul Hafiz Pirzada completed their arguments.