Future of NRO in Benazir’s hands: Sheikh Rashid

November 14th, 2007 - 2:57 am ICT by admin  
“The process of reconciliation can be stopped if Benazir Bhutto continued her irresponsible statements,” Rashid told media after farewell meeting with railway workers at railway workshops here.

The cabinet was against the National Reconciliation Ordinance, but supported the law on the advice of the president, Rashid said.

Pakistan’s Attorney General (AG) Malik Muhammad Qayyum has said that all cases against former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto stood automatically withdrawn after the promulgation of the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO).

He said, however, that all actions taken in line with the NRO would be withdrawn if the Supreme Court (SC) struck down the presidential order.

Earlier this month, the apex court put the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) that aims to grant amnesty to Bhutto on hold.

“Any benefit drawn or intended to be drawn by any of the public office holders shall be subject to the decision on these petitions,” Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry had said.

“The beneficiaries would not be entitled to claim any protection (from prosecution) if this court concludes that the ordinance and its provisions are beyond the Constitution. We are not against anyone; we only have to examine this law. We are not hearing a case against any specific individual,” Chaudhry said.

After this move of the apex court, the cases against Benazir, her husband Asif Zardari, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leaders and workers and other bureaucrats and other political leaders will remain what it was before the promulgation of the ordinance.

According to Rashid, the situation can become very complex.

The NRO that was promulgated on October 5, just a day before the presidential elections, grants general amnesty to all politicians, bankers and bureaucrats from charges relating to misdemeanours, misconduct and misuse of power between January 1986 and October 1999.

The date of promulgation of the ordinance was very tactical, as Benazir’s party MPs did not resign from the National and provincial assemblies to provide an element of legitimacy to President Pervez Musharraf’s re-election in uniform from the current legislatures.

The NRO has invited widespread protest and condemnation from various political parties, lawyers and public opinion leaders organizations. They even dubbed it as discriminatory and a gross violation of the Constitution.

The ordinance was also challenged in provincial courts of the country questioning Musharraf’s authority to grant general amnesty. (ANI)

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