Pak SC puts amnesty ordinance on hold

November 14th, 2007 - 2:10 am ICT by admin  
“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 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,” The News quoted Chaudhry, as saying.

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 Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid, the situation can become very complex and Benazir’s homecoming could be affected in the wake of the apex court’s order.

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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