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Pak: Should Zardari be worried by the SC ruling?

Source: PTI
August 01, 2009 21:38 IST
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Pakistan Supreme Court's historic judgement declaring the 2007 emergency as "unconstitutional" has put President Asif Ali Zardari in a fix as part of its ruling the apex court has struck down the National Reconciliation Ordinance.

The NRO gave immunity to Zardari from corruption charges, allowed his late wife Benazir Bhutto to return home from exile and has granted amnesty to politicians, bureaucrats and political workers accused of corruption, embezzlement, money laundering and even murder and terrorism, the News said.

The Supreme Court judgement gives just another 90 days starting on Saturday for parliament to either turn it into an Act or watch it dissolve.

The real test for the judgement would come when legal experts decide whether the benefits taken under NRO are legal in nature or are they transactions that shall be treated as past and closed.

This crucial issue, the paper said, is likely to be decided through a host of petitions that are likely to flood the courts in the coming days. Quoting sources, the paper said, that Jamaat-e-Islami and former cricketer Imran Khan's party Tehreek-e-Insaaf are all set to file petitions in this regard in the coming weeks.

The NRO promulgated by former President Pervez Musharraf, was revoked by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Choudhry in 2007, but revived by his successor Abdul Hameed Dogar in February 2008.

The new ruling has held Dogar's appointment unconstitutional and invalidated all his rulings. The newspaper named the beneficiaries of the NRO ranging from hardline parliamentarian Maulana Fazlur Rahman of the Jamaat ulema-e-Islam, the junior partner in the ruling federal coalition, former Prime Minister Zafrullah Khan Jamali and a host of retired army generals.

The paper said among the judges who were sacked 15 were from the Supreme Court, 41 from Lahore High Court, 27 from the Sindh High Court, 10 of the Peshwar HIgh Court, all five of the Balochistan High Court, eight of the Islamabad High Court and four judges from Shariah Courts.

But, Friday's judgement has reinstated all these judges immediately. "Like they say, the devil is in details and come the detailed judgement of the apex court, life may become far tougher in the coming days," the paper opined.

The key issue of whether the NRO has been protected and whether the beneficiaries of NRO still remain protected has been left in a cloud of legal interpretations and uncertainty, it said.

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