ISLAMABAD - A five-member bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa would hear review petition against the June 27 and July 12 orders of the Supreme Court regarding implementation of its NRO judgment.
The federal government through Attorney General Irfan Qadir had filed the review petition on August 8, pleading the court to set aside its order requiring the PM to write to the Swiss for reopening of graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari and others.
Maintaining that the ‘legal errors’ in the apex court order of July 12 are required to be revisited, the government pleaded the court to set aside or recall this order. Admitting the review petition, the court has constituted a five-judge bench and set August 15 for hearing.
The apex court had struck down the dictator president Musharraf’s National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) in Dec 2009, ordering the government to reopen corruption cases closed under that illegal amnesty law.
Hearing the implementation case, the court on July 12 had asked Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf to write letter to the Swiss authorities without seeking any advice and the attorney general was directed to submit its compliance report by July 25.
When on July 25 the compliance report was not submitted, the Supreme Court set August 8 deadline for prime minister to implement its order. On August 8 also, the government failed to submit compliance report; therefore, the court indicted PM Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and directed him to appear before the court.
The review petition said: “The prime minster was bound to act upon the advice given by the federal cabinet and he had not received any such advice from his cabinet to implement para 178 (to write a letter to Swiss authorities) of the judgment,” the petition said. It added that in the NRO case, over 8,000 persons were not heard and thus “this was the only case of its kind in the judicial history of our planet”.
The petition further said that the Supreme Court’s June 27 and July 12 orders in this case were unlawful and if the letter had been written, it would have been a violation of article 248 of the constitution.
Another argument raised is that if the court itself could not write the letter to Swiss authorities, why was it expecting the prime minister to do so. “The Prime Minister of Pakistan by virtue of his oath is bound to preserve and protect the constitution and he is under a constitutional obligation to disregard any order of the court which negates the constitution or law,” it argued.
The petition maintained that the main judgment in the NRO case was recorded by 17-member bench and this could not be implemented by seven-member bench. It further added that former PM Yousuf Raza Gilani was convicted by following option No 2 specified by the apex court.
“Therefore, option No 2 has exhausted”; it could not apply as it had already been exercised against Gilani. It maintained that the issue of implementing para 178 no longer arose in respect of the incumbent PM as the court had already punished one prime minister on contempt of court charges.