The Supreme Court has rejected the review petition on National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) filed by the federal government, and ordered that its earlier verdict pronounced on December 16, 2009, must be implemented in letter and in spirit. The NRO, which was imposed by President Pervez Musharraf in 2007, granted amnesty to more than 8,000 politicians, political workers, bureaucrats, etc, who had been accused of corruption, embezzlement, money laundering, murder and terrorism. Interestingly, Benazir Bhutto who was one of the two signatories to the NRO, with the other being Musharraf, called it a black law. It paved the way for the current ruling leadership to return to Pakistan and precluded any possibility of their trial. All pending cases against the accused were closed. Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, while chastising the counsel for the federation, Mr Babar Awan, for not being present in the court on Friday, the day of the announcement of its ruling on the review petition, remarked that a senior lawyer like Babar Awan should have known that 17 senior judges were sitting in the court, and should have attended. Babar Awan, known for his boorishness and fulminations against the judiciary, had adopted at best a dilatory attitude on the previous four days of hearing. The Law Secretary, who was present on Friday, also adopted a defiant attitude. He read out just one of the documents that the counsel wanted to present, and refused to proceed; the Attorney-General read the second. Legal luminaries across the board have asserted that the government has no legal recourse left but to put the order into effect. While pleading immunity for the President, PPPs Aitzaz Ahsan felt certain that the government would implement it. Former Law Minister S. M. Zafar said that though the NRO was signed by his government, it was a black law then, is a black law now and will be forever. Retired Justice Saeed-uz-Zaman Siddiqui remarked that the government has no choice but to implement it. And retired Justice Wajiuddin said that the NRO was against the Constitution and the demands of justice. Interior Minister Rehman Malik accepted the verdict, but maintained that the matter pertained to the Law Ministry. Information Minister Firdous Awan, however, said that decision would be taken at a meeting of the PPPs core committee. Thus, the overwhelming, rather unanimous, legal opinion leaves no room for doubt that the verdict would have to be implemented. Nevertheless, given the defiant attitude of the government, it seems hardly likely that the judgement on the review petition would make it change its mind now. In that case, the situation would take an ugly turn, with unpredictable results. And the prospect of another agitation by the legal community looks certain, as Supreme Court Bar Association President Yasin Azad avers that the entire Bar would stand by the apex court.