The civil society and the lawyer's fraternity stand totally bewildered why the judges' matter still awaits resolution. We have heard all kinds of hopelessly outlandish explanations from the government. It is said that to undo an admittedly wrong action a constitutional amendment is needed How can anyone be so ignorant of the law to contend as such when both law and politics want a simpler answer? I am astonished and much saddened that in the Pakistan political and social milieu the forces of evil appear to be holding firm. It is not a small matter that despite the clear writing on the wall that without solving the matter of judges' restoration, PPP and Zardari are doomed to a dismal a failure. The truth of the matter is that Musharraf after saying so much about Zardari and BB suddenly agreed to let them come? Irrespective of the fact that the US and British Foreign administrations intervened in this deal, the simple quid pro quo for Musharraf was exactly what is now transpiring. For getting several leaders literally keep the hundreds of millions of Dollars of corruption money and by foreclosing the threat of long jail sentences, he has them literally hanging in the air. The basic passport of the survival of such leaders is the infamous National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO). What the president did was to put this NRO in the constitution schedules along with the same illegal bunch of "laws" that were enacted pursuant to the November 3 usurpation. If the judges come back by having that Musharraf act considered unlawful ab initio by a National Assembly Resolution, the NRO constitutional safeguards also goes. So the PPP leadership have to be worried as they cannot agree to their own ouster from the highest positions in the county right now just for the sake of judges who "if" they come back will strike down this NRO. One cannot fail to see that everyday the applications for acquittal from serious corruption cases has come from these very leaders, all of whom were living in luxury in the US or UK until October when the NRO was signed by Musharraf. So if the NRO falls they face possible hardship and the possible restitution of lots of illegal money. I think that forgetting past misdeeds is reluctantly acceptable if it leads to national goodwill. But to do so to give a perpetual cover of practical indemnity to a military ruler is not something I can agree with. It is wrongly said that Chief Justice Chaudhry proceeded suo moto against this NRO. This is absolutely wrong. There were actually three petitions filed in the court under Article184 (3). One of these petitions was by a retired bureaucrat and another from an eminent former PPP politician, while I was the lead counsel for the Jamat-i-Islami chief Qazi Hussain Ahmed in the third and the main matter. No court, in my view could have taken a different view while admitting this matter as it involved transgression of many established principles of jurisprudence and the UN laws dealing with corruption. These petitions were head and admitted by a three-member bench in which the chief justice was just a member. So the wrath of the PPP leaders on the chief justice is hardly meritorious. That it was this political milieu in which General Musharraf on Friday, October 5, 2007, promulgated this National Reconciliation Ordinance, which provides across-the-board indemnity to alleged corruption and corrupt practices by politicians and holders of public offices in the past. Under the ordinance, cases of corruption against public office-holders would be withdrawn and no public office-holder would be arrested in future in corruption cases and powers of the chairman National Accountability Bureau have been considerably clipped. The federal and provincial governments are now empowered that they may, before the judgement is pronounced by a trial court, withdraw from the prosecution of any person, including an absconding accused that is found to be falsely involved for political reasons or through political victimisation in any case initiated between January 1, 1986 to October 12, 1999. This is exactly what has happened in many cases involving many who are in daily news as being the leaders of the current coalition in power. That to sugarcoat the swallowing of this bitter pill of dishonesty, the general (retd) used the high sounding adjectival description. "National Reconciliation Ordinance, 2007" which allegedly aimed at promoting national reconciliation, fostering mutual trust and confidence amongst holders of public office and remove the vestiges of political vendetta and victimisation, and to make the election process more transparent. The truth is quite the contrary. It was forced upon Musharraf by the British and the US to accommodate the criticism that they were helping stark dictatorship in Pakistan. This Musharraf-Bhutto deal would be remembered as "marriage of convenience." Under the provision of this ordinance, the NAB chairman shall not be able to arrest any sitting member of parliament or a provincial assembly unless he secures the consent of the Special Parliamentary Committee on Ethics, both at the federal and provincial levels. The NAB chairman will have to produce the entire material and evidence before the committee. It says, "No sitting member of parliament or a provincial assembly shall be arrested without taking into consideration the recommendations of Special Parliamentary Committee on Ethics or Special Committee of the Provincial Assembly on Ethics, before which the entire material and evidence shall be placed by the chairman NAB." This NRO introduced major amendments in the Code of Criminal Procedure 1989, NAB Ordinance, and Representation of the People Act 1976. Howsoever looked at objectively no law knowing person can think otherwise except that this ordinance is an act of national dishonesty. There cannot be a more convincing evidence of the political bankruptcy of our civilian leaders than the spectacle of their secret intrigues with the generals for short-term political gains. The National Reconciliation Ordinance of October 5 far from serving the cause of national reconciliation is simply meant to legalise the corruption and the crimes of the powerful in the country. The morality and principles of constitutional jurisprudence enshrined in the constitution forbid this kind of mockery of abuse of power. It is against the Objectives Resolution and also against many fundamental rights of the people of Pakistan. In particular, it is against Article 25, 9, 14 24 2, 2A and 4. It is also against international practices concerning corruption policies now mandated by the international community. I cannot see therefore that the judges' restoration can take effect until Zardari finds some way to save the NRO from being legally demolished along with the other actions of Musharraf taken on November 3, 2007. This constitutional package announced this week contains 62 clauses would definitely contain a clause somewhere to accomplish this unholy end Perhaps in exasperation the PPP co-chairman had to admit to his latest interviews with the foreign media that he remains under intense pressure to impeach Musharraf since in his view Musharraf remains a threat to democracy. I can visualise the president using his bullying tactics to browbeat Zardari in making political turns according to his wishes. The writer is barrister at law (UK), senior advocate Supreme Court, attorney at law (US), and professor Harvard University