The apex court issued notices to former presidents, General Pervez Musharraf and Asif Ali Zardari, and attorney general Pakistan. A three-member bench of the SC will hear the case.
The NRO was promulgated in Oct 2007 by the government of the then president Musharraf. Under the ordinance, cases against politicians were removed, paving the way for many of their return to the country.Earlier on June 6, nominating Musharraf, former president Asif Ali Zardari and former attorney general Malik Abdul Qayyum as respondents, petitioner Feroz Shah Gilani had requested the court to order recovery of ‘huge amounts of public money’ misappropriated and wasted by them through unlawful means ‘already on record in different judgments of the Supreme Court and high court’.
He had contended that Musharraf subverted the Constitution by declaring emergency followed by the promulgation of the NRO, through which criminal and corruption cases against politicians, including Zardari, were ‘arbitrarily withdrawn’ causing huge financial losses to the national exchequer.“Since the SC in its landmark judgment of Dec 16, 2009 has declared the NRO void ab initio, the respondents are liable to compensate the losses and the damage suffered by the exchequer of debt-ridden Pakistan, including the loss of $60 million stashed in Swiss banks allegedly by Zardari,” he said.
He had said Malik Qayyum had written a letter to the attorney general for Geneva to withdraw criminal and civil proceedings against Zardari, but the Supreme Court in its 2009 judgment held that Qayyum had written the letter in his personal capacity, against the Rules of Business, 1973.
“The actions of Musharraf and Qayyum by promulgating the NRO caused huge losses amounting to billions of rupees to debt-ridden Pakistan.“Both willfully violated the oath of office to the detriment of the country in violation of the rule of the law, particularly of Articles 2, 2A, 25, 227 of the Constitution,” the petition alleged.
Counsel for Zardari, Farooq H Naek requested the SC’s three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar to give him some time for filing a reply as he had received notice of the case a day earlier.
The federal government while submitting a reply stated that the SC’s December 16, 2009 judgment has already been complied with. The court later granted ten-day time to Naek for filing the reply.
Malik Qayyum has already submitted the reply, in which he has defended the letter to Swiss authorities for withdrawing of Pakistan’s plea to become party in the case against Zardari.