Pakistan Cyber Force: NRO verdict: SC issues contempt of court notice to PM

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Monday, January 16, 2012

NRO verdict: SC issues contempt of court notice to PM

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The Supreme Court of Pakistan issued a contempt of court notice to Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Monday and directed him to appear personally before the bench on January 19, our sources reported.
During the proceedings, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Fasih Bokhari tendered an unconditional apology to the court, on which the court said that a written apology should be submitted.

Earlier, the apex court resumed the proceedings of the National Reconciliation Ordianance (NRO) implementation case and ordered Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq to seek replies from the government.

Justice Asif Saeed Khosa observed that the court’s orders were not being taken “seriously”.

AG trying to make a lame excuse told the court that he had forwarded the court’s orders but a reply has not yet been received. Justice Nasirul Mulk replied that the court had ordered the AG to bring a reply, not just forward the orders.
Earlier, a seven-member bench hearing the case had deferred the proceedings till 11 am due to the absence of the AG.
Justice Nasirul Mulk observed that the bench knew about AG Haq’s application for adjustment of the case, but he should have been present to inform the court about how long he wanted the hearing to be adjourned.
After consultation, the bench put off the matter for the attorney general.
Proceedings of NRO and Memogate cases are being carried forward simultaneously and the AG has to be present in both the hearings.

The AG had approached the chief justice to adjust the date of hearings. He informed the chief justice that he would have a “hard time” attending the memo commission proceedings and the NRO case at the same time.
The seven-member bench of the Supreme Court comprised Justice Mulk, Justice Khosa, Justice Sarmad Jalal Osmany, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry, Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Muhammad Ather Saeed.
The hype reached a fever pitch on January 10 when a bench chaired by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa gave six options against the government for non-compliance in the NRO implementation case, including disqualification for Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and President Asif Ali Zardari.

The bench had earlier formulated six options for itself to exercise in case the executive failed to implement the court order.

Option 1: Disqualification
Reading out the nine-page order inside the courtroom, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa imputed dishonesty to the prime minister for failing to keep his oath on protection of the Constitution. Elaborating upon the prime minister’s role, the bench said Article 190 made it obligatory upon him to comply with the Supreme Court’s verdict in letter and spirit.

The bench said it has the option of recording adverse findings against the prime minister, which could permanently block him from getting elected as a member of Parliament. The president and the law minister also seem to have breached their oaths too and could very well share the fate of the prime minister, the court stated.

Option 2: Contempt proceedings
The bench said the prime minister and the law minister could face contempt proceedings for “persistently, obstinately and contumaciously resisting” to implement the judgment. A possible conviction may entail a disqualification from being elected as a member of parliament for five years, the bench warned.

Option 3: Commission implements NRO
Highlighting its powers under Article 187, coupled with the Supreme Court Rules, 1980, the bench stated that it may appoint a commission to execute the relevant parts of the NRO judgment.

Option 4: Claim immunity
Referring to protection to the president, the prime minister and the federal minister under Article 248 of the Constitution, the bench said anyone claiming immunity should raise it before the court. “…If anybody … wishes to be heard on that question then an opportunity may be afforded to him in that respect before exercise of any of these options,” the bench held.

Option 5: Action against NAB chief
The bench observed that the NAB Chairman Fasih Bokhari defied court directions on taking action against those responsible for appointing Ahmed Riaz Sheikh as additional director FIA, and Adnan A Khwaja as managing director OGDCL. While appointing them, the authorities had ignored the fact that their convictions stood restored after the court ruled against the NRO.

Besides, the chairman did not take any action against former attorney general Malik Muhammad Qayyum, who had misused his authority in writing a letter to the Swiss authorities for withdrawal of cases against the president. The bench said chairman’s inaction fell in the ambit of misconduct and attracted the provisions of NAB ordinance on removal from office.

Option 6: Leave it to the people
In sharp contrast to its other options, the bench said it could leave the matter up to the judgment of the people or their representatives in parliament to deal with the delinquents.

Pakistan Cyber Force



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