Law minister authorized to take steps on NRO directive: PM tells SC

 

Supreme Court

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Raja Parvez Asharaf, Tuesday apprised the Supreme Court that he had authorized Minister for Law and Justice to take steps for implementation of apex court’s directive in relevant para of the NRO judgement.

Appearing before a five-Judge bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, the Prime Minister said under SC’s previous observation, he had authorized the law minister to fully cooperate with the Court in implementation of its directive in NRO, and pleaded that in face of various national and international issues and pressing engagements, he might be given personal exemption from appearing in the court.Accepting his request, the bench granted him exemption from personal appearance till further orders.

Prime Minister Ashraf informed the bench that as per his commitment inlast hearing to make out his best efforts to resolve the issue, he has asked LawMinister to write the letter. This issue had created unrest and uncertainty amongthe people and government functionaries and was also affecting the state apparatus, he noted.“After looking into the complexities of the issue, I have instructed the law minister that the letter written by Malik Qayyum, former attorney general, which the court had termed as unauthorized and illegal in its judgement, would be withdrawn,” he observed.

He also pleaded that the Court might also address “the concerns of Federation” involved in the issue.The Prime Minster pointed out that he made his sincere efforts toaddress the concerns of federation and upholding dignity of the judiciary.He said the concerns were not about the person of Asif Ali Zardari but about the office of the President.Expressing his optimism, the PM noted that now the issue would be resolved to a great extent.Enumerating his pressing engagements, he said that RussainPresident Vladimir Putin was due in Pakistan on October 2 to attend four nationsconference while President Asif Ali Zardari would leave for New York to addressUnited Nations to highlight problems facing Pakistan.

Most recently, a large chunk of the country’s land was inundated with floods while the general elections were just round the corner, he observed.Feeling satisfaction with his recently concluded visit to China, the Prime Minister said that he also felt pressure from media who inquired about the instant issue.He said being a prime minister and general secretary of PPP, he would have to take steps to protect the constitutional sanctity of the office of President and dignity of the Court.

The bench lauded his efforts for resolution the long standing issue.Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa while appreciating the stance of PrimeMinister, told him that they would have to adopt four steps onwards forimplementation of its directive. Firstly, the authorization which should beproduced in writing, secondly, draft of the letter to meet the directivecontained in para 178 and upto the satisfaction of the court, thirdly, dispatchto and receipt by the concerned Swiss and other authorities and fourthly, confirmation of such communication.

Justice Khosa assured the PM that the bench would address Federation’sconcerns and would not go beyond what they had written in para 178.Drawing his attention to a verdict in former prime minister’s contempt case, Justice Khosa said that they had already written four paras regarding international immunity for the head of state under customary laws.Upon bench’s insistence to complete the first two processes intwo days, Ashraf requested the Court to defer proceedings till end of thismonth.

The bench told law minister Farooq H. Naek, present in the court that the Prime Minister/Chief Executive of the country had directed him over the issue and he had to comply with his directives.Naek assured the bench that he was not seeking time for any other reason but would make efforts to draft a letter for the satisfaction of the bench.“We want to give a message to the nation that there is no clash of institutions”, he maintained.

Upon his assurance, the bench adjourned further hearing till September 25, and noted down in its order that the Prime Minister and the law minister had undertaken before the Court that authorization letter and draft of the letter would be produced before the court to meet requirement of direction in para 178 of the NRO judgement. APP