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So what it’s just the NRO!

By: Agha Haider Raza

So the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) beneficiaries list comes out.  The media is happy that those persons who enjoyed taking advantage of the NRO have light casted upon them, while the government is trying to push forward the argument of how they have respected the Supreme Court’s judgment and have publicized the list.  It seems to be a win-win situation for all parties.  But is it really?  Calls for the resignation of ministries and portfolios have echoed from all corners.  How has this zero-sum game turned into a finger-pointing-name-calling battle?

As we all now know, the NRO was a ‘bail-out’ for politicians and businessmen, giving them a clean sheet.  This not only cleared the way for billions of rupees to be kept in the hands of defaulters, but also allowed plenty of politicians to get re-elected as their corruption charges were taken out of the court as well.  Though many readers would say that I am playing the ethnic card here, I’d like to know why 96% of the beneficiaries are Sindhi’s?  Secondly, if the PPP, claims itself to be a liberal-democratic party, why have they not asked for a majority vote on such a sensitive issue? After all, the billions of rupees that have been siphoned through this ordinance are Pakistani’s money, not the beneficiaries.  Why should this debt be written off?

What I find more ironic though after following up on the July 31st Supreme Court verdict, and the publication of the NRO beneficiary names, is how no one wants to own up to actually using the advantages of this disgusting piece of legislation.  Prime Minister Gillani made a bold statement by openly declaring how he would tender his resignation if it could be proven that his wife was a beneficiary.  Our Minister for Defense has today also articulated that he has nothing to do with the NRO, while Pakistan’s High Commissioner in London Wajid Shamsul Hasan “feels hurt by mention of his name with reference to NRO beneficiaries”. Furthermore, the Presidents right-hand man, the quintessential wazir , Mr. Salman Faruqui has also articulated that has not taken any relief under the NRO and is an “innocent victim”.

Why the embarrassment, my respected statesmen? The Ordinance was drafted so that you could finally show your innocence to the rest of the nation.  If my understanding is correct, the NRO only cleared those cases that were “politically motivated”.  So if you have nothing to be ashamed about, since the cases were only initiated as a political vendetta, why bother if your name is found on the list?  I mean, here we are, having the Prime Minister of Pakistan, the world’s 38th most powerful man, offering to resign if his wife can be proven to have taken advantage of the NRO.  Mr. Prime Minister, if you are willing to go to such lengths and give up the most sought-out job in Pakistan, why not solve the problem, since you have obviously identified it?

Hopefully we won’t be seeing a repeat of the judicial crisis, which in the end only became a battle of egos. But alas, we have politicized yet another piece of legislation. Here we thought years of dictatorship would teach our Parliament a lesson, and they would, for once; listen to what the very people who elected them have to say.  The Chief Justice has given a half volley to the government by throwing the NRO ball in the court of the Presidency.  Either the President smacks it for six or is clean bowled. Rarely in politics is one given so many chances to redeem themselves, but here, President Zardari has been handed yet another a golden opportunity to side with the people of Pakistan and annul the NRO. One can only hope that the rumor of President Zardari using the powers given to him under Article 89 of promulgating ordinances will not become a reality.

Sacrificing for the greater good seems to be what is really required at this point.  Article 58 2(b) and the 17th Amendment are two other sensitive issues that require a Pakistani stance, not a Presidential one.  Frankly speaking President Zardari, no one is going to forget your title of Mr. 10 per cent, and although you may have never been convicted of corruption charges your money laundering stories will always remain tied to you.  But I can tell you this much Mr. President: if you become the bigger man, rise to the occasion and annul the NRO and bring accountability to Pakistan, you will get the political limelight you strive for, and Pakistan will get the honor it truly deserves!


11 Comments

  • Raza M.Qureshi |

    The top man in NRO beneficiary is Asif Ali Zardari and his some most obedient Ministers, but all of them has refused for their involvement in any corruption. The latest name in corruption of the Minister is well known figure is Dr Babar Awan, but all these figures including their big boss are denying from any corruption and bebeficiary from NRO. They all are refusing as usual " MEIN NA MANOO ". The power is with them and their JIALAS are sitting in Judiciary, so who will punish them.

  • Hasan |

    "The latest name in corruption of the Minister is well known figure is Dr Babar Awan"

    Mubashar Luqman;


  • Sarosh |

    I have long since come to believe that people never mean half of what they say, and most of the times they play to the empty benches.So it is better to shake them off with a smile of unconcernthat is the best to disregard their talk and judge only their action. Majority of Pakistanis well know that why President Zardari has been so much vilified on issue of NRO which he hasn’t promulgated? The establishment of Pakistan is so corrupt and inefficient that it can dissolve the most competent leaders and managers. Who would believe on these fabricated stories aimed at character assassination? The issue is in courts. Mud sling over NRO and corruption charges will definitely harm political situation and create turmoil as we are already in state of war. We must be patient and wait until court decides on the issue of NRO. What is mean of getting too excited over tiny issues when they are going to be addressed sooner or later.

  • Ria |

    If we are forever going over the past, how do you ever expect Pakistan to progress?! Zardari has been democratically elected our president and spent time in jail for charges against him that could never be truly proven. Get over the NRO already! We're in a state of war, not in a position to be contemplating changes of government just because our media's propagating bullshit!

  • Aamir Mughal |

    Baluchistan is burning [ask those innocent Punjabis who have been living there since more than 60 years in Quetta and are being targeted for the mistakes of very few, they are leaving Baluchistan], NWFP is burning, Punjab is burning and GEO TV/JANG GROUP OF NEWSPAPERS have started a very dangerous and dirty game just to settle score with Zardari which will ultimately weaken Pakistan and Sindh will also burn. Criticizing Zardari for bad governance is one thing but exploiting National Assets to hound Zardari is treason and JANG GROUP AND GEO TV ARE INDULGED IN IT TO SETTLE PERSONAL SCORE –

    http://chagataikhan.blogspot.com/2009/11/geo-tvja

  • farrah shah |

    Amir

    Baluchistan is burning ..agreed .but what has this got to do with Geo.

    Honestly speaking or in my perception it is Mr.Zardari's contracts which he signed earlier this year with Indian Government for open trade policey or providing the route to India for the trade through Wagah all the way upto Afghanistan In uSA.

    Greater Punjab and Greater Baluchistan are the dreams of India

    as sometime Khalistan was dream of Zia.

    Is it not the constant policy of Benazir and PPP to have open borders and allow cultural invasion in a way where Pakistan becomes just a small little nook around India.

    In independent Pakistani news papers and media, in them some journalist feel that borders should be open,people should be free to move .This is an ideal scenario.

    Have you read recently the articles of Dawn News paper?????

    Some people do want to put past behind but who can talk to our governments and convince USA not to exploit humans any more?

    Do we question Dawn???

  • farrah shah |

    Also Amir

    Please write your comment instead of providing link of article.

    There are so many articles written left,write and center.Let us engage in what we think?

  • Aamir Mughal |

    Please write your comment instead of providing link of article. Greater Punjab and Greater Baluchistan are the dreams of India.Is it not the constant policy of Benazir and PPP to have open borders and allow cultural invasion[Farrah Shah]

    ============================

    Dear Ms. Farrah,

    Awab wants me to write some lines and then a link provide for details and you want my comment. Where should I go???

    I don't know about you but I am 43 years old and I still remember the during General Zia Third Class PTV/Censorship Policies made it easier for so-called India Cultural Invasion to made its way in Pakistani Society. The Invasion rather flood of Indian Movies had arrived [during VCR Period of 80], before that our PTV Dramas were used to be the hot cakes in India but that couldn't be sustained. Do you remember that BJP [RAED RSS]'s member actor Shatru Gahn Sinha was titled an adopted son of General Zia.

    I wonder have you seen GEO TV in connection with Indian Cultural Invasion when you are talking about Dawn.

    We would have to be confident on our own culture instaed of Constant Fear or other Culture. Have you seen any Private Pakistani TV Channel promoting the local culture of Pakistan they even GEO went to extreme to the level of sycophancy when any Indian Celebrity comes to Pakistan, do you remember the Ajmal Kassab Episode when GEO TV Tried its level best to link Pakistan directly with Mumbai Tragedy. And when GEO TV Succeeded in that then GEO Newsmen proudly read the news "GEO TO PAR SAB NAY AITRAZ KIA MAGAR AAKHIR MEIN GEO TV KI BAAT SAABIT HO GAI KAY AJMAL KASSAB PAKISTANI HAI"

  • farrah shah |

    cultural invasion:

    Amir sahab I hope you remember the days new world order of Georgr Bush Senior was introduced and shortly afterwards we had cnn.press media thought it is a way to fahashi and behayaee and now we will all be Westernised and start wearing jeans etc….

    It is more than twenty years of cnn and bbc but we are still very much Pakistanis,culturally and morally.

    2nd point in the same context is Indian media,bloody hell that is a killer ,hyper blood pressure and a quick way to die .I mean sometimes I wonder where does Star plus dramas stop and where does Star plus news begin???

    ….and many Indians ask the same question?

    Being born in Lahore we had seen Doordarshan with extreme pains of Antenna direction ,Lahore very much remains Lahore even after 40 years of Doordarshan ,Chitrahaar and films.

    Not to mention dish antenna and cable operators.during Zia time I remember watching Doordarshan was like playing a traitor to Pakistan .

    I was surprised to watch one wedding video ,the family was dubai based and wedding took place in Pakistan.The Belly dancing and the bellies were shocking???

    Point I want to make is world is shrinking and fashion and life trends do inter lap but no one looses identity.

    Like the phenomenon of Hijab when I came to UK I was shocked

    everyone was in Hijab.

    I was the only one without it and people thought Pakistan is very MODERN and Westernized particularly our ambassador also wore duppatta only and did not cover her head.

    Regarding GEO towing the foreign policy of INDIA during Bombay Blasts is something serious,Government ,people,newspaper should have taken the action…were GEO told regarding Paksitan's National interest or cautioned against it?I doubt it.

    Geo ,ARY all of them like to work in co-operation with India?

    What will be the consequences ?what are the guidelines is something to be either provided by government or by the media regulatory body ….I do not think we have any such thing in Pakistan?

    Geo and ARy are business and they will definitely keep their money interest before National maybe????which is a shame.

    You raised a very valid and good point .

  • farrah shah |

    Regarding GEO I have to register my protest :

    I have never seen such a cheap and vulgar dances on a Sufi pro gramme be it Qawwali or Sufiyana Qalam ,nowhere else in the world but only in Pakistan a woman with volupteous body had to perform a staged dance with the Sufiana qalam and I am surprised at the passivity of people for not condemning it or maybe I am not aware.

    Qawwali and Sufiana Qalam has its own mannerism and people who do RAAQS or dhamal on it are usually in ecstatic state .

    Not a stage show performer performing on it.