After a lapse of over two years, today a full bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan came through with a historic judgment declaring the 2007 National Reconciliatory Ordinance null and void. It must be recalled that the NRO was the mastermind of the then President of Pakistan General Pervaiz Musharraf who in October 2007 orchestrated this pact with the exiled PPP leader Benazir Bhutto in an attempt to negotiate his own extended stay on the Presidential seat of power and in this process pardoned most of the corrupt criminals whom he himself detested so vehemently in his autobiography a few months earlier all in the name of political compromise. Since then history stands witness to have watched the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and the people of Pakistan stood embarrassingly dumbfounded as one of the most corrupt politician Mr. Asif Ali Zardari snuck through the back doors of diplomacy to land into the Presidency of Pakistan.
Today the year-old restored judiciary stood strong to declare the NRO null and void, a short order issued outlined some important aspect of this new judgment but the exact specification and its affect on the Presidency remains to be ironed out. But it might be in the interest of Pakistan to not embarrass and ridicule Asif Ali Zardari and the Presidency any further and it might serve us all well to settle for a negotiated compromise, possibly having him to hand over most of the illegally amassed wealth back into the national treasury in lieu of his respect and freedom
Overall it seems to be a balanced decision, we all know the NRO was illegal from the start and that is exactly what the Supreme Court delivered declaring it null and void. We still await the text of the short order of the Supreme Court but a summary can be outlined below (credit Abeer Hamid)
- NRO declared as null and void
- All NRO cases to lapse to the 5 oct,2007 position
- Monitoring cells headed by provincial CJs to make sure pending NRO cases are concluded ASAP without any impediments from the government
- Govt to apply to Swiss courts to resume cases
- Malik Qayyum to be brought to book by govt for writing unauthorized letter to swiss court to withdraw cases
- NAB prosecutor general and deputy to be sacked and replaced by competent people
It is my belief that the short order ever so gently touched on the NRO without raising much of an eye brow on the Presidency, quite literally leaving the people of Pakistan themselves to logically deduce an outcome of this soap opera while at the same time letting the media circus the license to drool over the implications of this judgment in a minefield of conspiracy theories.
On the flip side many may argue that Mr. Asif Ali Zardari is an elected officer of the democratic system, by hook or crook, I would have to more-or-less agree, but at the same time we need to understand that he along with 4000 other people benefited from this ordinance to sneak his way into the Presidency. Since then, and in the past, he has misused this office for his own monetary gains amassing millions if not billions of rupees into his own personal accounts, that is what I feel he must be held accountable for
To out rightly take Asif Zardari to task would be akin to picking a fight in broad daylight, it could very well turn into an unpopular decision and PPP might then exploit the Sindh card to counter this judicial activism and it could possibly lead to massive bloodshed on the streets of Pakistan as the supporters go amock In rage. A softer and more amicable solution might be to negotiate a settlement with Asif Zardari, asking him to surrender most of his billions in lieu of some controlled civilized freedom. The billions returned into the national treasury can then be channeled back into the educational and health sector of Pakistan to serve as a direct compromise with the people of Pakistan who have already suffered enough from his ruthless corruption.
The question that remains, will this crook part from his treasure chest so easily, it may seem difficult but if he is presented with a reasonable offer, he may see benefit, eyeing a possibility of walking away with his head held up high, the crook migh part with his wealth, but ‘might’ is an elusive word
It must be known that my position on Asif Ali Zardari has been quite strong, I see him as the most corrupt person on the face of the earth, embarrassingly he is my President of Pakistan, but at this juncture I advocate a level headed unemotional approach for the sake of Pakistan. A compromise buy-out is a tempting offer we simply cannot refuse as it will possibly benefit the people, we can easily be better off with a few billions injected into our system, as compared to facing a long and protracted court battle with Mr. Zardari and it may even result in an implosion of the country due to instabilty, as we may sit to await a judicail settlement which could possibly put this corrupt leader behind bars oblivious to where his entire wealth may remain hidden tucked forever
Will Mr. Asif Zardari be willing to go for this deal before he quietly sneaks out of the country, only time will tell. Until then, as activists’ battling for the independence of Judiciary since Nov 7th 2007 – TODAY marks a very historic day for us all and a round of congratulations are in order – I stand proud, with bright twinkling eyes, there is hope at the end of this gloomy tunnel, that we so fondly call our Pakistan. There is hope…