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NRO: The source of friction

world Updated: Jan 17, 2012 01:01 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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The National Reconciliation Ordinance is a controversial law that was promulgated by General Musharraf as part of a deal with leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party, Ms Benazir Bhutto and it paved the way for the return of democracy to Pakistan.

At the time, General Musharraf said that he had promulgated the ordinance to give a positive air to the political scene prior to elections.

The NRO benefitted a number of people by allowing amnesty from legal persecution to politicians, political workers and bureaucrats accused of wrong doing between January 1, 1986, and October 12, 1999. Among those who benefitted from this ordinance were both Ms Benazir Bhutto and Mr Asif Ali Zardari who said that politically motivated cases had been filed against them by the Nawaz Sharif government.

The NRO was promulgated in 2007 and within the same year it was declared illegal by the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry. Soon after, General Musharraf sacked the chief justice, a move which plunged the country into a political and judicial crisis. In 2008, the NRO was revived by Musharraf's handpicked chief justice. This was then undone in 2009 when Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry was reinstated.

The implementation of the verdict remains a source of friction between the government and the chief justice.

If the government implements the orders of the Supreme Court, a number of MPs will be disqualified and several officials appointed by the present government will lose their jobs. Such a move would invariably lead to the fall of the government as many key MPs will lose their seats.