Pakistan's National Assembly is to meet Nov 2 to examine 37 ordinances promulgated by former president Pervez Musharraf, including the one granting immunity to politicians, military officers and bureaucrats charged with corruption, media reports said on Monday.
Key among these is the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) Musharraf promulgated in October 2007 to enable the return from exile of former Prime Minister Benzair Bhutto and her husband Asif Ali Zardari, who is now the president of Pakistan. Both were in exile facing corruption charges.
The Supreme Court in its July 31 judgement had ruled as unconstitutional the emergency Musharraf had declared Nov 3, 2007 and fixed Nov 30 as the deadline for the approval or rejection of the 37 ordinances by parliament.
"The government tabled the ordinances at the end of the National Assembly and Senate sessions on Oct 16 apparently to gain time to drum up maximum support for their passage," Dawn said on Monday.
Quoting parliament sources, report said the ordinances could become law if they are approved by a simple majority of National Assembly and subsequently endorsed by the Senate.
Adeel Gilani, the Pakistan chief of global anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International (TI), has said anti-corruption efforts in the country had taken a 180-degree turn since Musharraf issued the NRO.
TI, in its 2009 Global Corruption Report, said the lack of anti-graft laws makes Pakistan one of the most corrupt nations in the world and is coming in the way of foreign investments in the country.
"How can one expect from any donor to come forward to assist Pakistan from its current financial crisis, when there exists no law against corruption?" the report, released Sep 23, said.
Ironically, Musharraf promulgated the NRO 56 days after ratifying the UN Convention against Corruption.