Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has sought the help of top lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan, considered close to Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, to deal with the fallout of the possible scrapping of a controversial law that granted him immunity in graft cases.
The National Reconciliation Ordinance, passed two years ago by former military ruler Pervez Mushararf to drop corruption cases against Zardari and other leaders of the Pakistan People's Party, will lapse if it is not endorsed by parliament by November 28.
The PPP recently dropped plans to present the NRO in parliament for ratification following pressure from political parties. The PPP-led government has plunged into crisis over this issue, which not only caused embarrassment for the ruling party but left it in a catch-22 situation.
Political observers believe the Supreme Court will now decide the fate of the NRO since parliament failed to take it up. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani too has said the issue of the NRO should be settled in court.
Zardari's move to reach out to Ahsan at this juncture is considered significant as the lawyer was suspended from the PPP’s central executive committee earlier this year for openly criticising the party and backing the lawyers’ movement for restoring judges fired by Musharraf.
Ahsan, who was sidelined by the PPP for the past few months, has met both Zardari and Gilani over the past few days.