By Zahid Gishkori
ISLAMABAD – List of beneficiaries of National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) released by Ministry of Law and Justice on Saturday took the top politicians of the state to task and perceived them as black sheep of the society.
Some 34 politicians have been ranked first in the list of some 8,041 persons in terms of money, murders, attempted murders, balwa, embezzlement, corruption, malpractice, terrorism, kidnappings and other crimes of heinous nature. Keeping in view their massive embezzlements, these politicians seem to be heavy burden on the country that is already facing a severe financial crunch.
The Law Ministry for the first time has brought the big fish to surface by releasing the list of country’s most corrupt people. “The notorious guns of malpractice of these black sheep which left the poor at the mercy of God had been used as common practice against the innocents since decades,” NRO list observed.
The top beneficiary of NRO is Altaf Hussain whose 72 cases including 31 murder cases were dismissed. President Asif Ali Zardari had seven cases against him, while the number of Dr Farooq Sattar’s cases was 13. Most politicians had one to two cases against them. Madam Nusrat Bhutto, the spouse of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, also heads over thousands in the notorious list.
The MQM headed over other political parties whose workers hit the iron when it was hot. However, the PML-Q workers kept them away from that shoddy practice.
Addressing a press conference, Minister of State for Law & Justice Mohammad Afzal Sindhu on Saturday released the much-awaited list of the beneficiaries of NRO. The total number of NRO beneficiaries is 8,041 and 34 top politicians, 248 bureaucrats and three ambassadors are included in it, he told.
“Corruption, embezzlement and criminal cases dumped under NRO will likely to be reopened, as the goose of the said ordinance will be cooked on November 28, 2009,” he said. Many stalwarts of the country’s political arena will fight legal battle in the courts as the top court of the country terms NRO null ab initio, he explained.
Sindhu also announced a few important names in the list, which include President Asif Ali Zardari, MQM Chief Altaf Hussain, Begam Nusrat Bhutto, Federal Ministers Ch. Ahmad Mukhtar, Rehman Malik, Dr. Farooq Sattar, and Babar Ghori, Governor Sindh Dr. Ishrat-ul-Ibad Khan, Jahangir Badr, Anwar Saifullah, Yousaf Talpur, Ch. Shaukat Ali, Haji Nawaz Khokhar (late), Agha Siraj Ahmad Durrani, Mir Baz Kithran, Mushtaq Awan, Sulman Farooqi, Hussain Haqqani, Wajid Sham-ul-Hassan, A.R. Siddiqui, Saleem Shahzad, Aftab Ahmed Sherpao, Mian Mohammad Rasheed, Tariq Rasheed, Tariq Mahmood, Sardar Maqsood Leghari, Ghani-ur-Rehman, Javed Ahmed Qureshi, Brig. (Retd) Imtiaz, Brig. (Retd) Aslam Hayat, Safdar Barqi and Saeed Mehdi.
“Sindh is on the bottom line in the said list as some 7,793 people obtained relief under Article 2 of the NRO’s Review Board. The number of beneficiaries of the Review Board is 3,230,” he said.
He said that neither Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani nor his wife had taken benefit under the NRO. “Prime Minister Gilani had opted to face the courts in the cases filed against him and he has been cleared by the courts,” he argued.
The minister said that President Zardari had protection under the Article 248 of the Constitution and couldn’t be tried in any corruption or criminal case as far as he was the President of the state. “We will not protect anyone against the decision of the Supreme Court,” he maintained. The ruling PPP has taken decision that the judgement of superior judiciary would be accepted at all cost, he added.
Parrying a query when asked how much amount was involved in corruption cases abolished against beneficiaries of NRO, Sindhu said, “The demand was the list and it is produced before the media.”
Advocating NRO beneficiaries, he said most of the cases were political vendetta and had been lingering in the courts for 10 to 15 years. “PML-N Quaid Mian Nawaz Sharif has himself admitted that Ehtesab Bureau of Saifur Rehman had initiated political cases against PPP leaders,” he added. The PPP would have to give credibility to the chief of a major political party, he remarked.
The notorious NRO granted amnesty to politicians, political workers and bureaucrats who were accused of corruption, embezzlement, money laundering, murders and terrorism from 1st January 1986 to October 12, 1999, he emphasised.
The State Minister for Law said the myriad corruption cases had been pending since decades, adding only one case was decided and after that three judges had to resign.
Answering a query, he said NRO was brought in the Parliament at the direction of the Supreme Court and the verdicts of the higher judiciary would be respected in future as well.