‘The letter’ will be written!

Raja n Naek

A thaw in the executive-judiciary row became evident on Tuesday when the Supreme Court gave the government seven more days to present a draft of the letter to be sent to Swiss authorities in line with the court’s judgment in the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) case, as Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf told a five-member bench that he had authorized the law minister to withdraw the letter written by former attorney general Malik Qayyum vis-à-vis Swiss case and Naik would now take steps for implementing the apex court’s directive in relevant para of the NRO judgment.
However, Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa made sure the government could no more toy with the court over the Swiss letter by announcing a four-point road-map to be followed by the government.

(i) Authorization to law minister by the prime minister for writing the letter to Swiss authorities on behalf of the chief executive.

(ii) The draft letter to be produced to the bench on September 25 to examine whether the letter meets requirements of para 178 of the NRO judgment.

(iii)Communication to be made through the attorney general

(iv) Receipt of such communication whether the letter has been received to relevant authorities in Switzerland.

During the proceedings on Tuesday, the PM once again used soft language and looked humble towards the court. His conduct has been contrary to his predecessor, Yousaf Raza Gilani, who used to make bold statements. The positive development has answered several questions raised by commentators, reflecting that the Presidency had different policies for former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and the incumbent, Raja Pervez Ashraf.
Pakistan Today was the first to report differences between President Asif Ali Zardari and PM Gilani on June 17. Only two days later, Gilani was disqualified by the top court of the country. Appearing before the bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, the prime minister said under SC’s previous observation, he had directed the law minister to fully cooperate with the court in implementation of its directive in the NRO case, and pleaded that in face of various national and international issues and pressing engagements, he might be given exemption from personal appearance in the court.
Accepting his request, the bench granted him exemption from personal appearance until further orders.
Prime Minister Ashraf informed the bench that per his commitment during the previous hearing to make his best efforts to resolve the issue, he had directed the law minister to write the letter as the issue had created unrest and uncertainty among the people and government functionaries and was also affecting state apparatus.
“After looking into the complexities of the issue, I have instructed the law minister that the letter written by Malik Qayyum, former attorney general, whom the court had termed unauthorized and illegal in its judgment, would be withdrawn,” he added.
He also pleaded that the court might address “the concerns of the federation” involved in the issue. Ashraf pointed out that he had made sincere efforts to address the concerns of the federation and upholding dignity of the judiciary. He said the concerns were not about Asif Ali Zardari, but about the office of the president.
Expressing optimism, the PM noted that the issue would now be resolved.
Enumerating his pressing engagements, he said that Russian President Vladimir Putin was due in Pakistan on October 2, while President Asif Ali Zardari would leave for New York to address the United Nations session in the coming days.
Most recently, the country had faced floods while the general elections were also round the corner, Ashraf said.
He said being a prime minister and general secretary of the PPP, he would have to take steps to protect the constitutional sanctity of the office of president and dignity of the court.
The bench praised his efforts for resolving the long-standing issue.
Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa told the PM that they would have to adopt the stated four steps for implementation of its directive.
Firstly, the authorization should be produced in writing, secondly, the draft of the letter should meet the directive contained in para 178 and should be to the satisfaction of the court; thirdly, the dispatch to and receipt by the concerned Swiss and other authorities and fourthly, confirmation of such communication.
He assured the PM that the bench would address the federation’s concerns and would not go beyond what they had written in para 178.
Drawing his attention to a verdict in former prime minister’s contempt case, Justice Khosa said they had already written four paras regarding international immunity for the head of state under customary laws.
Upon the bench’s insistence to complete the first two processes within two days, Ashraf requested the court to defer proceedings until the end of this month.
The bench told Law Minister Farooq H Naik that the prime minister had directed him on the issue and he had to comply with his directives. Naik assured the bench that he was not seeking time for any other reason but would make efforts to draft a letter to the satisfaction of the bench.
“We want to give a message to the nation that there is no clash of institutions,” he maintained.
Upon his assurance, the bench adjourned proceedings until September 25, and noted down in its order that the prime minister and the law minister had undertaken before the court that the written approval of the letter and draft of the letter would be produced before the court to meet requirement of directions in para 178 of the NRO judgment.

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11 Comments

  1. Hamid Khan said:

    What a dysfunctional is the country called Pakistan. It is no more than a banana republic where people are made to suffer every single day. What a damn waste of time on this issue about the letter. No matter what Zardari remains a crook and will always be remembered as one. It is unfortunate for any country to have such a corrupt Government where its prime minister was directly involved in drug smuggling. Shame on this Nation to tolerate such people as rulers. This is wrath of GOD on these people

    • Dar said:

      True indeed. At least a Banana Republic has the fruit at reasonable prices.

  2. zardaritohell said:

    Either the judges are naieve, just plain stupid or they have sold out. My guess is that they have sold out. They waited all these years to enforce their verdict and then kept giving more time to the govt. to implement its verdict. Did they not know that statue of limitations will run out? Besides the rulers, do we have imcompetent judges too? I believe they are corrupt and have been bought out. Sad, sad situation for Pakistan.

  3. Shahid said:

    Corrupt & biased SC has kept the whole nation focused on a non-issue. There are no 60 million dollars and they are not coming. There are many issues which we need to sort out. During Restoration of Judiciary Movement, we were told that an independent judiciary which delivers justice is the key to all our national problems. Unfortunately, what we got is a highly politicised, vindictive and biased judiciary. Judges and their families are busy enjoying perks at the cost of tax payers' money great foreign vacations paid for by litigants in the most expensive hotels of most expensive cities. In such circumstances, what will happen to the dream of justice for the common man?

  4. Nazia said:

    letter will be written
    letter will not be written
    what a game establishment created to divert attention of deprived people of Pakistan.During this game and waste of time all this group of goons looted Pakistan resources as per their range and left deprivation and backwardness in Pakistan

  5. aijazhaider said:

    Reminds me of a song in a Pakistani movie, filmed on actress Shabnam, if i remember right because now three or four decades have passed: "Chittee zara saiyaan jee ke naam likh do, haal mere dil ka tamaam likh do". Chittee: the letter. Saiyaan jee: Swiss authorities. Writer: the attorney general. Haal mere dil ka tamaam: query re: details of the president's accounts in Swiss banks. It is difficult to pen the haal-e-dil of Mr. Zardari because i really cannot guess. Reading the posted comments above, it seems that little money will be refunded to our ever-empty national treasury. Like the tragedy ending of most Pakistani movies of those days, we, the spectators, should be prepared for a heart-rending, tear-filled, scenario on receipt of Saiyaan jee's response. The hidden expectations in the song are "great" but the response may not be upto the expectations. Actor Nadeem probably was the hero, but I don't know where to fit Mr. Zardari. Continued………..

  6. aijazhaider said:

    The above comments put both the president and judges as villains and the people (awaam) in the role of Shabmam. My question is: where is the hero? Dear commentators, please help me sort this out. Seems that Pakistan has no one to play the role of a hero. Imran Khan? Dr. Qadeer Khan? Anybody else? Hint: Think about me as a possible "azaad" candidate for the post of future PM of Pakistan. If you look carefully, my name is visible with my comments. Come on, have a heart, give me a chance and let's together change both the faces and the system. Of course, like Obama, "change we need". Mind you, I don't mean five rupee coins! Regards.

  7. Nusrat Bokhari via F said:

    after they have ensured that nothing will come of it, well played.

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