What is NRO
National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) was issued by the former president of Pakistan General (Retd) Pervez Musharraf on October 5, 2007. It granted amnesty to politicians, political workers and bureaucrats who were accused of corruption, embezzlement, money-laundering, murder and terrorism between 1st January 1986 and October 12th 1999, the time between two Martial Laws.
The NRO states: “Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in sub-section(1), the Federal Government or a Provincial Government may, before the judgment is pronounced by a trial court, withdraw from the prosecution of any person including an absconding accused who is found to be falsely involved for political reasons or through political victimization in any case initiated between 1st day of January, 1986 to 12th day of October, 1999 and upon such withdrawal clause (a) and clause (b) of sub-section (1) shall apply.”
Current Status of NRO
The current Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, suspended this ordinance on October 12, 2007. But he was soon dismissed after Musharraf abrogated the constitution on November 3, 2007. The new Chief Justice, Abdul Hameed Dogar revived the NRO on February 27, 2008. Term of NRO was ending on November 28 and all the cases would be reopened automatically. However, President Zardari’s cases could not be reopened until he was in Presidency.
The government has issued list of 8041 persons who benefited from NRO including 34 politicians. The list includes President Asif Zardari, Begum Nusrat Bhutto, Interior Minister Rehman Malik, MQM Chief Altaf Hussain, Farooq Sattar, Federal Minister Babar Ghauri, Jahangir Badar, Ambassador Hussain Haqqani and Wajid Shams-ul-Hassan. The top beneficiary of NRO is Altaf Hussain whose 72 cases including 31 murder cases were dismissed.
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Minister of State for Law Afzal Sindhu revealed that total number of NRO beneficiaries were 8041 including 7793 persons from Sindh only. Sindhu told that Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani and his wife’s names were not in the list as the court had dismissed PM’s cases upon finding him not guilty; whereas, his wife had made an agreement in the court. The minister of state told that President Asif Zardari, Nusrat Bhutto, Rehman Malik, Jahangir Badar, Ahmad Mukhtar, Altaf Hussain, Farooq Sattar, Babar Ghauri, Governor Sindh Ishrat ul Ibad, Shoaib Bukhari, Kanwar Khalid Younus, Salim Shahzad, Imran Farooq, three ambassadors Waseem Akhtar, Wajid Shams ul Hassan and Hussain Haqqani, A.R. Siddiqui, former chief secretary Punjab Javed Qureshi, Anwar Saifullah, Siraj Durrani, Mushtaq Awan, Gul Sher, Haji Nawaz Khokhar, Rana Nazir Khan, Waliur Rehman, Yousuf Talpur, Slaman Farooqi, Usman Farooqi, Peer Mukaram, Tariq Anis, Haji Kabir, Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali, Chaudhry Shaukat Ali, Mian Rasheed, Mian Tariq Mehmood, Sardar Maqsood Laghari, Brig. (Retd) Imtiaz, Brig. (Retd) Aslam Hayat, Safdar Baqri, Saeed Mehdi, Noman Saigol and Mir Baz Khetran are included in the list.
Sindhu said that the top beneficiary of NRO was Altaf Hussain with 72 cases including 31 cases of murder and 11 cases of attempt of murder. He told that term of NRO was ending on November 28 and all the cases would be reopened automatically. However, President Zardari’s cases could not be reopened until he was in Presidency. Sindhu said if the court gives verdict against a person the government would not support him. The minister of state maintained that cases filed against PPP leaders in Nawaz Sharif’s tenure were result of political vendetta. He said verdict of only one corruption case was announced in 10 years and 3 judges had to resign after that.