Supreme Court of Pakistan
Supreme Court of Pakistan. — Photo by AFP

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday heard the NRO implementation case, DawnNews reported.

A five-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, heard the case.

During the hearing, Attorney General Irfan Qadir presented his arguments on the issue of writing a letter to Swiss authorities to reopen cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

Qadir said that laws should be enforced and that the Supreme Court should not monitor cases in the NAB, adding that no officer of the NAB was bound to report to the apex court.

Justice Khosa inquired of the attorney general whether the court’s directives of writing the letter to Swiss authorities had been followed.

After which, the attorney general requested Justice Khosa to dissociate from the bench.

Addressing the attorney general, Justice Khosa said: “You had said that the president had been sentenced for six months over a money laundering conviction”. Upon which, the attorney general admitted to having said so.

Justice Khosa further said: “We do not have a personal interest in this case.”

Qadir said there was immense concern over the court’s directives regarding the prime minister and that state institutions should avoid confrontation for the country’s sake.

He further said that a judge accused of bias should dissociate himself from the respective bench.

Addressing Justice Khosa, Qadir said: “A prime minister was sent home for your sake”.

Justice Khosa said: “You are only trying to block the case’s proceedings but you can find a solution to the issue if you wish to.”

He moreover emphasised that the government should write to Swiss authorities to reopen cases against the president.

“Zardari is also our president. We are as concerned for his reputation as anyone else,” Justice Khosa said.

He further said: “No such action would be taken which would bring harm to the country…in the case of Yousuf Raza Gilani, the issue of presidential immunity was not discussed”.

“We went up to the last limit before deciding against Gilani…we do not want to derail a system, an individual or a position,” Justice Khosa said.

Moreover, the court rejected the attorney general’s objection to Justice Khosa being on the bench.

On the other hand the attorney general requested the court to allow the government time until after Eidul Fitr.

Subsequently, the bench adjourned the case’s hearing to August 8.

Speaking to media representatives before the hearing began, Qadir had said that a request would be filed in the court for a review of the bench’s July 12 ruling.

He further said that the federal government was not in a hurry on the case.

Also during today’s hearing, Prosecutor General National Accountability Bureau (NAB) K K Agha presented a report over implementation on the NRO ruling.

Agha said that investigations had been completed in the case of Ahmed Riaz Shaikh.

Agha said that it had been decided that proceedings would be initiated against three individuals and that a reference was expected to be filed against them during the upcoming week.

The NAB prosecutor general moreover said that the three individuals could not be named as it was possible that they may attempt to escape.

Furthermore, Agha said that investigations had also been completed in the case against Adnan Khwaja. He added that a probe report in the case had been presented in an executive board meeting and that the report had been dispatched to the prosecution branch for recommendations.

Agha said an executive meeting would make a decision on the issue in two to three weeks.

The NAB prosecutor general moreover said that former attorney general Malik Qayyum was abroad for medical treatment on account of ill health.

He further said that Qayyum was cooperating in the investigations and that he had submitted evidence through one of his sons.

The legal branch also had a report pertaining to the role of Qayyum, Agha said, adding that the issue of the former attorney general was complicated.

Basit requested the court to deal with his client’s case separately “as the NAB’s prosecutor general had informed it regarding the completion of investigations”.

Earlier on Tuesday, the federal government had filed an application in which it unequivocally stated that it would not write a letter to the Swiss authorities to reopen graft cases against President Zardari.

But the response drafted by the attorney general after holding brainstorming sessions with Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and Law Minister Farooq H. Naek on Monday night was returned by the court office with an objection that a civil miscellaneous application could not be filed against a court decision, although a petition seeking review of an earlier order was possible.

Qadir told reporters that he would move a review petition possibly Wednesday with contentions similar to that contained in the application, reflecting the government’s mood that it was not going to budge from its stance on NRO implementation.

The government’s application filed on Tuesday moreover said the June 27 and July 12 orders were against Article 248 (1 and 2) (immunity) because the prime minister by virtue of his oath was bound to preserve and protect the Constitution and was under constitutional obligation to disregard any order of the court which negated the Constitution and the law.