ISLAMABAD The government of Punjab has sent to the centre a list of 77 beneficiaries of the National Reconciliation Ordinance whose cases were disposed of after Feb 5, 2008.
The list, made available to Dawn, includes names of 17 politicians, a couple of businessmen and a large number of government employees.
Prominent among the politicians are Begum Nusrat Bhutto and Jehangir Badar of the Pakistan People's Party. Four former legislators of the Pakistan Muslim League-N are also on the list.
The list pertains only to cases disposed of by courts in Punjab. The cases, relating to charges of corruption, misuse of authority, misappropriation of government funds or property and assets beyond means and forgery, involved a total amount of about Rs14 billion and they were disposed of between March 2008 and April 2009.
The largest amount involved in a case is of $170 million in assets beyond means. It is against Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali, a former MNA. It is followed by Rs260 million (misuse of authority) against Malik Mushtaq Ahmad Awan.
Supreme Court Bar Association president Qazi Anwar said all the cases settled under the NRO after February 5, 2008, would stand reopened after November 28, 2009, at the stage where they were disposed of or terminated.
He said even cases settled before Feb 5, 2008, were open to judicial review if they were challenged for being against principles of good governance, civilised society, natural justice and supremacy of law.
However, Acting Attorney General Shah Khawar said cases decided before Feb 5, 2009, were completely 'closed and past transactions' because at that time the NRO was a valid ordinance and had not been touched by the supreme court.
He said that even the cases settled before the July 31, 2009, judgment of the Supreme Court would not reopen automatically because these were protected under clause 6 of the General Clauses Act and also because its retrospective effect had not been called into question in the relevant para 188 of the SC judgement.
He, however, said that any law could be challenged for judicial review or examination from the standpoint of fundamental rights.
The list prepared by the National Accountability Bureau, Punjab, also gives details of the case numbers along with charges, amount involved and the dates of their disposal/termination by the courts under the NRO 2007.
Beneficiaries among politicians include Malik Mushtaq Ahmad Awan, Ishtiaq Ahmad Awan, Chaudhry Shaukat Ali, Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali, Chaudhry Kabir Ahmad, Jehangir Badar, Rana Nazir Ahmed, Nusrat Bhutto, Chaudhry Abdul Hameed, Sardar Muhammad Nasim, Mian Tariq Mahmood, Muhammad Asad Lali, Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali, Murid Ahmed Baloch, Chaudhry Shaukat Ali, Tariq Anees and Haji Kabir Khan.
The bureaucrats who benefited from the NRO include Muhammad Ahmad Sadiq (former principal secretary to Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto), former chief secretary of Punjab Javaid Qureshi, former chairman of the Wildlife Department Abuzar Jafarry, Imtiaz Qadir, Shaukat Ali Maiken, Mian Muhammad Rashid, Hanif Ahmad Rahi, Abbas Ahmed, Muhammad Safdar, Amjad Hussain Sandal and Syed Zahid Hussain.
Other civil servants include Sadiq Muhammad, Chaudhry Muhammad Siddique, Ghulam Mustafa, Muhammad Hanif, Sadiq Muhammad, Samira Amjad, Mirza Sher Muhammad, Rashid Ahmed Patwari, Liaqat Ali, Naeemuddin, Anwar Hussain, Muhammad Usman, Arshad Mehmood, Muhammad Akhtar and Waheedur Rehman.
Some other bureaucrats are Muhammad Arshad of Wapda, Sardar Ali, Nadir Khan and Hakim Din of Nadra, Shaukat Hussain Shah, Maqbool Ahmed, Amanullah Sindhu and Hameedur Rehman of Passco.
About 15 employees of the Wildlife Department — Muniruddin Ahmed, Abdul Razzaq Bhatti, Mehr Sajjad Ahmed, Mirza Muhammad Iqbal, Mukhtar Ahmed, Malik Shahmat Ali, Mian Abdul Rehman, Muhammad Shafique, Syed Javed Hassan, Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah, Irshad Hussain, Tariq Mahmood, M. Sarwar Saifi and Muhammad Shabbir - were accused of embezzling public money, but their cases were disposed of under the NRO.