News Analysis |
In an interesting development, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry has claimed that Prime Minister of Lebanon Saad El-Din Rafik Al-Hariri is of view that seeking pardon for Sharif family was his big mistake. A day after Prime Minister Imran Khan held a meeting with his Lebanese counterpart Hariri in the United Arab Emirates on the sidelines of World Government Summit, Mr. Fawad Chaudhary took to Twitter saying, “Saad Harri, who played a key role in NRO for Nawaz Sharif from former president Pervez Musharraf, told Imran Khan that seeking pardon for the Sharif family was my big mistake.”
Mr. Chaudhary also added that “Hariri also informed Imran Khan that Nawaz Sharif did not fulfill a single commitment and I was feeling ashamed for it.”
نواز شریف کو پرویز مشرف سے NRO دلوانے والے سعد الحریری کو وزیر اعظم بتا رہے تھے کہ پاکستان میں پھر نواز شریف کو NRO کی بازگشت ہے ،سعدالحریری نے دونوں ہاتھ اٹھا کہ کہا شریف خاندان کو معافی دلوانا بہت بڑی غلطی تھی انھوں نے ایک کمٹمنٹ بھی پوری نہیں کی اور مجھے سخت شرمندگی ہوئ
— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) February 11, 2019
The History of NRO
It is important to note here that Mr. Sharif’s second term as prime minister had ended as a result of the then Army Chief Pervez Musharraf’s coup in October 1999 and he was tried, convicted, and sentenced to life in prison in a hijacking case.
The ordinance aimed at “promoting national reconciliation, fostering mutual trust and confidence amongst holders of public office and removing the vestiges of political vendetta and victimization, and to make the election process more transparent.
However, under an agreement with the Saudi royal family, for which Hariri stood as one of the guarantors, Sharif was released from jail in 2000, after which the former prime minister along with his family was sent to live in exile in Saudi Arabia as a guest of the royal family.
However, Mr. Sharif decided to return to Pakistan from exile in 2007; Mr. Hariri and then Saudi chief of intelligence Prince Muqrin bin Abdul Aziz at a press conference in Rawalpindi had urged Sharif not to return to Pakistan and abide by his agreement with King Abdullah which they said bound him to stay out of Pakistan for 10 years. But former PM had claimed that he was verbally assured by the intermediaries of the agreement, especially Mr. Hariri that the exile condition would apply for only five years, and Sharif proceeded to return to Pakistan.
One more NRO was a controversial ordinance issued by the former President of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf, on 5 October 2007. It granted amnesty to politicians, political workers, and bureaucrats who were accused of corruption, embezzlement, money laundering, murder, and terrorism between 1 January 1986, and 12 October 1999, the time between two states of martial law in Pakistan. The ordinance aimed at “promoting national reconciliation, fostering mutual trust and confidence amongst holders of public office and removing the vestiges of political vendetta and victimization, and to make the election process more transparent.
The NRO stated: “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.”
Many ministers and the PM himself have claimed that the opposition party has approached them to seek an NRO yet no evidence could have been provided by the government ministers to media.
In November 2009, Government of Pakistan released the list of the beneficiaries of NRO on the directives of Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani. The list included 8041 beneficiaries most of which were bureaucrats, along with a handful of politicians. Amongst the beneficiaries were only 34 Politicians while others were all government employees and/or bureaucrats.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan declared the ordinance null and void. It created political turmoil in the country.
One More NRO?
Once again it is in the air that former PM Sharif is desperate to sign a deal with the incumbent government of PTI and leave the country. Many ministers and the PM himself have claimed that the opposition party has approached them to seek an NRO yet no evidence could have been provided by the government ministers to media.
Read more: “No NRO for anybody,” PM Khan clarifies
Some sections of media suggest that the deal has already been signed between Nawaz Sharif and PM Khan and the former will leave the country very soon. The government has rejected any such deal and has assured that the convicted Sharif will have to face the law and courts in the country.