ISLAMABAD   -  The Ministry of Law and Justice informed the Supreme Court on Saturday that it had no mandate to recover the money which caused a huge loss to the national exchequer due to the promulgation of National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) 2007.

The ministry submitted its reply in the Supreme Court on a petition seeking fixing of responsibility and recovery of all the losses to the national kitty, including the loss of $60 million in the Swiss banks representing the illegal funds acquired through corruption and money laundering by Zardari, the petition added.

The ministry in its reply stated that years after the top court’s judgment, declaring NRO 2007 void ab-initio, the federal government had written a letter to Swiss authorities for re-opening of the cases. However, the Swiss authorities refused to open the cases on account of being time barred, the reply stated.

“It is submitted that any misappropriation of property, corruption, misuse or abuse of power falls in the domain of THE National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the said Bureau is fully independent and empowered to make any administrative decision for the recovery of any loss by NRO to the state exchequer,” the reply of the Ministry stated.

It added that the Ministry under the Rules of Business 1973 was not mandated with the tasks of accountability or the recovery of any embezzled amount from the petition.

The petition was filed by Advocate Feroz Shah Gillani, wherein the petitioner requested the top court to issue directions for recovering the huge amounts of public money misappropriated and wasted by Musharraf, Qayyum and Zardari.

The petition, filed under Article 184(3), stated that former military ruler Musharraf subverted the Constitution with ulterior motives and promulgated the emergency followed by NRO 2007.

The petition further stated that Musharraf arbitrarily withdrew criminal and corruption cases against politicians and other including Zardari which caused huge financial loss to the national exchequer.

It added that a full bench of top court in its landmark judgment of 16 December 2009 declared NRO void ab-initio.

Thus the respondents Musharraf, Qayyum and Zardari are liable to compensate all the losses and damages suffered by the exchequer of the debt-ridden Pakistan, including the loss of $60 million in the Swiss Banks representing the illegal funds acquired through corruption and money laundering by Zardari, the petition added.

It further stated that Qayyum, who had also been a judge, while hearing the Ehtasab case against the Zardari, violated the Code of Conduct of the Judges by obtaining undue favours from the prosecution side getting in return diplomatic passport and other benefits for himself and his wife in clear violations of the rules.

“Judgment on the criminal appeal filed by Zardari in 2009 observed,“ there is no need to advert to the audio-tapes and the transcript as there is sufficient material on record which substantiates the allegations of bias of Ehtasab bench highlighted in the preceding paragraphs, the trial of appellants vitiated,” the petition stated.

 The huge sum of money of the poor country was spent by the prosecution and the NAB causing billions of rupees loss due to the gross misconduct of Qayyum.

Qayyum, as attorney general for Pakistan, wrote a letter to Attorney General Geneva (Switzerland) withdrawing the criminal and civil proceedings there against Zardari in respect of the $60 millions being the money obtained through corruption and money laundering, it added. The SC in its judgment of NRO stated ,“as far as issuing a letter to Attorney General of Geneva dated 7th April 2008 by Malik Muhammad Qayyum Attorney General) is concerned, it seems that he had done so in his personal capacity, against the Rules of Business, 1973,” the petition quoted the para from judgment.

It further stated that the actions of Musharraf and Qayyum promulgating NRO and their subsequent acts caused huge losses amounting to billions of rupees to the debt-ridden country of Pakistan.

Musharraf and Qayyum wilfully violated their oath of office, as provided in the constitution, to the detriment of the country in violation of the rule of the law, in particular of Article 2, 2A, 25, 227 of the Constitution, it read.

Responsibility of the colossal financial losses to the national exchequer as described above rests fully on General (R) Musharraf, Qayyum and Zardari who should compensate the country by reimbursing the amount of the loss in the national exchequer, it reiterated. 

The petition prayed the court to direct the Federal Government and NAB to recover the huge amount of public money misappropriated and wasted through unlawful means.

It further prayed to direct the relevant quarters for initiation of preliminary steps for recovery of the public money.

On July 10, Former military ruler and President General (r) Pervez Musharraf had submitted that the NRO 2007 promulgated to foster mutual trust and remove vestiges of political vendetta and victimization adding that under the circumstances and the prevailing condition at that time, the NRO 2007 was promulgated without having any mala fide or vested interest on the part of him.

On June 26 Former President and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-Chairperson Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday contended before the top court that the instant petition was only an attempt to politically victimize him and  he had been acquitted from all the allegations.