Government realse the complete list of 8041 NRO Beneficiaries. A majority of the NRO beneficiaries have been bureaucrats and government officials as a list, released by the government on Saturday, contained names of only 34 politicians out of a total of 8,041.

According to the list, almost 97 per cent of the beneficiaries are from Sindh. The ordinance will lapse on Nov 28 in the light of the Supreme Court’s July 31 verdict in the PCO judges case.

The list shows that a total of 8,041 people — 7,793 from Sindh — have benefited from the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), promulgated by former president Pervez Musharraf on Oct 5, 2007.

These people have got withdrawn 3,478 cases (3,320 in Sindh) registered against them on charges of corruption, financial bungling, misuse of authority and criminal charges.

Gen (retd) Musharraf promulgated the NRO after striking a deal with PPP leader Benazir Bhutto in order to grant amnesty to all those against whom politically-motivated cases were registered between Jan 1, 1986, and Oct 12, 1999.

Mohammad Afzal Sindhu, the Minister of State for Law and Justice, released the list at a news conference soon after a meeting with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

In reply to a question, the minister said the government would not defend or protect any NRO beneficiary.

Earlier this month, the PPP had to withdraw its earlier initiative of presenting the NRO before parliament following a vociferous protest by the opposition and the decision of all its major coalition partners not to support the bill in the legislature.

The NRO is among the 37 ordinances about which the Supreme Court, in its July 31 verdict, had decreed that their fate should be decided by parliament within 120 days.

There are no surprises in the list as most of the prominent names had already appeared in the national press over the past few days.

Interestingly, the list provided by the minister contained the breakdown of only those withdrawn cases that pertained to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement. The document is silent about the number of cases registered against other beneficiaries.

The minister said there were only 34 politicians among the NRO beneficiaries, belying the insinuation that it was the politicians who had benefited the most from the amnesty.

Mr Sindhu said President Asif Zardari enjoyed indemnity under Article 248 of the Constitution and no new or old cases could be opened against him as long as he was in the Presidency.

‘In my opinion relief once granted cannot be reversed under the law. However, the government will implement the Supreme Court’s decision on the matter in letter and in spirit.’

He recalled that two petitions challenging the NRO were already pending before the apex court.

According to Mr Sindhu, several cases in Sindh were disposed of on the recommendations of a review board that had been set up under clause 2 of the NRO.

He said PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif had himself admitted that most of the cases against President Zardari and PPP leaders were politically-motivated.

The two parties had agreed in the Charter of Democracy, signed by Ms Bhutto and Mr Sharif in 2006, to withdraw all politically-motivated cases. He said the name of the prime minister’s wife was not there in the list.

The list showed that MQM chief Altaf Hussain had got withdrawn the highest number of cases against him – 72, including 31 on murder and 11 on attempt to murder charges.

Dr Farooq Sattar, the MQM’s parliamentary leader, occupied the second slot. A total of 23 cases were withdrawn against him, including five on charges of murder and four on attempt to murder.

The third biggest beneficiary appeared to be provincial minister Shoaib Bukhari, of the MQM, against whom 21 cases were withdrawn, including 16 on murder and attempt to murder charges.

The Federal Minister for Ports and Shipping, Babar Ghouri, Sindh Governor Ishratul Ibad, Imran Farooq, Saleem Shahzad, Waseem Akhtar and former MNA Kunwar Khalid Yunus are other prominent MQM leaders who benefited from the NRO.

Among the beneficiaries belonging to People’s Party were Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, Nawab Yousuf Talpur, Mir Baz Khetran, Sindh provincial minister Agha Siraj Durrani and Senator Jehangir Badar.

Salman Farooqi, secretary-general to the president, Pakistan’s Ambassador in Washington Hussain Haqqani and Wajid Shamsul Hasan, High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, were prominent in the section that had names of individuals other than politicians.

Although PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif had been claiming that no member of his party had benefited from the NRO, the list showed that at least four PML-N members had got relief.

They are MNA Chaudhry Shaukat Ali, Rana Nazir Ahmed, former MNAs Chaudhry Abdul Hameed and Haji Kabir, and former MPA Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali.

Despite the official release of the list, a number of “beneficiaries” denied that they had taken any relief under the NRO.

The parliamentary leader of the MQM in the National Assembly and Federal Minister for Overseas Pakistanis announced that his party was ready to face all cases in courts.

Pakistan’s High Commissioner to UK Wajid Shamsul Hassan told a private TV channel that he was not an NRO beneficiary and that he would take up the matter with the prime minister.

Hussain Haqqani, the ambassador to Washington, also protested innocence. Senator Jehangir Badar, the PPP secretary-general, also contested the inclusion of his name.

The following is a list of other prominent NRO beneficiaries:
Nusrat Bhutto (PPP); Haji Nawaz Khokhar (former deputy speaker of National Assembly); Malik Mushtaq Awan (PPP); Mian Mohammad Rasheed; Tariq Anees; Anwar Saifullah Khan (MNA); Sardar Mansoor Leghari (ex-MNA); Aftab Sherpao (MNA); Habibullah Kundi (former NWFP minister); and Ahmed Sadiq (ex-principal secretary to PM).

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