Govt justifies decision not to reopen Zardari`s graft cases
Last Updated: Friday, September 24, 2010, 00:04
Islamabad: Pakistan’s government has justified its decision not to reopen corruption cases in Switzerland against President Asif Ali Zardari despite pressure from the Supreme Court to do so, TV news channels reported on Thursday.

The news channels quoted their sources as saying that the government’s position on the graft cases was contained in a "summary" or formal proposal sent by the Law Ministry for the Prime Minister.

The summary said the cases in Switzerland are closed and there is no need to reopen them.

It further stated that the President is part of parliament and enjoys immunity from prosecution, the sources told the channels.

The constitution does not allow such action to be taken against the President, the summary said.

The Law Ministry said writing a letter to a foreign country to reopen graft cases against the President would be in conflict with national sovereignty.

Besides, the President is the supreme commander of Pakistan's armed forces and any move to initiate legal action against him would not be in line with security interests, the sources were quoted as saying.

During the hearing of a suo moto case on implementing its verdict scrapping the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), a graft amnesty that benefited Zardari and thousands of others, the Supreme Court had directed Law Secretary Masood Chishti to send a formal proposal to the Prime Minister for initiating action to reopen the corruption cases in Switzerland by September 24.

A three-member bench of the apex court led by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry is scheduled to take up the suo moto case again tomorrow.

The government has also filed a petition in the Supreme Court asking it to withdraw orders to reopen the cases in Switzerland against the President.

The petition said the Supreme Court's orders are in conflict with international law.

In a related development, the ruling Pakistan People's Party today said it did not want any confrontation with the judiciary.

The PPP and its government at the centre will continue its policy of reconciliation, senior party leader Jahangir Badar told the media after a meeting of the PPP's central executive committee chaired by Zardari.

Following landmark constitutional amendments, parliament has been empowered to make decisions on key issues and such decisions will be acceptable to the PPP, Badar said.

The President has transferred his powers to parliament through the 18th constitutional amendment and the balance of power between parliament and other institutions must be maintained, he added.


First Published: Friday, September 24, 2010, 00:04

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