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.

PTI



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

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