‘Govt strategy on Zardari graft cases after SC ruling`
Last Updated: Sunday, February 12, 2012, 13:01
  
Lahore: The Pakistan government will forge its strategy on the Supreme Court's order for reopening graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari after it gives its ruling in contempt proceedings against Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Monday, a top minister said on Friday.

The ruling Pakistan People?s Party (PPP) will decide its political strategy and other related matters after the apex court's order on February 13, Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim told journalists after inaugurating The India Show, a trade exhibition.

In a democratic system, political decisions are not taken in haste and every matter is considered and discussed thoroughly, he said.

"The President has immunity under the Constitution of Pakistan," he said in response to a query.

The apex court yesterday rejected Gilani’s appeal against an order summoning him on February 13 for the framing of contempt of court charges for refusing to revive cases of alleged money laundering against Zardari in Switzerland.

If Gilani is convicted he could be sentenced to jail for six months and disqualified from holding public office for five years.

The court has been pressuring the government to reopen the cases since December 2009, when it struck down a graft amnesty issued by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf. The government has refused to reopen the cases, saying the President enjoys complete immunity from prosecution within Pakistan and abroad.

Fahim said the PPP-led parliament would complete its constitutional term and general elections would be held as scheduled.

He said there were reports that the government and opposition would jointly decide about putting in place a caretaker set-up before the next polls.

In response to another question, Fahim said the Supreme Court-appointed judicial commission investigating the memo scandal was deciding matters independently.

If the statement of American businessman Mansoor Ijaz, the main accuser in the scandal, is so important, then he should come to Pakistan to depose before the commission, the Pakistani Commerce Minister said.

Replying to another query, Fahim said that though India had granted Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to Pakistan in 1995, it was yet to be practically implemented because Pakistani traders were not being issued visas.

"We need to discuss the negative list as well and every matter will be reviewed and considered carefully," he said.

Issues such as differences over the sharing of river waters too were unresolved, he said.

Pakistan and India were "positively discussing every issue minutely" and both were "progressing gradually on matters of mutual interests", he added.

Fahim said that during his visit to India last year, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had assured him that New Delhi would remove Islamabad's reservations on the waters issue by following laid down principles.

PTI


First Published: Sunday, February 12, 2012, 00:28


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