Pak not to approach Swiss authorities to reopen cases against Zardari

Last Updated: Saturday, May 22, 2010 - 20:50

Islamabad: Pakistan government has decided
not to approach Swiss authorities to reopen graft cases
against President Asif Ali Zardari in line with a Supreme
Court ruling, setting the stage for a potential confrontation
between the executive and the judiciary next week.

The decision not to revive the corruption cases
against Zardari in Switzerland was taken during a dinner
meeting of the federal cabinet hosted by the President last
night, sources said.

Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim, who attended
the meeting, told reporters in Lahore on Saturday that the
government has made a unanimous decision that no letter will
be written to Swiss authorities to revive the cases against
Zardari.

Yesterday`s meeting, which was chaired by Zardari and
also attended by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, reviewed
important cases before the superior judiciary and the
political situation.

It concluded that there was no need to reopen the
cases against Zardari as he enjoyed immunity under the
constitution, sources said.

However, the Supreme Court has summoned Law Minister
Babar Awan to appear before it on May 25 and explain why the
government is not implementing its verdict annulling the
National Reconciliation Ordinance, a graft amnesty that
benefited Zardari and over 8,000 others.

Since the apex court struck down the NRO last year, it
has been pressing the government to take action against
Zardari and his aides who benefited from the controversial
amnesty issued by former President Pervez Musharraf.

Observers believe the stage is being set for a
confrontation between Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar
Chaudhry and Zardari, who held off for over a year on the
issue of restoring the Chief Justice and other judges of the
apex court who were sacked during the 2007 emergency.

During last night`s meeting, the leaders of the ruling
Pakistan People`s party also decided that Swiss authorities
could be approached to reopen the cases against Zardari only
if Parliament withdraws the immunity available to the
President, sources said.

Commerce Minister Fahim also told reporters that the
government respects the judiciary`s verdicts though there is
no institution above the Parliament.

"There should not be any confrontation (between
institutions) and we should move forward for the betterment of
the country and the strengthening of democracy," he said.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, May 22, 2010 - 20:50

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