Pak SC issues showcause notice to PM Ashraf

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf has been ordered to appear before the Supreme Court on August 27.

Last Updated: Aug 09, 2012, 00:52 AM IST

Islamabad: Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Wednesday issued a show-cause notice to Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf for failing to implement its order to write to the Swiss authorities to reopen corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

"We hereby issue a notice to Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf…to show cause why he may not be proceeded against for committing contempt," the court said in its order, Dawn reported.

The apex court summoned Ashraf before adjourning the hearing of the NRO implementation case to August 27.

The order said it was unfortunate that the Prime Minister had failed to implement the court`s directives.

A five-judge special bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, heard the case on Wednesday.

Attorney General Irfan Qadir said the government was taking serious steps to resolve the issue. He said more time was required.

The court had on July 25 given Ashraf time up to August 08 to write to Swiss authorities to reopen corruption cases against Zardari.

Ashraf`s predecessor, Yousuf Raza Gilani, was disqualified by the court for contempt after he refused to accept the court`s orders.

Accused of graft, Zardari was granted amnesty under the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) in 2007 by then president Pervez Musharraf to facilitate his return home from exile, and primarily that of his wife, former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

Zardari and Bhutto were suspected of using Swiss accounts to launder about USD 12 million in alleged bribes paid by companies seeking customs inspection contracts in the 1990s.

The NRO that granted immunity to politicians and bureaucrats in corruption cases was struck down by the Supreme Court as void in 2009.

The apex court in January ordered Gilani to write a letter to the Swiss authorities to reopen cases against Zardari.

Gilani was convicted on April 26 of contempt of court, and was disqualified as prime minister as well as Parliament member on June 19.