Pak SC presses govt to reopen graft cases against Zardari

Last Updated: Friday, June 11, 2010 - 21:42

Islamabad: Pakistan`s Supreme Court on Friday
directed the Law Ministry to prepare a fresh proposal for the
Prime Minister regarding the implementation of its verdict
annulling a graft amnesty that benefited President Asif Ali
Zardari.

A five-member bench issued the directive during the
hearing of a suo moto case over the government`s failure to
implement the verdict on the National Reconciliation
Ordinance (NRO).
Since it struck down the amnesty last year, the court
has been pressing the government to reopen graft cases against
Zardari in Switzerland.

"We direct that a fresh summary for the Prime Minister
shall be prepared by the Law Secretary," the bench said in its
order.

Earlier, the court expressed grave concern over the
government’s attitude of not implementing its verdict.

The government has chosen to ignore repeated calls
by the Supreme Court to write to Swiss authorities to revive
cases against Zardari related to the alleged laundering of USD
60 million.

Zardari`s aides have maintained he has immunity from
prosecution by virtue of being President.

The cases against Zardari in Switzerland were disposed
of or closed after former military ruler Pervez Musharraf
promulgated the NRO as part of a secret understanding with
slain former premier Benazir Bhutto.
During today’s hearing, Justice Jawwad S Khwaja, a
member of the bench, asked Attorney General Anwarul Haq as to
what the court should do in a case where the government is not
implementing its order.

"We have become a laughing stock," he remarked.

Acting Law Secretary Sultan Shah submitted to the
court a summary sent by the Law Ministry to the Prime Minister
regarding the implementation of the verdict on the NRO.

Attorney General Haq told the court that the Prime
Minister had asked the Law Ministry for its opinion on the
ruling.

After going through the Law Ministry`s summary, the
bench observed that it was an effort to misguide Prime
Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

"You are trying to misguide the Prime Minister," said
Justice Tariq Parvez, another member of the bench.

Pakistan`s top court questioned how the Law Ministry
could advise the premier to seek the help of the Attorney
General or the ministry.

"Let the Prime Minister decide," Justice Parvez said.

"We will direct you what kind of summary you should
present to the Prime Minister," said Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk,
pointing out that the summary previously sent to the Prime
Minister suggested non-implementation of the verdict instead
of its implementation.

The court later adjourned the matter till the first
week of July.

PTI



First Published: Friday, June 11, 2010 - 21:42

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