Islamabad: Pakistan government has asked
Switzerland to reopen graft cases against President Asif Ali
Zardari related to the alleged stashing of USD 60 million in
Swiss banks, the country`s anti-corruption agency told the
Supreme Court today.
Authorities had written letters to Swiss Attorney General
and other officials to reopen the corruption cases that were
closed under a controversial graft amnesty issued by
ex-military ruler Pervez Musharraf, National Accountability
Bureau Chairman Naveed Ahsan`s lawyer Abid Zubairi informed a
seven-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry.
Zubairi said the international mutual legal assistance
that was granted to Switzerland in 1997 and subsequently
withdrawn would be restored to facilitate the reopening of
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has taken steps
to reopen 152 cases in which Zardari is named as an accused
and the Foreign Ministry has been asked to cooperate in
reopening the cases in Switzerland, Zubairi said.
The apex court had yesterday threatened to imprison the
NAB Chairman after the government failed to meet a 24-hour
deadline to reopen hundreds of graft cases, including those
against Zardari and his close aides.
The Chief Justice had also brushed aside Ahsan`s
contention that Zardari enjoyed immunity from prosecution by
virtue of being President and indicated that this issue was
yet to be decided by the apex court.
The NAB also told the apex court during today`s
proceedings that it was awaiting permission from the Law
Ministry to take action against former Attorney General Malik
Qayyum, on whose request cases in Swiss court against Zardari
The Chief Justice asked Attorney General Anwar Mansoor if
the government had fully implemented the apex court`s verdict
striking down the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), the
graft amnesty issued by Musharraf, and Mansoor replied in the
According to a report submitted by NAB to the apex court,
authorities had taken steps to reopen 16 cases in the Supreme
Court and 158 in High Courts that were closed under the NRO.
Summons had also been issued to the accused in these
cases, the report said.
Earlier, official sources said the government has started
implementing the verdict of the Supreme Court striking down
the NRO following the court`s ultimatum.
A spokesman for NAB said the Supreme Court`s "verdict is
being put into action as it is" and that all steps have been
taken in "complete accordance with the verdict."
In another related development, the Supreme Court today
ordered the reopening of a case against Aamir Lodhi, a defence
contractor and co-accused in an arms kickbacks case who had
benefited from the NRO.
Lodhi, the brother of former ambassador Maleeha Lodhi,
was linked to kickbacks allegedly paid for sealing a deal for
French-made Agosta submarines.
The probe into the submarine deal had led to removal of
naval chief Admiral Mansoor-ul-Haq.
The Supreme Court yesterday ordered the re-arrest of
Federal Investigation Agency Additional Director-General Ahmed
Riaz Sheikh to serve his earlier sentence that was waived
under the NRO.
The court also ordered the confiscation of all his