Petition for reopening graft cases against Zardari rejected
Islamabad: Swiss authorities have rejected a petition from the Pakistan government to reopen graft cases against former President Asif Ali Zardari because the time limit for doing so has elapsed.
Law Secretary Raza Khan said the government had filed an appeal in June against the decision by Swiss authorities to close the cases.
The decision to close the cases was made on February 4.
Khan said an appeal against the decision had to be filed within 10 days and their counsel had apprised them of the decision by Switzerland, Geo News channel reported.
In April 2010, Swiss Attorney General Daniel Zappelli said that since Zardari enjoyed immunity under international law by virtue of being President, Swiss courts could not entertain any request to reopen cases against him.
In their latest response, Swiss authorities reiterated that the time to the reopen cases regarding the alleged laundering of USD 60 million had passed.
Zardari, the first elected Pakistani President to complete his constitutional tenure and be replaced by another elected individual, had a long run-in with courts over the Swiss graft cases. He completed his term last month.
He faced an assertive judiciary that pursued him over the corruption cases. One casualty of the struggle was then Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, who was sacked for refusing to ask Switzerland to reopen the cases.
The then Pakistan People`s Party-led government had initially refused to send a letter to Swiss authorities for reopening the cases. It had argued that since Zardari was the President, he enjoyed immunity.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is expected to be notified of the latest development and will decide the next course of action after consulting his legal team.
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