SC gives govt time till Sep 24 to move to reopen Zardari cases

Pakistan`s Supreme Court gave authorities time till September 24 to initiate a move to reopen corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari in Switzerland.

Islamabad: Pakistan`s Supreme Court on Wednesday
gave authorities time till September 24 to initiate a move to
reopen corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari in
Switzerland even as it ordered the arrest of two former
officials convicted for graft.

During the hearing of a suo moto case regarding the
implementation of the apex court`s order striking down a graft
amnesty called the National Reconciliation Ordinance, a bench
headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry asked the Attorney
General why a letter had not yet been sent by the government
to Swiss authorities to reopen the corruption cases.

The bench also summoned Law Secretary Masood Chishti
to explain the government`s position.

Chishti sought more time from the court, following
which the bench gave him three more days to move a formal
proposal to the Prime Minister on reopening the corruption
cases in Switzerland.

Despite tremendous pressure from the Supreme Court,
the government has refused to take any step to reopen the
cases against Zardari, whose aides have said he enjoys
immunity from prosecution by virtue of being the President.

In a related development, the apex court ordered the
arrest of former Oil and Gas Development Company Limited
chairman Adnan Khwaja and Brigadier (retired) Imtiaz Ahmed,
the former head of the Intelligence Bureau, on charges of
contempt of court.

They were arrested within the courtroom.
The court ordered the arrest of the duo for violating
its verdict annulling the National Reconciliation Ordinance.

Khwaja was convicted in a corruption case filed by the
National Accountability Bureau and given a two-year prison
term.

Ahmed was convicted for misuse of power.
Khwaja had been barred from holding any post in the
government following his conviction.

He earned the ire of the apex court after he accepted
a post from the current government.

PTI