Stance on graft cases against Zardari after SC review: Gilani

Last Updated: Wednesday, September 29, 2010 - 16:01

Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf
Raza Gilani has said his government will take a stand on the
apex court`s directive to reopen corruption cases involving
Asif Ali Zardari after the Supreme Court reviews the verdict
striking down the graft amnesty that benefited the President.

Gilani made the remarks in the wake of apex court`s
decision to put off the implementation of its order seeking
the revival of graft cases against Zardari in Switzerland.

The apex court also decided it would begin hearing the
government`s plea seeking a review of the judgement annulling
the National Reconciliation Ordinance from October 13.

The premier ruled out the chances of his government
coming out with a summary or formal proposal similar to the
one he was reported to have signed to tell the apex court that
Islamabad would not write to Swiss authorities to reopen the
cases against the President because of his constitutional
immunity.

The cases were withdrawn under the NRO.

"There is no need of a summary now," Gilani said in an
interview with the Dawn newspaper. He declined to confirm or
deny last week`s media reports that the Law Ministry had
handed him a recommendation that the Supreme Court`s order on
reopening the Swiss cases could not be complied with.

The apex court has been pressing the Pakistan People`s
Party-led government in Islamabad to revive the cases against
Zardari since it struck down the NRO in December last year.

The NRO was promulgated by former military ruler Gen
Pervez Musharraf in 2007 as part of a secret understanding
with the PPP.

Contrary to his previous outspoken defence of
presidential immunity against any criminal prosecution under
the Constitution`s Article 248, Gilani did not say whether or
not the government would take the same stand in the future on
the ground that the matter is sub judice.

The constitutional provision says: "No criminal
proceedings whatsoever shall be instituted or continued
against the President or a Governor in any court during term
of office."

Gilani also sidestepped a question about the
possibility of heating up or an end to a perceived power
struggle between parliament and the judiciary following the
18th constitutional amendment and said there was no conflict
between institutions born of the 1973 Constitution and working
within its sphere.

"The Constitution gave rights to all the institutions.
We are here to protect the Constitution and respect and
strengthen institutions. Therefore, I don`t think that there
is any sort of (conflict)," he said.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, September 29, 2010 - 16:01

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