Swiss letter casualties long, astounding: Daily

Last Updated: Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 12:38

Islamabad: The "dreaded" letter to the Swiss authorities to reopen corruption cases has a "long and astounding" list of casualties, including President Asif Ali Zardari, one prime minister, one law minister, several attorneys general and many top executives, a daily said.

The News International on Thursday editorially said the government has finally conceded to write the "dreaded" letter to the Swiss authorities, withdrawing an earlier communication sent by the then attorney general Malik Mohammad Qayyum, which had led to all money-laundering cases against president Zardari being stopped.

"The Supreme Court, after months and years of persuasion, succeeded in extracting what it wanted, basically to establish the writ of the apex body. The government, after a resistance that lasted for years, finally gave in, but with a face-saving paragraph in the letter, which mentions immunity for the sitting president," it said.

The daily said the issue of immunity was never even raised before the court.

"In fact the government had been reluctant to bring this matter to the court, because of inexplicable fears that existed only in the minds of a few highly placed persons."

The editorial asked "why hundreds of hours of the apex court, millions upon millions of tax payers` money and a long line of senior-most government officials were sacrificed in this process, when finally the outcome had to be to send the letter any way".
"The list of the casualties of the Swiss letter is long and astounding," it noted.

"It includes one prime minister, one law minister, several attorneys general and many other top executives. Why did these talented and experienced people have to be punished? Why was the country made hostage to an issue that involved alleged corruption of some people who were scared of facing the legal system of a country where they would get justice - whether they were guilty or not?"

Lauding the Supreme Court for showing "extraordinary restraint and patience in handling this issue", it said the court has finally "emerged as an institution that should be respected and which can persuade, and even force, others to respect it".

"It is also clear that the apex court was not biased against anyone. The ultimate lesson of the Swiss letter saga should be: Trust the judiciary and let it work, for the cause of justice."

IANS



First Published: Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 12:38

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