Zardari graft case: Pak SC sets July 12 deadline for govt

Pak SC has set July 12 deadline for the govt to take steps to re-open graft cases against Zardari.

Last Updated: Jul 05, 2010, 18:56 PM IST

Islamabad: Pakistan`s Supreme Court on Monday set
a July 12 deadline for the government to take steps to reopen
graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari in Switzerland,
saying it was giving the authorities "one more chance" to
address the issue.

A five-member bench of the apex court directed the Law
Ministry to prepare within a week a fresh proposal for Prime
Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani regarding the reopening of the
corruption cases, which were scrapped under a controversial
graft amnesty, against Zardari over alleged laundering of USD
60 million.

If the ministry failed to do so, Law Secretary Masood
Chishti would have to appear in the court to provide an
explanation, the bench said.

The court gave its directive after Attorney General
Anwarul Haq informed the bench that the Law Ministry was yet
to implement an order issued on June 11.

At the last hearing, the bench had directed the Law
Ministry to prepare a proposal for the Premier regarding the
revival of the cases in Switzerland.

The Supreme Court had taken up a suo motu case
regarding the implementation of its verdict striking down the
National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), a graft amnesty that
was issued by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf in 2007.

The NRO benefitted over 8,000 people, including Zardari
and several of his close aides.

Since it annulled the NRO last year, the apex court
had been pressing the Pakistan People`s Party-led government
to reopen graft cases involving Zardari in Switzerland.

The government had stymied the court`s moves, saying
Zardari enjoyed immunity from prosecution by virtue of holding
the post of President. It ignored several directives issued by
the apex court on reopening of the cases.

During today`s hearing, the bench headed by Justice
Nasir-ul-Mulk said it was giving the government "one more
chance" to address the issue.

In a separate development, a 17-judge bench of the
apex court admitted several petitions filed by the government
seeking a review of the verdict striking down the NRO and
adjourned the matter for indefinite period.

PTI