Zardari graft cases disposed off in Switzerland: Govt to SC

Last Updated: Monday, June 7, 2010 - 23:37

Islamabad: The Pakistan government on Monday
informed the Supreme Court that graft cases against President
Asif Ali Zardari in Switzerland had been disposed off and no
request could be made for their revival under Swiss laws.

The government conveyed its stance in a statement
submitted to the apex court by its counsel Kamal Azfar.

Since the apex court annulled a graft amnesty issued
by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, it has been
pressing the government to reopen cases against Zardari.

The government has maintained that Zardari enjoys
immunity from prosecution by virtue of holding the post of
President.

Zardari`s aides and government lawyers have also said
that the government will not approach Swiss authorities to
revive cases against him related to the alleged laundering of
60 million dollars.

The statement filed by Azfar sought a review of
various aspects of the Supreme Court`s order of last year that
struck down the National Reconciliation Ordinance, the graft
amnesty issued by Musharraf as part of a secret understanding
with slain former premier Benazir Bhutto.

The statement said the apex court had been apprised
that proceedings pending in Switzerland against Bhutto, her
mother Nusrat Bhutto, Zardari and others had already been
disposed of on merit.

These cases were not closed on the basis of a letter
written by former Attorney General Malik Qayyum and the
decision was made by the Prosecutor General of Geneva in 2008,
it said.

The investigation in Switzerland was closed by the
Prosecutor General "mainly on account of the evidence recorded
by the Swiss authorities" the statement said.

It added that "no case whatsoever is pending which
can be legally revived."

Asking the court to consider this aspect, the
statement said it would be an exercise in futility to contact
the Swiss authorities while knowing that the cases cannot be
revived.

It also said the original request made in 1997 by
Pakistani authorities to the Swiss government to launch
proceedings against Zardari was "illegal".

The statement further said that the apex court had
erred in ordering the reopening of cases in Switzerland and
Pakistan.

It was against the generally accepted principle of
law for a person to be prosecuted for the same offense more
than once, it said.

There are no pending cases in Switzerland as only a
criminal investigation into accusations of money laundering
was opened by Swiss authorities under Swiss law at their own
initiative, it said.

A 17-judge bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief
Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry adjourned till Wednesday the hearing
of a set of petitions seeking a review of its verdict
scrapping the NRO.

PTI



First Published: Monday, June 7, 2010 - 23:37

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