Zardari’s graft cases: Reopening put off by Pak SC

Pakistan`s SC accepted the govt`s request to temporarily put off implementation of its order for reopening graft cases against Zardari.

Islamabad: Averting a possible showdown
with the ruling PPP, Pakistan`s Supreme Court on Monday accepted
the government`s request to temporarily put off implementation
of its order for reopening graft cases against President Asif
Ali Zardari in Switzerland.

Acting on an application submitted by Attorney General
Anwar-ul-Haq, a bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar
Chaudhry adjourned till October 13 the hearing of a suo moto
case regarding the implementation of the court`s verdict
striking down the National Reconciliation Ordinance, a graft
amnesty that benefit Zardari and over 8,000 others.

The government`s application further said that the
apex court should put off the suo moto case till it decided on
another petition filed by the government seeking a review of
the verdict annulling the NRO.

The application said the hearing of the suo moto case
should also be adjourned as the Prime Minister has been very
busy "with affairs of the state and, inter alia, with the
flood situation and international commitments".

Besides, the application said, the premier "wishes to
further consider and discuss the legal aspects of the matter"
with experts.

During the hearing, the Chief Justice said the matter
could not be put off indefinitely and adjourned the case till
October 13.

He also made it clear that anything which conflicts
with the constitution is not law.

While the apex court put off the matter of asking the
government to contact Swiss authorities to reopen cases
against Zardari related to the alleged laundering of USD 60
million, it asked the PPP-led coalition to implement
directives to revive graft cases against others who had
benefited from NRO and are now holding government positions.

According to court documents, several of Zardari`s
close aides, including Interior Minister Rehman Malik and Law
Minister Babar Awan, are among those who benefited from NRO.

In a related development, Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani
refused to comment on proceedings in the apex court but
indicated his government would not bow down before anyone.

He also made it clear that the fate of the executive
and judiciary were inter-twined.

"No one should have the wrong impression. We all came
together, we will go together," he told reporters during a
visit to the railway ministry here.

"The matter (of implementing the apex court`s order on
the NRO) is sub-judice (and) I don`t want to comment on it but
there is a lot of betting on it," he said in a lighter vein.

"I don`t see (any change happening) in a democratic
manner. So you needn`t worry," he added.