‘Swiss graft cases against Zardari can't be reopened’

‘Swiss graft cases against Zardari can`t be reopened’ Islamabad: Pakistan government on Thursday informed the Supreme Court that graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari in Switzerland cannot be reopened in accordance with its verdict, drawing a strong reaction from a five-judge bench which said authorities seemed to be attaching no importance to its order.

Appearing before the apex court bench hearing a suo motu case on implementation of a ruling which annulled a graft amnesty that benefited the President and thousands of others, Attorney General Anwar-ul-Haq said the government had made no contacts with Swiss authorities to revive the cases against Zardari.

Haq also submitted Law Secretary Aqil Mirza's official response to the apex court.

He said the Law Secretary had made it clear that the cases in Switzerland were over and there was no need for any communication to reopen them.

The Law Secretary had also made it clear that the cases against Zardari cannot be reopened, Haq said.

The Supreme Court bench expressed its dissatisfaction with the government's stand.

Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk, a member of the bench, said the government seemed to be attaching no importance to the court's verdict striking down the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) issued by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf.

The bench asked the Attorney General to name the person who was impeding the implementation of the court's verdict so that the bench could take action against him.

The Attorney General replied that the government's intentions are honourable and proper procedures are being adopted to implement the verdict.

The NRO, which was issued by Musharraf as part of a secret understanding with Zardari's slain wife and former premier Benazir Bhutto, was struck down by the apex court last year.

Tensions between Zardari's PPP-led government and Chief Justice Iftikhar M Chaudhry have increased since the apex court began pressuring authorities to implement its order to reopen graft cases against Zardari and his close aides.

Senior PPP leaders have insisted that the President enjoys immunity from criminal prosecution.