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



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

PTI