Stance on graft cases against Zardari after SC review: Gilani



Stance on graft cases against Zardari after SC review: Gilani Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has said his government will take a stand on the apex court's directive to reopen corruption cases involving Asif Ali Zardari after the Supreme Court reviews the verdict striking down the graft amnesty that benefited the President.

Gilani made the remarks in the wake of apex court's decision to put off the implementation of its order seeking the revival of graft cases against Zardari in Switzerland.

The apex court also decided it would begin hearing the government's plea seeking a review of the judgement annulling the National Reconciliation Ordinance from October 13.

The premier ruled out the chances of his government coming out with a summary or formal proposal similar to the one he was reported to have signed to tell the apex court that Islamabad would not write to Swiss authorities to reopen the cases against the President because of his constitutional immunity.

The cases were withdrawn under the NRO.

"There is no need of a summary now," Gilani said in an interview with the Dawn newspaper. He declined to confirm or deny last week's media reports that the Law Ministry had handed him a recommendation that the Supreme Court's order on reopening the Swiss cases could not be complied with.

The apex court has been pressing the Pakistan People's Party-led government in Islamabad to revive the cases against Zardari since it struck down the NRO in December last year.

The NRO was promulgated by former military ruler Gen Pervez Musharraf in 2007 as part of a secret understanding with the PPP.

Contrary to his previous outspoken defence of presidential immunity against any criminal prosecution under the Constitution's Article 248, Gilani did not say whether or not the government would take the same stand in the future on the ground that the matter is sub judice.

The constitutional provision says: "No criminal proceedings whatsoever shall be instituted or continued against the President or a Governor in any court during term of office."

Gilani also sidestepped a question about the possibility of heating up or an end to a perceived power struggle between parliament and the judiciary following the 18th constitutional amendment and said there was no conflict between institutions born of the 1973 Constitution and working within its sphere.

"The Constitution gave rights to all the institutions. We are here to protect the Constitution and respect and strengthen institutions. Therefore, I don't think that there is any sort of (conflict)," he said.

PTI