Pak finally writes to Swiss authorities in NRO case



Islamabad: The Pakistan government has finally sent a much-awaited letter to the Swiss authorities following the Supreme Court's orders in the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) implementation case, Geo News reported Wednesday.

The apex court had given the government one-month deadline to write the letter to the Swiss authorities to withdraw a previous missive sent to the Swiss government by former attorney general Malik Qayyum, seeking closure of alleged graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

According to reports, the letter, finally sent to the Swiss authorities, was written Monday (Nov 5).

On Oct 10, the Pakistan Supreme Court approved the letter's draft that the government was to send to the Swiss authorities to reopen corruption cases against President Zardari.

The letter's draft was read out, which said that Qayyum's letter was being withdrawn and should be considered such that it was never written. The draft also mentions the immunity of the heads of state, the president of the country, from criminal cases.

In January, the apex court had ordered Gilani to write a letter to the Swiss authorities to reopen graft cases against Zardari. He was convicted April 26 of contempt of court for declining to comply with the court directive and disqualified as prime minister as well as parliament member June 19.

Accused of graft, Zardari was granted amnesty under the National Reconciliation Ordinance in 2007 by then president Pervez Musharraf to facilitate his return home from exile, and primarily that of his wife, former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

Zardari and Bhutto were suspected of using Swiss accounts to launder about $12 million in alleged bribes paid by companies seeking customs inspection contracts in the 1990s.

The NRO that granted immunity to politicians and bureaucrats in corruption cases was struck down by the Supreme Court as void in law in 2009.

IANS