In jolt to Zardari, court approves Swiss letter draft

In jolt to Zardari, court approves Swiss letter draft

The Pakistan Supreme Court Wednesday approved the fresh draft of a letter that the government has to send to Swiss authorities to reopen corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari, a media report said.

Asif Ali zardari / File pic

The Swiss letter draft was made a part of the court order Wednesday, Geo News reported.

A three-member bench comprising Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, and Justice Azmat Saeed Sheikh heard the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) implementation case.

Federal Law Minister Farooq H. Naek presented the fresh draft of Swiss letter to the court.

Justice Khosa said that there has been improvement in the draft of the letter.

The draft of the letter was read out, which said that former Attorney General Malik
Qayyum’s letter was being withdrawn and should be considered such that it was never written.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 cases.

The hearing of the case was adjourned until Nov 14.

Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf Tuesday told the Supreme Court that the government has decided to withdraw a letter sent out during President Pervez Musharraf's tenure to close graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

Accused of graft, Zardari was granted amnesty under the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) 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.

The apex court in January ordered Gilani to write a letter to the Swiss authorities to reopen cases against Zardari.

Gilani was convicted April 26 of contempt of court for declining to comply with the court directive, and was disqualified as prime minister as well as parliament member June 19.

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