Even as the government got some reprieve in the long-drawn out case regarding graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari in Swiss courts, another front was opened in the executive-judiciary stand-off with the Supreme Court making the presidency a party to the case pertaining to cash dole outs by the ISI to political parties in the 1990s to keep Benazir Bhutto out of power.
With the proceedings in the dole-out case revealing that the bid to tamper the 1990 general elections had been overseen by the presidency, the court decided to make the highest office of the land a party to the case. In its order, the court noted that “in view of the constitutional importance of the President of Pakistan who apparently is a symbol of the unity of republic, he cannot undertake such [political] activities…”
Given that Mr. Zardari is already dealing with a case in the Lahore High Court regarding him presiding over political meetings in the presidency — not just to manage affairs of the Pakistan People’s Party of which he is co-chair but also the ruling coalition — analysts view this development as another attempt to corner him.
In the Swiss letter case, a new deadline was set by the Court for finalising the draft of the request that is to be sent to the Swiss authorities to withdraw a 2007-vintage letter seeking closure of graft cases against Mr. Zardari.
Now the federal government has been told to submit the revised draft by October 10.
In the fresh draft submitted by the federal Law Minister, the court had issues with the last paragraph but noted that the first two paragraphs had been written as per specifications given by the five-judge bench hearing the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) implementation case.