Write to the Swiss on Zardari cases before Aug. 8: Judges
Prime Minister Raja Parvez Ashraf on Wednesday got a breather with the Supreme Court giving him another fortnight to comply with its order asking the government to write to the Swiss authorities to reopen graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari. On July 12, the Court had warned that if the Prime Minister failed to comply with its order to write the letter by July 25, then appropriate action could be initiated against him under the Constitution and the law.
The Court has now set August 8 as the deadline by when the letter should be written though the Attorney-General again maintained that the government would not approach the Swiss authorities to reopen the cases that were closed after the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) was promulgated by the Musharraf regime. Subsequently, the Supreme Court annulled the NRO in 2009 and has since been insisting that the government ask Swiss authorities to reopen the cases.
The government’s contention since then has been that the letter cannot be written as the President enjoys immunity while in office. Though the Court had on Tuesday rejected the government’s civil miscellaneous application against its July 12 order, it said a review petition could be filed as per mandated procedure.
With the extension of the deadline, Mr. Ashraf may just about see through a month in office, which is longer than what many had predicted for him when he assumed office on June 22. His predecessor was disqualified from his membership of the National Assembly and sent packing by the Supreme Court for refusing to write the letter.