Pakistan Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf today got a temporary reprieve as the Supreme Court extended till August 8 the deadline for him to approach Swiss authorities to revive graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari, a case that had cost the Prime Minister’s predecessor his job.
The court had earlier directed the Premier to comply with its directive to reopen the corruption cases against the President by today.
During today’s hearing, Attorney General Irfan Qadir requested that the case be put off till after Eid-ul-Fitr but a five-judge bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa rejected his plea and adjourned the matter for two weeks.
Mr Qadir also objected to Justice Khosa’s presence in the bench, claiming that he was prejudiced.
He asked Justice Khosa to recuse himself from the case but the bench rejected this request too.
Justice Khosa said he would immediately quit the bench if he had any prejudice. The judges will not do anything that can harm the country or derail the democratic system, he said. The judges stand for democracy and want it to be strengthened, he added.
“How can you level charges of prejudice against me?” Justice Khosa asked. He further said the judges respected the President as much as anyone else.
But the Attorney General said he was concerned at the apex court’s order of July 12 to the Prime Minister to revive the graft cases and to file a compliance report to the court.
The Attorney General further said the government intends to file a petition seeking the review of the court’s order of July 12.
Justice Khosa said the government could file an appeal by August 8.