The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Tuesday granted another day to the federal government to finalise the draft of the letter that is to be written to the Swiss authorities seeking withdrawal of a 2007-vintage letter seeking closure of graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

The day's extension was given after federal Law Minister Farooq Naek sought more time to incorporate the changes suggested by the Court in the letter submitted by him. What exactly transpired between Mr Naek and the five-judge bench was unclear because that interaction took place in the chambers.

From all indications coming from the government, the Court has asked the Minister to specifically mention the letter written by then Attorney General Malik Qayyum in 2007 to the Swiss authorities seeking closure of cases against Mr Zardari following the promulgation of the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) — an amnesty law introduced by the Musharraf regime. The NRO was subsequently declared null and void by the Supreme Court in 2009 after which it has been insisting that the Government write to the Swiss authorities to reopen the cases.

The Government refused to do it till last week when Prime Minister Raja Parvez Ashraf said Mr Qayyum's letter would be withdrawn. The Court had given time till Tuesday to draft the letter; seen by many analysts as a middle way out of an issue that has preoccupied the executive and the judiciary and also caused the ouster of Mr Ashraf's predecessor Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani.

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