The Supreme Court on Thursday asked Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani to write to the Swiss authorities asking them to reopen money laundering cases against President Asif Ali Zardari. The Premier has been asked to submit a compliance report by March 21.
This direct order to the Prime Minister was given by the Court during the hearing of the contempt case against him for not implementing repeated orders of the apex court to write to the Swiss authorities. The government has till date refused to write to the Swiss authorities on the premise that Mr. Zardari enjoys presidential immunity within the country and overseas as long as he occupies the office of President.
Ahead of passing this order, Cabinet Secretary Nargis Sethi – who had been brought in as a witness in the case by Mr. Gilani's lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan — was cross-examined by Attorney-General Anwar ul-Haq.
The Prime Minister has appeared in person in court twice in the case; first in January when contempt proceedings were initiated against him and then again in February to be formally charged with contempt after an intra-court appeal against the apex court's decision was turned down.
Contempt proceedings were launched against the Premier for repeatedly ignoring the Court's direction to write to the Swiss authorities after striking down the National Reconciliation Ordinance — promulgated by former President Pervez Musharraf — as per which all cases against the President and over 2,000 other politicians, bureaucrats and army officials were dropped.