Swiss graft case against Zardari can’t be reopened: Government

Posted by on May 6th, 2010 and filed under Immigration/Law/Rights, Indo-Pak/Pakistan, International. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Islamabad, May 6 (IANS) In what seems to be a case of the left hand not knowing what the right is doing, the Pakistani government Thursday informed the Supreme Court that a $60 million Swiss graft case against President Asif Ali Zardari cannot be reopened in spite of the court mandating this.

On March 31, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) that prosecutes graft cases had informed the Supreme Court that it had written to the Swiss authorities to reopen the case.

Appearing before the court Thursday, Attorney General Anwar-ul-Haq said Law Secretary Aqil Mirza had made it clear that the Swiss case was over and there was no need for any communication to reopen them.

Thus, the government had made no contacts with Swiss authorities to revive the case against Zardari, Haq added, drawing a sharp reaction from the five-judge bench, Online news agency reported.

Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk, a member of the bench, said the government seemed to be attaching no importance to the court’s verdict striking down the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) issued by then president Pervez Musharraf granting amnesty against graft.

The bench asked the attorney general to name the individual who was impeding the implementation of the court’s verdict so that the bench could take action against him.

The attorney general replied that the government’s intentions were honourable and proper procedures are being adopted to implement the verdict.

The court then summoned the law secretary and the NAB chief to appear before it at the next hearing May 13.

Zardari’s case, along with 157 others, has been reopened after the Supreme Court last December struck down the NRO that Musharraf had promulgated in October 2007.

The NRO was primarily meant to enable former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and her husband Zardari, who faced a slew of corruption cases, to return home from self-imposed exile.

Bhutto was assassinated in a gun and bomb attack as she left a political rally in the adjacent garrison town of Rawalpindi Dec 27, 2007.

A host of other politicians, retired army officers and bureaucrats had also benefited from the NRO.

On April 1, a two-member NAB team had returned here with the voluminous records relating to Zardari’s Swiss case.

The team returned from London with a bulky bag containing the records that were handed over to the NAB through the foreign office.

Pakistan’s high commissioner in London Wajid Shams ul Hassan had taken custody of the records after a Geneva court closed the case in August 2008 at the request of the Pakistani government and released $60 million that was frozen in Swiss accounts.

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