government has decided to withdraw a letter sent out during Pervez Musharraf's tenure to close graft cases against President Asif Ali
Zardari, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf told the Supreme Court,
which Tuesday gave him time till Sep 25 to write to Swiss
authorities to reopen the corruption cases.
A five-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Asif Saeed
Khosa, heard the show-cause notice for contempt of court against
Ashraf over the NRO implementation case.
Ashraf, who stepped into the shoes of Yousuf Raza Gilani who was
disqualified for contempt when he refused to accept the court's
orders, said the government has decided to withdraw ex-attorney
general Malik Qayyum's letter that was written to the Swiss
autorities during then president Pervez Musharraf's tenure.
The prime minister Tuesday appeared before the Supreme Court,
which had last month given him three-weeks' time to write to Swiss
authorities on reopening corruption cases against President Asif
Ashraf said he has directed Law Minister Farooq H. Naek to
withdraw the letter written to Swiss authorities asking for
closing all the cases against the president, reported Geo News.
The cases that had been closed by Malik Qayyum's letter can now be
reopened by the Swiss authorities if they choose, the media report
The court granted the prime minister exemption from appearing for
the upcoming hearing.
Earlier during the hearing, The court ruled that the government
must draft the letter by Sep 25.
Justice Khosa appreciated Ashraf's efforts for the resolution of
the longstanding issue.
The bench, however, said that time for consultations was over and
now the government should focus on writing the letter, reported
Justice Khosa told the prime minister to write the letter to Swiss
authorities and follow four steps: The prime minister would
authorise someone in writing to write the letter, the content of
the letter should satisfy the court, subsequently the letter is
sent and lastly the court is informed once the letter is sent.
On Aug 27, the Supreme Court had given a three-week reprieve to
Ashraf by adjourning the contempt case against him till Sep 18.
The court had July 25 given Ashraf time till Aug 8 to write to
Swiss authorities to reopen corruption cases against Zardari.
Accused of graft, Zardari was granted amnesty under the National
Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) in 2007 by then president Pervez
Musharraf to facilitate his return home from exile, and primarily
that of his wife, former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
Zardari and Bhutto were suspected of using Swiss accounts to
launder about $12 million in alleged bribes paid by companies
seeking customs inspection contracts in the 1990s.
The NRO that granted immunity to politicians and bureaucrats in
corruption cases was struck down by the Supreme Court as void in
The apex court in January ordered Gilani to write a letter to the
Swiss authorities to reopen cases against Zardari.
Gilani was convicted April 26 of contempt of court, and was
disqualified as prime minister as well as parliament member June