Pak SC gives five-day time to clear roadblocks in reopening Swiss cases against Zardari

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Islamabad, Apr.2 (ANI): Tightening its noose around President Asif Ali Zardari, the Pakistan Supreme Court (SC) has given five days time and directed the Attorney General Anwar Mansoor Khan to clear all roadblocks in the way of reopening of the money laundering cases against Zardari in Swiss court.

Hearing a suo motu notice on examining the implementation of the apex court's verdict declaring the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) as null and void, a seven member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to send a new letter to the Swiss government to reopen the corruption cases against Zardari.

Terming the previous letter to the Swiss government in this regard as 'unsatisfactory, the court observed that the letter should have been routed through the Law Ministry and approved by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani

Speaking during the hearing, Khan told the court that he was facing problems in getting hold of records, particularly the ones related to the Swiss cases, for the implementation of the NRO verdict.

He also said that Law Minister Babar Awan was 'obstructing' the process of reopening cases against Zardari.

Hearing Khan's statement, the chief justice summoned the law secretary, saying Awan could also be summoned if the secretary fails to satisfy the court.

It may be noted that Swiss Prosecutor General, Daniel Zappelli, had denied reopening cases against the Pakistan President , saying the money laundering cases against Zardari could not be reopened as he enjoys immunity under the country's Constitution.

"Zardari cannot be prosecuted in Switzerland because Pakistan's constitution grants him immunity as a head of state," said Daniel Zappelli, who had decided to close the case in Switzerland against Zardari and former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, in August 2008.

Zappeli made it clear that Geneva cannot reopen cases against Zardari until Pakistani authorities remove the amnesty granted to the President.

"We could go further only if the competent authorities in Pakistan decide to lift the immunity of the head of state, which I do not know whether it is possible according to their constitution. If not, we can't. Absolutely not," he had said. (ANI)

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