SC made 'mistake' by asking to reopen Swiss graft cases against Zardari: Pak Govt.

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Islamabad, Jun.7 (ANI): In what can further complicate issues between the Pakistan government and the Supreme Court, the Gilani government, in its reply over a petition to review the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) verdict, has argued that the apex court had committed a 'mistake' by directing the concerned authorities to reopen graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari pending in Swiss courts.

The Government's counsel Kamal Azfar tabled a written reply in the court, which stated that the Supreme Court "had made a mistake in its December 16, 2009 judgment on the NRO by asking the government to reopen Swiss cases against Zardari."

The statement said that NRO beneficiaries were neither served notices nor given an opportunity to explain themselves, and that conviction in absentia had no standing in Pakistan's criminal law.

Later, the apex court adjourned the hearing in the case till June 9 (Wednesday), The Dawn reports.

Cases against Zardari and 157 others were reopened after the Supreme Court declared the controversial amnesty law, NRO as 'unconstitutional'.

Zardari and and her assassinated wife Benazir Benazir , were convicted by a Geneva court in 2003 of laundering 13 million dollars linked to kickbacks, but that verdict was overturned on appeal. In 2008, Swiss judicial authorities said they had closed the file related to the case.

Last month, Attorney General Maulvi Anwar-ul-Haq had told the apex court that Law Secretary Law Secretary Justice (retired) Muhammad Aqil Mirza had made it clear that the Swiss cases had been closed and that there was no need for any communication with the Swiss government to reopen the multi-million dollar money laundering cases. (ANI)

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