Pak SC turns heat on govt to reopen Swiss cases against Zardari

Islamabad, Sep 22 (ANI): The Pakistan Supreme Court has again directed the federal government to re-open the money laundering cases against President Asif Ali Zardari, as well as to ensure the implementation of the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) verdict "in letter and spirit."

A three-member bench, comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Tariq Parvez and Justice Ghulam Rabbani, on hearing a suo motu case against non-implementation of its 2009 verdict against the NRO, directed the law secretary to move a summary to the prime minister for re-opening of the Swiss cases by September 24, the Daily Times reported.

"We have to ensure implementation of the apex court's judgements in letter and spirit," the CJP observed. However, the law secretary repeatedly sought more time from the court for the implementation of the NRO verdict as well as for reopening of the Swiss cases.

The court was concerned over the government's failure to implement its verdicts and also over the delay in reopening of Swiss cases, Justice Tariq Parvez observed, adding, "Apart from the NRO verdict, other judgements of the court are also not being implemented."

The court also called upon the Attorney General to ensure the implementation of the court's orders.

Earlier, Law Secretary Justice (retd.) Aqil Mirza had told the Supreme Court that the Swiss cases filed against Zardari could not be reopened, and therefore, there was no need for any correspondence with the Swiss authorities in that regard.

Zardari, alongwith Benazir, was 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.

Swiss Prosecutor General Daniel Zappelli had said that Pakistan's embassy in Switzerland had officially notified him in June 2008 of a decision by Pakistan's prosecutor-general in April to withdraw proceedings against Zardari.

"Zardari cannot be prosecuted in Switzerland because Pakistan's constitution grants him immunity as a head of state," he said. (ANI)

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