Pakistani PM gets two weeks to write to Swiss powers

July 25th, 2012 - 2:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Yousuf Raza Gilani Islamabad, July 25 (IANS) The Supreme Court of Pakistan Wednesday gave two weeks more to Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf to write to Swiss authorities to reopen corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

The apex court had earlier set July 25 deadline for the prime minister to approach the Swiss authorities to reopen the corruption cases, Xinhua reported.

Ashraf’s predecessor, Yousuf Raza Gilani, was disqualified by the court for contempt after he refused to accept the court’s orders.

Attorney General Altaf Qadir Wednesday sought more time to file a review petition against the court’s July 12 verdict, when it had set July 25 as the deadline.

Accepting the attorney general’s plea, a five-judge bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa adjourned the hearing till Aug 8 and directed Ashraf to write the letter to the Swiss authorities.

The court also asked the attorney general to file a review petition against ita July 12 order.

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 2009.

The apex court in January ordered Gilani to write the 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 MP June 19.

The court, however, sentenced him only “until the rising of the court”, or till the time the judges left the court chamber. That was only for about 30 seconds after the guilty verdict was handed down to Gilani.

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