Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf directs Law Minister to withdraw letter of Malik Qayyum

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012 10:06:47 by

In what appeared to be a complete flip-flop, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Tuesday said he has directed Law Minister Farooq H. Naek to withdraw the letter written to Swiss authorities asking for all cases to be closed against President Asif Ali Zardari.

The premier informed the court the government has decided to withdraw the letter written by Malik Qayyum to Swiss government.

It is to be mentioned here that the cases that had been closed by Malik Qayyum’s letter can now be reopened by the Swiss authorities if they choose.

A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa has resumed hearing of NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance) implementation case.

Justice Khosa in the course of hearing directed the prime minister to notify the court after the Swiss attorney general has been informed of the new developments.

In reply to a question by the court, the premier reassured that he had directed Farooq H. Naek to handle the matter of letter.

PM Ashraf said that he contemplated a lot during the three-week time given to him by the court, adding that the matter is not related to President Zardari, but his rank and that he hoped that the court will respect his post.

He continued that the court will have to keep in mind the current situation when making a decision. The premier also prayed to the court to provide him immunity from court appearances.

He said, “The elections are not far away and we want resolution of this matter that upholds the dignity of both the Judiciary and office of President”.

Upon this, the court asked the premier to complete process of revoking earlier letter closing cases against Zardari in two-three days.

Justice Asif Saeed Khosa also directed PM Ashraf to draft the letter in 2-3 days, and authorize Farooq Naek to write it by tomorrow.

He asked the premier to resolve this matter before Russian President Vladimir Putin visits Pakistan on October 2, adjourning the case on September 25.

The court earlier had issued a show-cause notice to PM Ashraf for not implementing its rulings to reopen cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

On the last hearing, the court had granted a rather generous period of over three weeks time to the prime minister to think about the matter.

It is vital to mention here that former premier Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani was charged with the contempt of court and subsequently removed from the office.

The graft cases were shelved in 2007 after then attorney-general Malik Qayyum wrote letters to the Swiss authorities following the promulgation of the NRO.

The Supreme Court, however, scrapped the NRO in 2009 and declared that all cases closed under the defunct law stood open.

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