Swiss authorities have informed the Pakistan government that they cannot open
graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari in line with an order from the
Supreme Court, Law Minister Farooq Naek said today.
The Swiss authorities had conveyed their position in an official letter sent to
the Pakistan government this week, Naek was quoted as saying by TV news
Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira, a close aide of Zardari, said the
decision of the Swiss authorities had endorsed the stance adopted by the
Giving in to pressure from the Supreme Court, the Pakistan government had sent a
letter seeking the reopening of the graft cases to the Swiss authorities last
However, the letter had made it clear that the cases could be revived with the
condition that the President enjoyed immunity under the Constitution and
Pakistani and international laws.
The standoff between the government and the apex court over approaching the
Swiss authorities over the graft cases had cost former premier Yousuf Raza
Gilani his job last year.
The court disqualified Gilani after convicting him for contempt for refusing to
revive the cases.
Gilani's successor Raja Pervez Ashraf agreed to implement the apex court's
orders in November after he was charged with contempt.
The Supreme Court has been pressuring the Pakistan People's Party-led government
to revive the graft cases against Zardari since December 2009, when it struck
down a graft amnesty issued by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf.
The National Reconciliation Ordinance, which was part of a secret deal between
Musharraf and slain former premier Benazir Bhutto, benefited Zardari and over
Soon after the NRO was promulgated, former Attorney General Malik Qayyum had
asked Swiss authorities to close the graft cases against Zardari.