Govt may consult cabinet on letter issue
LAHORE, July 10: The federal government may throw the ball in cabinet’s court on Wednesday (today), seeking its opinion on writing a letter to Swiss authorities to reopen graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari as ordered by the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court on June 27 told Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf to file a reply about implementation of the NRO judgment on July 12. In other words, the court asked if Mr Ashraf was willing or not to write a letter to Swiss authorities to reopen the cases in which his party co-chairman was an accused. Yousuf Raza Gilani had to lose the office of the prime minister for not complying with the Supreme Court order.
The law ministry has reportedly asked Mr Ashraf to consult his cabinet on the issue. “The Supreme Court has ordered the attorney general to ask the government to file a reply on the NRO judgment implementation. Under the constitution, the government means the prime minister and his cabinet. So it is necessary to have opinion of the cabinet on the issue,” a member of the PPP legal team told Dawn on Tuesday.
“The decision of the cabinet means the decision of the government, not only the prime minister,” says Advocate Fawad Chaudhry.
Though after passage of the new contempt of court law, which exempts holders of public offices from the contempt of court, Mr Ashraf seems to be safe if he decides not to write the letter to Swiss authorities, but involving the cabinet in the matter will give the impression that it is not prime minister’s decision.
Talking to Dawn, Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said he could not comment whether the letter issue would be discussed in the cabinet. “The law ministry has given its advice to the prime minister on this issue,” he said.
Attorney General Irfan Qadir said: “The apex court asked me to seek instructions from the prime minister on implementation of NRO judgment.”
Law Minister Farooq H. Naek was not available for comment.