SC warns govt with contempt over Swiss letter
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court, while hearing NRO verdict implementation case on Wednesday, warned the government with contempt proceedings after rejecting a draft letter to Swiss prosecutors that ministers hoped would end a legal wrangle over graft cases against the president.
The apex court said the draft letter prepared by Law Minister Farooq Naek was unsatisfactory and gave him until October 5 to make changes.
Justice Asif Saeed Khosa warned if the court’s objections were not answered by October 5, it may launch contempt proceedings.
No details of the content of the letter or the court’s objections have been revealed.
The hearing on the NRO verdict implementation case was adjourned until Oct 5.
Former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was thrown out of office in June after being convicted of contempt for refusing to write to the Swiss.
Until its climbdown last week, the government argued it was unable to write to the Swiss as Zardari enjoys complete immunity from prosecution as head of state.
The allegations against Zardari date back to the 1990s, when he and his late wife, former premier Benazir Bhutto, are suspected of laundering $12 million allegedly paid in bribes by companies seeking customs inspection contracts.
Today’s court-room proceedings
A five-member bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa resumed the hearing on the NRO verdict implementation case.
The judges objected to the revised draft of the letter submitted in the court for not mentioning the restoration of alleged graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.
The court adjourned the next hearing until Oct 5 after Naek made a request to the court to adjourn the hearing, adding that the issue would be resolved by then.
Earlier, the hearing was adjourned till 12:00 pm after Law Minister Farooq Naek and senior lawyer Wasim Sajjad returned to the court room from the judges chambers.
During the hearing, Justice Khosa told the Federal law minister that the court had asked for the Swiss letter draft, submitted in the court a day earlier, to be revised adding that he hoped that those revisions had been made.
Naek submitted Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf’s authority letter delegating the law minister to draft the letter and a revised draft of the letter to the court.
The judges held consultations on the revised draft of the letter.
Naek requested the court to carry out the hearing in the judges chambers, claiming that certain sensitive aspects on the issues could not be discussed in an open court-room.
The judges accepted Naek’s request as they retreated to their chambers.
Federal Law Minister Farooq H. Naek and senior lawyer Wasim Sajjad were summoned into the judges chambers.
An initial draft of the letter, to be sent to the Swiss authorities, was submitted in the court a day earlier in accordance to an earlier order passed by the court.