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Fresh draft of Swiss letter submitted to Pakistan court

Islamabad: The Pakistani government on Friday submitted to the Supreme Court a fresh draft of a letter that has to be sent to Swiss authorities to reopen corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari. However, the court said the draft was not in the spirit of its order.

Federal Law Minister Farooq H Naek presented the amended draft of the letter to be sent to Swiss authorities when the Supreme Court resumed the hearing in the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) implementation case, reported Dawn.

A five-member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa heard the case.

Justice Khosa said that the draft of the letter was not in spirit of the court's order.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari.

The judge noted that though the first and second paragraphs of the letter were in accordance with the court's order, the third paragraph conflicted with the first two paragraphs as well as with the court's order.

He also sought a review of the last paragraph of the letter's draft.

On Sep 18, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf Tuesday told the Supreme Court that the government has decided to withdraw a letter sent out during Pervez Musharraf's tenure to close graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

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 a 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 parliament member June 19.

IANS