A Pakistan Supreme Court bench has told Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf that he needs to give them an undertaking stating that he will take action into reopening graft cases against the President, adding that his mere appearance in court did not demonstrate ‘respect’ for the judiciary.
The case has been adjourned till 12 September.
The court had issued a show cause notice to Ashraf, asking why he should not face charges of contempt of court for refusing to revive graft cases against President Zardari over wealth allegedly stashed away illegally in Switzerland.
Ashraf’s predecessor, Yousuf Raza Gilani, was convicted of contempt and disqualified by the apex court in June for refusing to reopen the cases against Zardari.
In his court appearance, Ashraf asked the court to give him some time so that he could consult legal experts, adding that he required around four to six weeks. He also asked the Supreme Court to take back the show cause notice that had been issued to him.
The Supreme Court had reportedly told the premier to give them a firm undertaking that he would take action, and told him that the matter was one that could be resolved in a day, and was not as big as it’s been made out to be.
Newsweek Pakistan tweeted that one of the judges on the bench had told the PM that he should task someone to write letter to Swiss authorities and suggested Law Minister Farooq H Naek.
Meanwhile PTI‘s Pakistan correspondent Rezaul Hasan Laskar tweeted that it seemed like a strategy on the part of the Supreme Court:
Seems like a concerted effort to corner PM Ashraf by asking him to nominate someone to write to Swiss authorities abt cases against Zardari.
— Rezaul Hasan Laskar (@Rezhasan) अगस्त 27, 2012
President Asif Ali Zardari, who is also the head of the PPP, decided last night that the premier would appear in court after a late night meeting with leaders of the ruling coalition, officials said.
During the 90-minute meeting held at the presidency, Law Minister Farooq Naek briefed the leaders on the options available to the government to tackle court cases against the government.