|Naek submits Swiss letter draft in SC|
25 September 2012
ISLAMABAD: Law Minister Farooq H Naek submitted the draft of the letter to be written to the Swiss authorities, along with an authority letter on behalf of Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Express News reported Tuesday.
Followed by the submission, a five-member judicial bench of the Supreme Court had started reviewing the draft.
The law minister was called inside the court chamber for consultation.
Naek requested the court to adjourn the hearing till tomorrow, which was accepted by the court.
The judicial bench reviewed the letter and raised some objections, which were not disclosed as the case was heard in chambers, not in an open court.
Naek was briefed about the objections and was given a brief respite to sort them out.
Justice Asif Saeed Khosa directed the law minister to mention the reference of Qayum’s letter which requested the shelving of graft cases
The bench also told Naek that the letter will be sent off to the attorney general of Geneva.
The process consists of four steps:
Step 1: An authorisation letter will be issued to the law minister tasking him to write the letter.
Step 2: The draft of the letter will be cleared by the Supreme Court after a review.
Step 3: The mode of sending the letter will be decided – either by a special messenger or by courier.
Step 4: A receipt will be submitted to the Supreme Court confirming that the letter has been sent to the Swiss authorities in Geneva.
Prepared by Law Minister Farooq Naek in consultation with government counsel Waseem Sajjad, the draft seeks the withdrawal of letters written back in May 22, 2008 – by the then attorney general Malik Qayum – who had communicated to Swiss authorities that Pakistan was no longer interested in pursuing graft charges against President Asif Ali Zardari and his late wife, former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
On the last date of hearing, Ashraf assured the court that the government was now ready to write a letter to Swiss authorities as directed by the court.
He told the court that he would authorise Naek to implement court orders in this regard.After his assurances, the court exempted the premier from personal appearance and asked him to authorise the law minister in writing.
The letter saga began when the Supreme Court struck down the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), under which a number of cases against political figures were dropped – including the Swiss cases against President Zardari and his family.
Once the NRO was scrapped, the government was ordered by the court to retract the Qayyum letter written to Swiss authorities – something the government seemed adamant not to do, until it surprisingly relented last week.
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