NRO case: Swiss letter gets SC go-ahead

Published: October 10, 2012

Court gives federation November 10 deadline for sending letter to Swiss authorities. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan approved the Swiss letter draft submitted by the law minister which states that proceedings in Swiss courts will be conditional to the immunity granted to the president, Express News reported on Wednesday.

The draft also stated that Malik Qayyum’s letter written to the attorney general of Geneva be retracted and considered “never written”.

Restoration of legal assistance was also a point made in the draft.

As per the court’s directives, Law Minister Farooq H Naek submitted a new Swiss letter draft in the Supreme Court in today’s hearing.

Naek also requested the court to retract the contempt of court notice issued to Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf to which Justice Khosa told him to let this matter be resolved first.

When Khosa inquired how long it would take for the letter to be sent, the law minister said that it needed to be translated into French first and would be sent through the Foreign Office.

Naek requested for four weeks’ time which was granted by the court.

The hearing was adjourned till November 15.

Speaking to the media after the hearing, Naek said that the court had given a November 10 deadline to the federation for sending the letter to authorities.

“Today, para 178 of the  case of Dr Mubashir Hasan has been implemented,” said Naek, adding that four weeks had been granted for sending the letter.

“The letter states that Malik Qayyum’s letter be withdrawn and our reservations are without prejudice to the rights, the legal rights, to the defenses of the president of Pakistan, to the heads of state, under the law, under the constitution and under the international law,” Naek told the media.

He also said that no trial was being held, because there was no case in “that country’s court”.

“There was no case there in the past, there is no case now and nor will there be any case there in the future; hence a trial is out of the question,” he said, adding that there had only been investigations and no case had proceeded in any court there.

Answering queries of national wealth being looted, Naek said that nothing of the sort had happened.

When asked what had happened behind closed doors, he said that everything had been done with transparency and no under-handedness had taken place.

“They summoned me as a law minister and expressed their reservations and I expressed mine and the federation’s,” said Naek.

During the hearing, the five-member bench had retreated to the judges’ chambers to deliberate over the draft submitted.

Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, who is heading the bench, read the draft aloud in court after returning from the chambers and deemed the letter ready to be sent to Swiss authorities.

In the previous hearing, the bench was convinced of the changes in the first two paragraphs of the revised letter; however, it expressed concern at the last paragraph, saying that it contradicted the first two paragraphs.

The government had also challenged the apex court on the process of drafting and sending the communiqué.

The move came after weeks of extensive consultations on several drafts of the letter, some behind closed doors – and a day before the fourth deadline set by the court for writing to Swiss authorities to seek the revival of graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

Last month, after years of sparring, the executive and the judiciary deadlock saw a breakthrough when Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf agreed to write the letter, and assigned the task to Law Minister Farooq H Naek.

Full text of the letter:

Attorney General                                                          Islamabad October 2012

Geneva,

Switzerland

Re: PP/11105/1997 and CP 289/97.

Dear Sir,

This is with reference to the letter dates 22nd May 2008 addressed by Malik Mohammad Qayyum. The then Attorney General of Pakistan to Mr Daniel Zappelli, Attorney General, Geneva, Switzerland.

In view of the directions given by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in Paragraph 198 (copy attached as Annex-I) of its judgment dated 16th December 2009 in the case of Dr Mobashir Hasan, reported as PLD 2010 SC 265, the aforementioned letter is hereby withdrawn and may be treated as never written and therefore revival of requests, status and claims, is sought.

This is without prejudice to the legal rights and defences of the Presidents/ Heads of State which may be available under the law, constitution and international law.

The full text of the Supreme Court’s order in the Swiss letter case can be viewed here.

Reader Comments (39)

  • Not hopeful
    Oct 10, 2012 - 10:09AM

    “The five-member bench — which is hearing the NRO implementation case in court — retreated to the judges’ chambers to deliberate.”

    Don’t hold your breath. Another extension on its way.

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  • lalai
    Oct 10, 2012 - 11:04AM

    Wow! that’s great news. Now the conspirators have to open new fronts after the SWISS LETTER issue is successfully resolved.

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  • lalai
    Oct 10, 2012 - 11:08AM

    Wow! that’s great news. Now the conspirators have to open new fronts after the SWISS LETTER issue is successfully resolved.Recommend

  • Oct 10, 2012 - 11:13AM

    Sigh of relief for the nation – finally this saga is close to an end.
    Had the both sides shown earlier same flexibility, it could have deterred many a tense situations. Honestly, our rating-hungry electronic media spared no efforts to exploit and worson the whole matter, and today might be a sad day for some of them.Recommend

  • pervaiz memon
    Oct 10, 2012 - 11:33AM

    Thank God now our country free from corruption .

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  • Jat
    Oct 10, 2012 - 11:48AM

    Four more weeks time to send the letter; probably using “snail” mail.

    Can you get back to governing the country now ?

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  • Shahid
    Oct 10, 2012 - 12:17PM

    The draft is approved. Closed door negotiations in chamber and during nights have proved fruitful. Now, it seems that judges negotiated on behalf of Chaudhry to cover his corruption. Just recall language used by Honourable Senator Syed Faisal Raza Abidi and no contempt notice was issued to him. After all, these judges have a lot of skeletons to hide and they could not dare to confront Abidi. Abidi, Zindabad! Keep it up! Expose them all!!!

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  • Omar Malik
    Oct 10, 2012 - 12:43PM

    4 weeks to translate the letter into frenchRecommend

  • Parvez
    Oct 10, 2012 - 12:54PM

    Good…………..now lets go forward.

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  • Aijaz Haider
    Oct 10, 2012 - 12:55PM

    “When Khosa inquired how long it would take for the letter to be sent, the law minister said that it needed to be translated into French first and would be sent through the Foreign Office.
    Naek requested for four weeks’ time which was granted by the court.
    The hearing was adjourned till November 15.”
    Are four weeks required to translate the letter into French?
    I feel that one day is more than enough!
    Dear readers, what are they (and we i.e. all Pakistanis) upto?
    Regards.

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  • Logical
    Oct 10, 2012 - 1:09PM

    waste of time and tax payer money. finally court has given up Recommend

  • amer nadeem
    Oct 10, 2012 - 2:15PM

    Oh, thanx God a frivolous exercise is ended in smoke, if it would happen why the Gillani, disqualified PM, was scarified?

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  • Osama
    Oct 10, 2012 - 2:20PM

    The court hasn’t given up. It has firmly established its authority. And, from now on, people will think a million times before finding a way round courts’ judgements.
    Whether in spirit or not, the verdict has had to be followed; and that too by the chief executive of the country. This will clearly set a good example.

    Meanwhile, the important issues of Balochistan are also being taken up in court, which the ball-less PPP governnment does not own at all.

    Great Work Ifitikhar Chaudhry.

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  • Polpot
    Oct 10, 2012 - 2:27PM

    @Omar Malik: 4 weeks to translate the letter into french”"
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    1. Well thats as fast as one can learn french ab initio.
    2.Anyone who knows french hold french nationality and the SC will ………:)

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  • Tanvir
    Oct 10, 2012 - 4:50PM

    One month for one hour job? Govt’s delaying tactics have been clearly exposed. By the that time care-taker government would be announced and this government’s insistence that no PM of PPPP would write letter would be fulfilled.

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  • Syed
    Oct 10, 2012 - 4:54PM

    It looks like that SC kneel down because of recent events which encompassing the SC, specially CJ. Now the blatant hyped created by the SC has been died down, which is good omen for the country politics.

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  • H.A. Khan
    Oct 10, 2012 - 5:17PM

    what a waste of tax payers money
    and can someone explain the last para of judgement?

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  • Hashmi
    Oct 10, 2012 - 6:54PM

    End of 5 years tussle, what we Pakistani get in return…… NO RETURN.

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  • Mirza
    Oct 10, 2012 - 7:07PM

    Now that the SC judges have gotten “what they wanted behind close doors”, can we now take up tens of thousands of cases rotting in SC? Now the nation can take a big sigh of relief that the SC has achieved its goal and all corruption has ended. Can we now look at the corruption of judges, generals and rightwing politicians or they have immunity as usual?

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  • Oct 10, 2012 - 7:22PM

    @Shahid:

    The mesdeamenor of “contempt of court” is commited ONLY,if the accused used a “bad” language or had had an anti-social behavior during court proceddings.

    The actus reus OUGHT to be commited in the premises of a court…please,please study Criminal law before talking!

    If a person uses a “bad” language on the corner of Hyde Park and insults the judges of Supreme Court of Pakistan,it is not a”contempt of court”,but slander or label,depending ,if the offense is ORAL or written.

    Both ofenses are named:defamation.

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  • Peace Lover
    Oct 10, 2012 - 7:30PM

    The reference to presidential immunity in the agreed text of the letter means no further prosecution. Thus the whole exercise is coming to an end in a fruitless finale.

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  • Logic. Europe
    Oct 10, 2012 - 7:48PM

    Master zardari is victorius again
    .

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  • Mirza
    Oct 10, 2012 - 9:31PM

    @Peace Lover:
    Not just this case, this PCO SC has not completed even a single imp case in its entire term. Yet they all got and would get extenstions.
    Regards,
    Mirza

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  • Peace Lover
    Oct 10, 2012 - 10:21PM

    @Mirza:
    Then why would the Government give them extensions? Regards.

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  • Peace Lover
    Oct 10, 2012 - 10:40PM

    @Mirza:
    So why would the Government give them further extensions?

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  • Jat
    Oct 11, 2012 - 12:16AM

    Victory for blackmail and corruption.

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  • Mirza
    Oct 11, 2012 - 12:48AM

    @Peace Lover:
    That is a very genuine question to ask. I guess this nascent democracy does not have much power. It is still the SC judges and generals that are ruling the country as a group. Only very powerful, stable and revolutionary govt would have the power to change all the PCO judges and top generals, a la Egypt and Turkey. Another chance to fire the top generals and ISI chief was when OBL was found living in an army base with his harem. However, with Damocles’ Sword of Swiss case, Memo case, talks of overthrowing the govt and other hanging on their head it was not possible for the govt to do anything of substance. It would take a few more elections before we arrive at that stage. I wish we could and should have done it ASAP like yesterday.
    Thanks and regards,
    Mirza

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  • Logic Europe
    Oct 11, 2012 - 1:22AM

    it is for peace dear peace lover a weak government needs to survive ,,espeacilly this government as the only chance for future of Pakistan
    @Peace Lover:

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  • AbidMashwani
    Oct 11, 2012 - 3:03AM

    @Mirza: Hope by the time we are done with few more elections and have fully trained politicians, we will not be totally owned by IMF, World Bank and other rich countries and our so called democratic leaders will still be in Pakistan rather than living in Dubai, UK, USA, Canada and rest of the world with their loved one with looted money from Pakistan.

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  • Logic. Europe
    Oct 11, 2012 - 3:47AM

    No country has ever been owned by IMF as a matter of fact most countries have benifited and their economies revived. No leaders can get away with big scale coruption . Ser what is happening to swiss case The onternatipnal laws have changed and there is trail of audit for all transections.so calm down , temember arsalam! He will have to return money @AbidMashwani:

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  • R.Deus-von Homeyer
    Oct 11, 2012 - 7:39PM

    The advocate General of switzerland has a discretion for intiating court proceedings.

    It seems the Supreme Court of Pakistan wants to show ,that it has the ultimate powr in the country,does it?

    The Pakistani justices know ,that Switzerland is out of SC Jurisdiction and forcing the PK Government to write letters is in my opinion a nonsense,because the Atorney General(Staatsanwalt) of Switzerland went to Law School and knows very well the requiremends,set in the Strafprozeßordnung(Criminal Procedure laaw) for chargiing a suspect with criminal ofenses.

    As far as i know,the SC ordered the Pakistani Primeminister to write a letter to the Swss Jurisprudenz,but WAS SUCH A LETTER NECESSARY?!

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  • Aahjiz BayNawa
    Oct 11, 2012 - 8:14PM

    Realpolitik can be learnt from Pakistan’s political experiences. Pakistan contributed to political science and political theory by being the first country in the world to have had an elected civilian martial law administrator. And, now we have a letter which while citing presidential immunity withdraws an earlier one that called for withdrawal of the Swiss case. In effect, this letter says: open the case but be mindful of presidential immunity. How can the two be possible at the same time?

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  • Peace Lover
    Oct 11, 2012 - 8:22PM

    @Mirza:
    But the judges have actually let off the Government and that could be a good reason for giving them extension. But I do not believe there is going to be any extensions whatsoever.

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  • Aahjiz BayNawa
    Oct 11, 2012 - 9:13PM

    @Jat:
    How? Please explain.

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  • Sajidullah Mahmood
    Oct 11, 2012 - 10:16PM

    @Aahjiz BayNawa:
    If Machiavelli would have lived in the contemporary world, he should have been able to enrich his knowledge of Realpolitik.

    Recommend

  • Aahjiz BayNawa
    Oct 11, 2012 - 10:37PM

    @Sajidullah Mahmood:
    But who would have been his teacher?

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  • Sajidullah Mahmood
    Oct 11, 2012 - 10:56PM

    @Aahjiz BayNawa:
    Both the judges and the top man.

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  • Justin Truthful
    Oct 11, 2012 - 11:06PM

    So, now what happens to the Swiss money?

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  • Oct 13, 2012 - 11:28AM

    Switzerland boasts of three official languages. One of them happens to be English. Was it nec to have the letter written in French? Again it is a max of one day’s job – why four weeks? and last , was the letter written by Justice(R) Abdul Qayyum in French or English. Who was the official translator for him?

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