NRO letter: A month later, govt still awaits Swiss reply

Published: December 10, 2012

Legal expert says chances are slim of cases being reopened against President Zardari. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: More than a month after it dispatched the contentious Swiss letter, the government still awaits a response from the Swiss authorities on the reopening of graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

“We have yet to receive any response on the letter from the Swiss attorney general in Geneva,” Law and Justice Secretary Yasmin Abbasi told The Express Tribune on Sunday.

“We will of course seek the services of international lawyers in case the Swiss attorney general entertains Pakistan’s request and re-examines graft cases against President Zardari and other persons,” she added.

Ahmer Bilal Sufi

Currently, Pakistan’s ambassador in Geneva Zamir Akram and his legal director are coordinating with the Swiss authorities examining the letter’s content, law and justice ministry officials familiar with the matter told The Express Tribune. They added the ministry has also decided to send two senior officials to Switzerland to provide further legal assistance to the Pakistani mission.

The legal officers were unable to leave for Switzerland last week due to the unavailability of Law Minister Farooq H Naek following the death of one his family members.

The mission in Geneva has already received advice from National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Prosecutor General KK Agha, who prepared the case while working as an additional attorney of Pakistan, the sources further informed The Express Tribune. At the time, Agha closely coordinated with then NAB chairman Nawid Ahsan – who sent letters to the Swiss attorney general under section 21 of the NAB Ordinance 1991 as well, requesting mutual legal assistance.

Meanwhile, eminent international law expert Ahmer Bilal Sufi maintained the chances that graft cases against President Zardari will be opened were ‘miniscule’.

“Swiss legal wizards will examine Islamabad’s request under local laws,” said Sufi, explaining that “in Switzerland, once an investigation against the accused is closed on the request of the aggrieved party, it becomes very difficult under local laws to entertain a request to reopen the case.”

His opinion seemingly supports the text of the Swiss letter as well, which states: “This is without prejudice to the legal rights and defences of presidents/heads of state which may be available under the law, constitution and international law.”

Published in The Express Tribune, December 10th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (11)

  • Mirza
    Dec 10, 2012 - 11:33AM

    Everybody knew full well that the letter would be an exercise in futility. However, the big egos prevailed and gulped so much time and money once again as if all problems of Pakistan were hinged on this letter. Now the letter is sent what has been achieved except the egos? Swiss are not going to listen to Pakistani courts again and again and go against the International laws. How much time and money have been wasted instead of attending the thousands of cases rotting for decades.

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  • A J Khan
    Dec 10, 2012 - 12:14PM

    The much ado about nothing. Supreme Court should explain the case to the people of Pakistan. After wasting time and resources and the hopes that they created of solving all financial issues after the writing of letter has eveporated in thin air.

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  • Logic Europe
    Dec 10, 2012 - 1:39PM

    Swiss officials must be laughing at the stupidity of pakistani courts

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  • PTI Mardan
    Dec 10, 2012 - 1:46PM

    I cant recall if any powerful criminal in Pakistan has ever been brought to justice.The moment that happens Pakistan will become a different country.The problems have always been that when opposition politicians are investigated for corruption,they say its political victimizaton and when thay are in power they have nothing to worry about.I must say Nawaz Sharif is responsible for a lot the damage to the credibility of the cases against PPP.Recommend

  • ishrat salim
    Dec 10, 2012 - 3:23PM

    This case was not personally against AAZ but other 7 people who were also involved in this particular case.The SC directed the govt to open cases by writing to all other govt e.g Spain & UK & not only Swiss govt, but it seem only focus was Swiss, but insha Allah, other cases in other countries will open too…..soon.

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  • Dec 10, 2012 - 5:13PM

    Swiss makes money by banking big money, which is mostly illegal, from around the world. They can’t jeopardize their banking industry by scrutinizing Black money. Supreme Court did its parts and that will be a warning for those who wants to park their Black money in Swiss Banks However in this case it will not bring any Black money home.Recommend

  • Hasnain
    Dec 10, 2012 - 6:38PM

    The government should write a book on 1001 ways of circumventing the orders of Supreme Court

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  • Maqbul Bhai Bihari
    Dec 10, 2012 - 8:59PM

    Chief Justice bika hua hai. Simple as that.

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  • cautious
    Dec 10, 2012 - 9:06PM

    So why send a bunch of legal experts to Switzerland if they haven’t even bothered to respond to the letter? The Swiss aren’t wasting their resources on this why are you?

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  • Rahim
    Dec 11, 2012 - 1:18AM

    Corruption Zindabad aur Pakistan se Zinda Bhaag!!!! :(
    If swiss authorities doesn’t respond on AAZ’s case, corruption roots will be more stronger I guess!!!
    Lord have mercy on Pakistan….

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  • Logic Europe
    Dec 11, 2012 - 1:28AM

    may be chief justice should send a team of judges too on government expensed

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