A failure to satisfy the opposition’s wish of the immediate reopening of Swiss cases against President Asif Ali Zardari played a key role in the removal of Syed Deedar Hussain Shah from the position of chairman National Accountability Bureau (NAB), political observers told The Express Tribune.
The opposition elements were expecting him to ensure an early trial of President Zardari in Swiss account cases but Shah failed to make any progress in this regard, observers said. NAB had referred the matter to the Swiss courts in January this year but proceedings have not started until now.
“The opposition suspected that Shah, who was appointed chairman NAB in October, was not taking a keen interest in the case,” an expert said.
In January, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) headed by opposition leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan summoned the NAB representative to explain the cause of delay in the reopening of the cases. Shah had then told the committee that NAB had written a letter to the Swiss court on the directives of the Supreme Court. He also said that the bureau had completed the working on the reopening of the cases against President Zardari and that the Supreme Court was being updated regularly in this regard.
Zardari and his assassinated wife former prime minister Benazir Bhutto were convicted by a Geneva court in 2003 in a money laundering case. But the verdict was overturned on appeal and in 2008 Swiss judicial authorities said they had closed the case after which Rs60 million dollars frozen in Swiss accounts were released due to lack of evidence against Zardari. The cases against Zardari and 157 others were reopened after the Supreme Court declared the controversial amnesty law, NRO as ‘unconstitutional’.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 24th, 2011.