Swiss letter: PM defends Zardari immunity

By AFP
Published: June 30, 2012
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Raja Pervez Ashraf takes oath as the new Prime Minister of Pakistan. On Saturday, Ashraf defended Zardari's immunity in Swiss cases. PHOTO: PID/FILE

Raja Pervez Ashraf takes oath as the new Prime Minister of Pakistan. On Saturday, Ashraf defended Zardari's immunity in Swiss cases. PHOTO: PID/FILE

LAHORE: Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf defended President Asif Ali Zardari’s immunity on Satuday, saying it would end the day after he leaves office.

His comments came after the Supreme Court on Wednesday gave the new prime minister two weeks to indicate whether he would write a letter to the Swiss authorities, asking them to reopen corruption cases against the Zardari, the incumbent president.

The issue precipitated in the removal of Ashraf’s predecessor, Yousaf Raza Gilani from office as prime minister on June 19 after the court convicted him for contempt in April, refusing to reopen the multi-million-dollar cases.

“He (Asif Ali Zardari) is the democratically elected President of Pakistan and as per law he enjoys the immunity as long as he holds the office,” Ashraf told reporters in Lahore.

When the new prime minister was asked what the government’s stance would be at the next Supreme Court hearing on July 12, Ashraf reiterated the presidential immunity.

“All the legal experts have given us the same opinion… So we will see the matter from the same angle,” he said.

Analysts say the latest notice by the Supreme Court indicate the judiciary is unwilling to end a showdown with the government that could force elections before the stipulated dates for February 2013, when the administration would become the first in Pakistan to complete a full five-year mandate.

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Reader Comments (33)

  • Discostu
    Jun 30, 2012 - 8:32PM

    I guess he knew he wouldn’t be prime minister for very long. Let the games begin.

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  • Hafiz Shah Ali
    Jun 30, 2012 - 8:43PM

    From Raja Rental to Raja bye bye
    he will be disqualified very soon.He has to comply with the order of Supreme Court

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  • Ali tanoli
    Jun 30, 2012 - 8:49PM

    SC should open all the crruption cases whether they are Army officers or feudal bearocracy then we gonna say now democracy is working….

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  • Ali tanoli
    Jun 30, 2012 - 8:50PM

    Is there any where in the world Govt officials write off bank loans ?????

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  • Mohd Butt
    Jun 30, 2012 - 9:04PM

    It looks that very few dreams you will have as a PM. Don’t be protactor of kick back.

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  • sillysilva
    Jun 30, 2012 - 9:13PM

    History will decide who was wrong

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  • Cautious
    Jun 30, 2012 - 9:19PM

    Deja-vu? I doubt the SC will let this drag out like the last time – hope he doesn’t get life time perks like the last PM.

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  • Mirza
    Jun 30, 2012 - 9:19PM

    It is clearly written in the constitution that the president has immunity and no case can be initiated or continued against him then how can the unelected paid govt servants including the PCO judges deny that? Before the court asks the PM to write a letter they have to clarify that writing the letter for the trial of a sitting president is not against the constitution. How many attempts would it take from the SC to give clear directions or play cat and mouse at the cost of people of Pakistan? What the PCO SC says is not the law of the land it is the constitution which is the law of the land. The judges come and go even after the extensions but the 1973 constitution would survive despite many assaults by the generals and judges. Recommend

  • Hedgefunder
    Jun 30, 2012 - 9:23PM

    Don’t forget who appointed him to the office !!!
    The wake up call is around the corner for these brethrens, as its obvious that no one really gets fired from these den, just simply moved to sidelines and new roles !

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  • usali
    Jun 30, 2012 - 9:26PM

    “All legal experts” hahaa, good joke

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  • Anas
    Jun 30, 2012 - 9:28PM

    why start playing “tennis” with the apex court, you know you gonna lose!! take the stance and be the stance”hero”. maybe your vote bank increases and you be elected for pm again……..hahahahahahaha!!!!!

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  • Lala Gee
    Jun 30, 2012 - 9:40PM

    It is amazing how shamelessly these corrupt people are defending their corrupt comrade and his corruption by using one excuse or the other. Shame on the parliamentarians who elected a convict of graft money laundering as the President of the country in the first place. One may ask them what if the President go rouge and openly collaborate with the enemies to disintegrate the state of Pakistan, will he still have the “Presidential Immunity”? If not, how they would then justify its non-applicability.

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  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Jun 30, 2012 - 9:41PM

    Mighty people treat if the law for them is nothing more than a joke.

    This only happens in Pakistan where the mighty people are above the law.

    Raja Pervez Ashraf very soon will become the second “Political Shaheed” Prime Minister of Pakistan after the former Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani.

    Mr. Zardari will leave the country for good before the term of his immunity will end.

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  • A. Khan
    Jun 30, 2012 - 9:43PM

    SC is ultimate authority for interpreting the constitution. So all the legal “experts”, who are a dime a dozen and change their legal opinion depending on who pays the most, have virtually no standing.

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  • Atif
    Jun 30, 2012 - 10:01PM

    History will repeat itself once more.

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  • RS
    Jun 30, 2012 - 10:07PM

    It is clearly written in the constitution that the president has immunity and no case can be initiated or continued against him. ITS TRUE MIRZA SB., BUT THIS CASE WAS REGISTERED AGAINST AN INDIVIDUAL WHO WAS A HUSBAND OF BB AT THAT TIM. NOT AGAINST PRESIDENCY. HOWEVER, IF (ITS A BIG IF) PARLIAMENT DECIDE OTHERWISE THEY CAN STRIP THE IMMUNITY-BUT OFF COURSE THIS PARLIAMENT WILL NOT DO THAT.

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  • Parvez
    Jun 30, 2012 - 10:09PM

    Realistically does the PM have any other option ?

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  • Saqibtahir
    Jun 30, 2012 - 10:23PM

    @Ali tanoli:
    Supereme court is final appellate body not an anti-corruption agency. If they are serious then their focus should be on ending corruption in courts system that is a place where corruption is a culture.

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  • Saqibtahir
    Jun 30, 2012 - 10:32PM

    @RS:
    Constitution is very clear about presidential immunity that no new or old case can continue till president is in office. Ontop President has immunity outof country s well. Swiss case is not under the jurisdiction of SC and they cannot interfere in that case. NRO had no impact on cases out of Pakistan and these cases were opened and closed by SwissAuthorities. Issue here Isis not what law says but together Zardari by hook or by crook.

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  • Logic Europe
    Jun 30, 2012 - 10:47PM

    How happy some peple feel about this unfortunate stae of affairs
    Govt is what it is but the judges have become the ultimate government and they arw very claverly mischievous and are abusing theur positon They were dragged beaten and humiliated by Musharaf but reinstated and repected by the democratoc government which thwy are trying to demolish No other political party will give them same lavrage in future Rhey are jusy lprasing a few fanatics and jealous people. Nobod will know rhem but Zardari will remain paet pf history and government

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  • Saqibtahir
    Jun 30, 2012 - 10:59PM

    PPP will continue their passive resistance. Political actions needs political reaction.

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  • DevilHunterX
    Jun 30, 2012 - 11:09PM

    Here we go! (say it in Mario’s accent)

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  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Jun 30, 2012 - 11:17PM

    This time repeat of previous drama will not attract many audiance, therefore story should take new turn. The parliament should summon full bench of SC in house and charge them for abrogating constitution. It will be a great fun to watch.

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  • current
    Jul 1, 2012 - 12:20AM

    @mirza who give a ** about the constitutions i want my money back… ive seen you post your nonsense all over tribune defaming Imran khan.. you clearly seem to have enjoyed the benefits”of the current govt..

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  • Anonymous
    Jul 1, 2012 - 12:21AM

    What the constitution say a PM is bound to follow the order of SC or not? SC just giving order to PM write a letter to Swiss Authorities .. Wether President has imunity or not that is a different case.Recommend

  • Truth Detector
    Jul 1, 2012 - 12:38AM

    PM defends Zardari immunity

    And the news is????

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  • Uza Syed
    Jul 1, 2012 - 1:59AM

    Yes, indeed, the constitution does provide protection to a president, anyone, this one included. He has immunity from any prosecution / trials during his tenure, period. Those who have problems with this facts are welcome to elect those who would amend the constitution and change this provision of the law, until then let’s just abide by law and stop this politics of vengence and vendettas in the name of law. This persecution must stop by everyone including those who claim a supreme legal position.

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  • Uza Syed
    Jul 1, 2012 - 2:25AM

    @Lala Gee: Do you know what does “Comrade mean” ? I suspect you don’t otherwise you won’t be wondering like this about ‘comrades’ supporting comrades, comrades are there support and stand with their comrades.Recommend

  • mmanna888
    Jul 1, 2012 - 5:03AM

    Weird! The President seeks immunity in the the land of impunity.

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  • Truth From Toronto
    Jul 1, 2012 - 7:58AM

    Care to specify who your legal experts are Ashraf? Zardari and Gilani?

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  • Singh
    Jul 1, 2012 - 9:38AM

    Any president is first citizen of its country and he/she is immune to prosecution while in office it is universal Law. Who is supreme one should ask this question.Recommend

  • Qaisar Shahzad
    Jul 1, 2012 - 9:54AM

    I think supreme court is exaggregating out of its authorities. Why supreme court does not open cases against Sharif brothers? Recommend

  • Q
    Jul 1, 2012 - 9:55AM

    I think supreme court is exaggregating out of its authorities. Why supreme court does not open cases against Sharif brothers? Recommend

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