Swiss authorities say cases against Zardari cannot be reopened

Published: February 9, 2013
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Pakistan had written a letter to Swiss authorities on the orders of Supreme Court. PHOTO: FILE

Pakistan had written a letter to Swiss authorities on the orders of Supreme Court. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: The Swiss government in a letter to the Pakistan Ministry for Law has said that graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari cannot be reopened, Express News reported.

Law minister Farooq H Naek confirmed on Saturday that the Swiss authorities had responded to letters written by the Pakistan government last year on the instructions of Supreme Court.

Pakistan had sent the letter to Swiss authorities in November 2012. Pakistan’s mission in Geneva had been given 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.

At the time 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.”

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Reader Comments (52)

  • romeo
    Feb 9, 2013 - 9:57PM

    what is the reason shown by the Swiss Authority against their inability to open graft cases against zardari and others who ransacked public money and stashed in Swiss Banks. It is very surprising and shocking to read the news. Questions could be raised against Swiss Authorities honesty in this case, are they too involved in this illegal transactions.

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  • asim
    Feb 9, 2013 - 10:10PM

    Shame for the pakistani judicial system and specially for the CJ. He wasted so much time to write letter in swiss case; and the case is simple this person who is convicted and criminal in the past & proven by the courts is holding public office in flagrant violation of all LAWS.

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  • Sufi
    Feb 9, 2013 - 10:28PM

    Its not 60 million dollars anymore, more like 100 million dollars considering how much the value of ruppee has depreciated!

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  • Wellwisher
    Feb 9, 2013 - 10:28PM

    Hope the Pakistan SC will now call for the attested copy of the Swiss letter and contest the case directly!

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  • Ghazanfar Raza
    Feb 9, 2013 - 10:32PM

    The natural & expected outcome of the letter written to Swiss Authorities.

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  • Enlightened
    Feb 9, 2013 - 11:18PM

    A great setback for SC of Pakistan. The former PM Gilani should be reinstated now.

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  • Parvez
    Feb 9, 2013 - 11:23PM

    Case can not be reopened means case can not be reopened in Switzerland……………. and nothing more

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  • AnisAqeel
    Feb 9, 2013 - 11:24PM

    Responsible people cannot interpret our own laws how can they force a reputable and independent judiciary to ‘interpret in our ways’. What a waste of resource to gain political advantage!

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  • Feb 9, 2013 - 11:38PM

    I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever. Thomas Jefferson

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  • H. Khan
    Feb 9, 2013 - 11:50PM

    Mo surprises here. SCP reflect on the games that were played

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  • Usama Maud
    Feb 9, 2013 - 11:56PM

    It took years to this whole system to resolve this case and during all this time we had to listen unwanted and lame discussions in courts and everywhere and there is no end result.Pure example of truck ki baati kah peeechay lagnay wali Qoum.During these year while world was busy in using its minds for Science, spaceships, Medical , Explorations , Research … What we did, we wrote a letter and that too went into bin.

    My Dear Pakistanis We are already lagging behind in every field and we need to “Work and work very hard” to compete in this cut through world.Stop Blaming your leaders and be responsible for at-least for yourself .. Work Harder.

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  • Awam
    Feb 10, 2013 - 12:16AM

    another suo moto….

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  • S A Bukhara
    Feb 10, 2013 - 12:21AM

    Ok, let’s move on to the real issues facing us….

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  • cautious
    Feb 10, 2013 - 12:30AM

    @Romeo

    what is the reason shown by the Swiss
    Authority against their inability to
    open graft cases against zardari and
    others who ransacked public money and
    stashed in Swiss Banks.

    As explained in the article Pakistan previously dropped this case and once a case is dismissed it’s unlikely that it will be reinstated on the whim of the aggrieved party. The Swiss aren’t much different than the rest of the World and won’t run their judicial system through the wringer based on a political battle between Pakistan’s Judiciary and Executive branch.

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  • Truth detector
    Feb 10, 2013 - 12:41AM

    Congrats Zardari. Hoping for divine justice !!!!

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  • liberal_pak
    Feb 10, 2013 - 12:47AM

    Poor Gilani stated same fact and he lost his PMship and worst of all he got 5-year ban.Any one who knows A B C of Law, knows that President cant be trialed until he is in office save few in our Judiciary.Some institutions and some media anchors put whole effort to malign PPP on this case but today after Swiss response, they simply are knocked out. Once again PPP’s stance proved true and PPP-bashers failed.

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  • Reader
    Feb 10, 2013 - 12:47AM

    Oh ok so the Americans intervened with the Swiss on Zardari’s behalf then.Recommend

  • confused
    Feb 10, 2013 - 12:50AM

    Does it occur to people that the only major political head CONVICTED of bank fraud, embezzlement, loan defaults, election scams & robbing public mandate is the Don of Raiwind?

    Zardari was in jail for 11 years. Both civilian and military governments went all out to expedite cases against him, all in vain. On the contrary the biggest looter of this country went into a contracted exile for 9 years at Saroor Palace (not nearly man enough to face the gallows in the face of tyranny like ZAB or even brave out prison like Mr Zardari).

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  • Syed
    Feb 10, 2013 - 1:03AM

    This is the most honorable President’s “Democracy is the best revenge” at work.
    Enjoy :-)

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  • Ismail
    Feb 10, 2013 - 1:58AM

    It is patently ridiculously that Pakistan has taken the refusal so lightly. Instead of being in high dudgeon it has instead whimpered home …”alas they have refused”. This is the same Switzerland that has broken its allegedly sacrosanct laws to break open the seals and reveal all about tax avoiding Americans when the USA hammered them. In the end their oldest bank Wegelin went belly up and closed shop. Might is indeed right. Perhaps Pakistan has no leverage over Switzerland but they can sure embarass them at every international venue (the reverse is not possible since the Swiss could not possibly lower our abysmal global standing). The only reason the Swiss are not opening up is because they are trying to hold on to every single penny of illegal, international cash that global corrupters and plunderers have stored in their banks, without which Switzerland would only be a land of cheese- and watch- makers with a penchant for cuckoo clocks and lederhosen.

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  • Moeen ulhaq
    Feb 10, 2013 - 2:16AM

    “The correct spelling is minuscule rather than miniscule

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  • Advocate Khan
    Feb 10, 2013 - 4:23AM

    This decision by the Swiss authorities is a slap on the face of our own bizarre judiciary. Its a shame on the country. CJ should resign immediately. Enough damage has been done to our country. Ex PM Gilani was right in not writing the stupid letter. He stand vindicated now and should be restored in all fairness and legality. There’s a limit to the arrogance, overreach, incompetence and authoritarianism of our judiciary. Enough is enough if we want to save the country from iurther damage.

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  • hussain ifzal
    Feb 10, 2013 - 5:54AM

    What a shame! The C.J. and the other ‘yes man” judges should step down as they do not knowA.B.C. of Intrnational Law. They should be made to pay the costs of the suit and if they don’t the same should be deducted from their salaries.The judges owe an apology to Mr. Gilani who should also file a suit for damages against the so called Honourable S.C. judges and he should be restored with all the back benefits.

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  • Siddique Malik
    Feb 10, 2013 - 6:31AM

    Perhaps, now CJP should issue a notice of contempt of his court to the Swiss attorney general, who has done something in contravention of the wishes of the CJP. Or perhaps, now CJP will issue an edict for Islamabad to break diplomatic relations with Switzerland. Obviously, Swiss authorities have better sense than does Pakistan’s prejudiced judiciary.
    Siddique Malik, Louisville, Kentucky, USA.

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  • Feb 10, 2013 - 8:26AM

    This is a case of outright disobedience to the law of the land. Meaning to say, that our politicians firstly, preferred the party to the country and secondly, corruption over clean governance. Treating the law like ’tissue paper.’
    When all the law enforcement agencies are in the control of the government and all their lackeys are heading those agencies, this is what a citizen can expect and get. Total corruption and outright disobedience.
    However, if the Supreme Court wanted then it could have had the government removed by calling in the army for assistance. On the flip side, the Chief Justice did not want to derail democracy and wanted the armed forces to be kept at bay, hence the debacle in the Swiss courts.
    The only thing left for the citizens is to come out on a campaign and declare no support for the PPP, PMLN, PMLQ, religious parties, MQM, ANP, etcetera and vote for clean politicians. Pakistan is at the crossroads of violence like the Middle East and the propensity to explode hovers over our heads leaving patriotic and innocent citizens killed and destroyed by violence. Salams for 2013 and ahead.

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  • salmanzq
    Feb 10, 2013 - 8:42AM

    Unfortunately, we didn’t have the kabootar from Salman Khan’s maine pyaar kiya to deliver it on time.

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  • Mirza
    Feb 10, 2013 - 9:20AM

    During NS and Mush’s rule Zardari was kept in jail for the better part of their tenures. There were more than two dozen cases against him and despite keeping him in jail for so long, not a single case was decided and there was no conviction. The easy thing was for the judges and PPP opponents was to outsource their primary function (providing justice and get the looted money) to the Swiss! Then again the SC tried to pass the buck to the Swiss but they have to follow their and International law. Let the SC judges waste several more decades and more money instead of deciding the case themselves.

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  • vasan
    Feb 10, 2013 - 9:22AM

    Any takers for the famous “CIA/RAW/MOSSAD conspiracy” here ?

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  • Roni
    Feb 10, 2013 - 9:23AM

    Pakistan has outsourced our war on terror to the US drones. The SC has outsourced their primary job function to the Swiss court. Even before this refusal by the Swiss court they have said “you have your own judicial system why don’t you try the case?” Now the only political card the SC has on the eve of elections is Memo Case.

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  • Moosa Khan
    Feb 10, 2013 - 9:26AM

    Yes, he did it again.

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  • Zaida P
    Feb 10, 2013 - 9:28AM

    Looks like the SC of Pakistan needs lessons on international law – particularly on the statute of limitations. I would like to scrutinize the degrees of those on the bench just to be sure they don’t have fake degrees.

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  • Moosa Khan
    Feb 10, 2013 - 9:47AM

    @Sufi:
    To add some sugar, net worth is 1.8 Billion + here and there.
    http://www.therichest.org/celebnetworth/politician/president/asif-ali-zardari-net-worth/

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  • A. Khan
    Feb 10, 2013 - 9:51AM

    Yes, but you can always open new ones.

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  • Zulfiqar Baig
    Feb 10, 2013 - 10:02AM

    Swiss Bank itself seems to be involved in money laundering.

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  • Saeed
    Feb 10, 2013 - 10:46AM

    @Ismail:
    It’s a question of will, none of the institutions here are serious about following through. Case in point, Tauqir Sadiq, what happened.? Why has he not been deported/ extradited/ kidnapped and brought to Pakistan. The RPP, Epehdrine , Bahria Town, and numerous other cases against the influential and powerful never reach their justified end. Cases are so muddled by influential and unscrupulous lawyers that no conviction is possible. Justice delayed is justice denied, meanwhile the poor nation suffers.

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  • jugnoo
    Feb 10, 2013 - 11:14AM

    @Ghazanfar Raza:
    It was clear from the start that the case can not be reopened because:
    1. Immunity to all heads of states.
    2. The case was already withdrawn once by Mushraf Govt. when Zardari was not president.

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  • Faqir Ipi
    Feb 10, 2013 - 12:12PM

    It’s a tragedy for a nation sucked into unending drama of no consequence by Politicians, Generals, Judges, Bureaucrat, Media, Civil Society etc.

    One day it is Steel Mill making the news, the next day it is Swiss Case, the 3rd day it is the Missing People, 4th Day it is Fake Degrees, 5th Day it is NRO, then Loadsheding then Gas Shortage then Veena Malik and so on …….

    And the rape goes on ………

    During ongoing War for Terror, Pakistani media is not informing the masses, rather misinforming, diverting public attention from important issues and changes decided by the corrupt and puppet elites, by the technique of continuous flood of distractions and insignificant information.

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  • DevilHunterX
    Feb 10, 2013 - 12:49PM

    Poor Gillani. Your master left you to fend for yourself.

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  • A Peshawary
    Feb 10, 2013 - 1:16PM

    No comments by anyone on media’s role in all these years which I also leave to the guess of the readers.

    What a waste of time and energy for getting a No Answer from authorities under No influence what soever maybe. Is it the end of the game or still the stakeholders will stick to old game of manoeuvrings and manipulations for their personal and political gains I mean on both sides the highly vocal opponents and the beneficiary if any.

    A Peshawary

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  • Amjad
    Feb 10, 2013 - 1:35PM

    Its typical of the corrupt swiss, taking deposits from all and sundry corrupt around the world and as soon as they are deposed, like Marcos, Mubarak etc, they freeze their accounts. The Americans are the only ones who have proved how to deal with them when they have been caught assisting U.S. evade taxes, all Swiss banks have had to disclose without question the U.S. Citizens names, eveident the latest Swiss oldest private bank Wegelin to go under and move out of the U.S

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  • FaiselH
    Feb 10, 2013 - 4:29PM

    “Justice Delayed is Justice Denied.”
    Could this be more true ever ?

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  • Feb 10, 2013 - 4:38PM

    All the graft cases,
    against incumbent head of the state,and other political figures were taken back under a secret bargain,done with then military dictator truned chief executive general Musharraf in 2007 .

    That clandestine deal generaly known as National Reconciliation Ordinance,opened the door of Benazi’s repatriation to Pakistan and lifted the ban on her becoming premier for a third time.

    This was the real soul of the total political game played in between.

    and in this way a safety was provided to huge kickbacks consisting on trillions.

    today,
    wrong side looks successful in its mission

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  • Hamid
    Feb 10, 2013 - 4:56PM

    Musharraf is to be fully blamed for this. He was the one who requested the Swiss authorities to close case of Zardari’s graft. Recommend

  • Faqir Ipi
    Feb 10, 2013 - 7:25PM

    Jinnah Pakistan and present NRO system backed by CIA is not working; it’s floundering, although no one is certain what will work. Democracy is not working. From the corruption index, to crime, to bad governance, everything has gone up. What has gone down, actually plummeted, is the morale and hope of the people, faith in their leaders and, more recently and alarmingly, a belief in the continued existence of this country.

    The show of pretence-in-the-making is the supposed satisfaction by all the players on the Pakistani domestic scene that democracy is working and that, left to find its way through the shoals, it will eventually reach its destination, battered and bruised but somehow intact. In fact, the opposite is true.

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  • Faqir Ipi
    Feb 10, 2013 - 7:26PM

    In Egypt, frustration is two dimensional – political and economic. In Pakistan, frustration is more economical and less political. The common drivers between Egypt and Pakistan are inflation, joblessness and corruption of the ruling elite. Egyptian genie is now out of the bottle while the frustrated Pakistani jinn is still inside. Would the jinn come out? Likely but not inevitable.

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  • Faqir Ipi
    Feb 10, 2013 - 7:27PM

    Enduring raging inflation, malignant corruption, dilapidated public services, an ultra-incompetent, dishonest government and an extra-insincere opposition, ineffectual judicial remedies, brutal feudal lords and tribal chiefs, lynch mobs, daily drone and terrorist attacks, assemblies of cheats, tax evaders and fake degree holders, surely Pakistan is ripe for revolution?

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  • Faqir Ipi
    Feb 10, 2013 - 7:29PM

    Pakistan is standing on the escalator of corruption and anarchy, right-minded citizens cannot afford to stand frozen in disgust and dismay. We cannot merely look upon the political developments in sorrow and upon our politicians in anger.

    For past 250 years, masses have been passive spectators of events. Today we have to fate in our hands from US/UK backed puppets, but soon it may pass beyond control.

    A shout in the mountains has been known to start an avalanche. We must call things by their names and shout louder. Let Pakistan be Pakistan again. From “the the puppets/Zaradris who live like leeches on the people’s lives” – who have robbed us of everything, our past, our present, our future and all our beautiful dreams-we must take back our land again.

    The present corrupt political system of Zardari/Karzai in Af-Pak backed by ISI/CIA would disappear in a violent upheaval since it carries within it the seed of its own destruction.

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  • Faqir Ipi
    Feb 10, 2013 - 7:30PM

    Things are more or less same for whole cricket loving South Asia. All-pervasive corruption, extreme economic inequalities, a breakdown of institutions and denial of basics like food, water, healthcare and education etc., have been the bane of the entire region.

    Mr Clean Dr Hindu Singh Vs Mr Ten Per cent Muslim

    Cricket Loving Nuclear Armed Loving Neighbours in South Asia

    India was rocked by the biggest corruption scandals in history in the past few years, under Mr Clean Dr Singh of course, with Mr Ten Per cent over the reins of the Islamic Republic next door, the culture of sleaze has acquired a new meaning and taken to a new level altogether in .

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  • Raj - USA
    Feb 10, 2013 - 8:26PM

    No country would have gone to this much extent to discredit and convict its own serving President and Commander-in-Chief in a foreign country. No harm convicting or bringing down the Head of the State in your own country. But Pakistan’s Judiciary is the only such institution in the world that has ever tried to convict and discredit its own Head of the State in another country rather than in its own country for the reason that they were unable to do so in their own country.

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  • Enlightened
    Feb 10, 2013 - 9:29PM

    Mr Zardari must have done some very good karmas in his previous birth and his good fortune would continue till they are exhausted.

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  • Adeel
    Feb 11, 2013 - 9:05PM

    @Raj – USA:
    Easier to point fingers and say whatnot, when you’re living the life of an ordinary Pakistani. What does an ordinary Pakistani want – simple: security and justice for everyone. If we get that we might start thinking about other things like health and education :P

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  • Tariq Mahmood
    Feb 12, 2013 - 4:39AM

    Zardari!!!!!!! your time will come.

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