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Thursday, August 21, 2014  

Ashraf asks Swiss to reopen graft case against Zardari
ISLAMABAD Pakistan’s prime minister has asked Swiss authorities to reopen an old corruption case against President Asif Ali Zardari, succumbing to pressure from the country’s increasingly powerful Supreme Court.  

The court gave Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf until November 14 to submit the request, threatening to charge him with contempt of court or face disqualification if he did not comply.  

The letter in relation to the National Reconciliation Ordinance implementation case has been dispatched to authorities in Switzerland, DawnNews quoted the Pakistan Television as saying.

The Foreign Office had dispatched the letter, which was written in accordance with an order of the Supreme Court, on November 5.

The writing and sending of the letter would lead to an ease in the tensions between the state’s two prime institutions.

“Now the ball is in the Swiss court and it’s up to Swiss authorities if they want to immediately re-open the cases, or ... simply bury the case altogether,” said Babar Sattar, a legal commentator.   

The case has fuelled tensions in a long-running standoff between the government and the judiciary. Ashraf’s predecessor, Yusuf Raza Gilani, was declared in contempt of court in June over the same issue and disqualified from holding the post of prime minister.  

If Ashraf is disqualified, the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party can simply nominate a new prime minister since it has a comfortable majority in parliament.  

The Lahore High Court, meanwhile, adjourned to November 21 the hearing of a contempt of court petition filed against Zardari for not relinquishing the political office of PPP co-chairman, DawnNews reported.

Dawn and Agencies
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