PPP says govt won't ask Swiss to reopen Zardari cases | world | Hindustan Times
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PPP says govt won't ask Swiss to reopen Zardari cases

With the deadline set by the Supreme Court ending Monday, the ruling PPP has said the Pakistan government has no intention of asking Switzerland to reopen graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari, setting the stage for a possible showdown with the judiciary.

world Updated: Apr 04, 2010 17:23 IST

With the deadline set by the Supreme Court ending Monday, the ruling PPP has said the Pakistan government has no intention of asking Switzerland to reopen graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari, setting the stage for a possible showdown with the judiciary.

The Pakistan People's Party also reposed "complete confidence" in Zardari's leadership and said it is not going to write to any foreign government as international practice and conventions did not permit such a move.

The comments assume significance in the wake of the Supreme Court directing the government to send a letter signed by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani by April 5 to authorities in Switzerland asking them to reopen graft cases against Zardari.

If the government does not dispatch the letter to Swiss authorities by tomorrow it could lead to a showdown between the judiciary and the government.

The ruling party and the higher judiciary led by independent-minded Chief Justice Iftikar Chaudhary have been at loggerheads ever since the Supreme Court struck down the controversial NRO last year.

Since then, the apex court has been asking the government to take steps to reopen cases against Zardari in Switzerland.

Over 8,000 people, including Zardari and several of his close aides, were granted amnesty under the National Reconciliation Ordiance, which came into force during Pervez Musharraf's presidency.

The PPP's Central Executive Committee, during a meeting held late last night at Naudero in Sindh province, reposed complete confidence in Zardari's leadership and resolved that the party would resist the trial of its leaders, including slain former premier Benazir Bhutto and her mother Nusrat Bhutto, the wife of late Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.

Even before the meeting of the central executive committee chaired by Zardari began, PPP spokesperson Fauzia Wahab told reporters in Sukkur that the government had no intention of making a request to Swiss authorities to reopen cases against Zardari.

Wahab said no one should expect the government to send letters to Switzerland or any other country accusing the President of committing a crime.

The President enjoyed "clear immunity" under international law and the Pakistani Constitution, she said.

"We are not going to write to any foreign government," she said, adding international practice and conventions did not permit such a move.