A five-member bench comprising Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry, Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Athar Saeed resumed the contempt of court proceedings against PM Ashraf in the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) implementation case.
The Prime Minister along with the coalition partners attended the contempt proceedings today and told the court that the government has decided to withdraw ex-attorney general Malik Qayyum’s letter that was written to the Swiss authorities in Pervez Musharraf’s tenure.
During today’s proceedings, PM Ashraf told that he has examined the case from all angles and has decided to recall the letter written by former attorney general Malik Qayyum. He further told that he has directed Law Minister Farooq H Naek to withdraw the letter written to Swiss authorities asking for closing all the cases against the president.
The cases that had been closed by Malik Qayyum’s letter can now be reopened by the Swiss authorities if they choose.
The SC then directed PM Ashraf to notify the court after the Swiss attorney general have been informed of the new developments.
Law Minister Farooq H Naek will now be authorized to write a letter to the Swiss authorities to recall Qayyum’s directions.
Justice Asif Saeed Khosa also directed PM Ashraf to draft the letter in 2-3 days and present the draft before the bench. The SC authorized Farooq Naek to write it by tomorrow.
On this, PM Ashraf requested the court to adjourn the case until the end of September as he needs more time to draft the letter.
The bench then asked PM Ashraf to resolve this matter before Russian President Vladimir Putin visits Pakistan on Oct 2.
The court then adjourned the hearing into the NRO implementation case until September 25 and exempted PM Ashraf from appearing.
It is pertinent to mention that on August 15, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa had told that the court never asked the government to prosecute the president but to tell the Swiss authorities that not only parliament has rejected the NRO, but also the highest court of the country struck it down and, therefore ignore the letter written by Malik Qayyum.
The court said that they were not asking the government for mutual assistance but to tell the Swiss authorities that Malik Qayyum was not authorised to close the cases in Switzerland.
The SC last month issued a contempt notice to Prime Minister Ashraf for not implementing its order of writing a letter to the Swiss authorities to reopen a money-laundering case against President Zardari.
The apex court on August 27 granted PM Ashraf time till September 18 after he assured to take genuine and serious steps to resolve the issue.
Prime Minister Ashraf had assured the court that he was serious in resolving the issue and sought six weeks time period to understand the constitutional and legal aspects of the case and to engage his counsel to submit his reply over the show cause notice issued to him, therefore, he might be granted time to make sincere efforts in this regard.
Justice Asif Saeed Khosa dispelled the impression that the prime minister had to write the letter and stated that the PM office had to authorize someone like the law minister to implement the court’s order.
Last night, a meeting of the heads of coalition parties was held at the Aiwan-e-Sadr with Co-Chairman PPP President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf in chair.
Spokesperson to the President Senator Farhatullah Babar informed that Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf will appear before the Supreme Court today (Tuesday) and the coalition partners, he said, decided to accompany the PM to the SC as a mark of solidarity.