Pakistan PM asks Swiss to reopen graft case against president

Updated 07 November 2012
0

Pakistan PM asks Swiss to reopen graft case against president

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 Nov. 14 to submit the request, threatening to charge him with contempt of court or face disqualification if he did not comply.
The case has fueled 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 People’s Party can simply nominate a new prime minister since it has a comfortable majority in parliament.
But any prolonged political instability would further distract an unpopular government which has failed to tackle a wide range of issues, from a Taleban insurgency to crippling power cuts.
Thousands of corruption cases were thrown out in 2007 by an amnesty law passed under former military president Pervez Musharraf, paving the way for a return to civilian rule.
Two years, later the Supreme Court ruled that agreement illegal, and ordered the reopening of money laundering cases against Zardari that involved Swiss bank accounts.
“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.
Swiss judicial authorities began investigating allegations in the late 1990s that Zardari, and his late wife, former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, had taken kickbacks from Swiss cargo inspection companies and channelled some $12 million via offshore companies into Swiss accounts.
Swiss authorities said that in 2008 the Pakistani government dropped all related cases it had initiated in Switzerland after Bhutto’s party won an election and Zardari become president.
A Swiss prosecutor told Reuters in 2010 that Switzerland would not reopen the case against Zardari as long as he enjoyed presidential immunity in Pakistan, and if he no longer had immunity in Pakistan, he should be tried there.

 


Pakistan eliminated terrorism with monumental cost — Defense Minister

Updated 26 April 2018
0

Pakistan eliminated terrorism with monumental cost — Defense Minister

  • Beijing hosted the first SCO Defense Ministers meeting after the organization was expanded in 2017 and added India and Pakistan as full members
  • He said that presence of Daesh in Afghanistan is a source of insecurity for its neighbors

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Minister for Defense Khurram Dastgir Khan said that Pakistan has eliminated terrorism from its soil at a monumental cost — in the in blood of soldiers and citizens.
The minister made his remarks at the 15th Defense Ministers Meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Beijing.
He added that Pakistan had adopted a comprehensive national action plan to combat terrorism: “We have suffered economic losses in excess of US $120 billion (Rs 13,920 billion) in our war against terror,” he added.
It was the first assembly of SCO Defense Ministers since the organization expanded in 2017, adding India and Pakistan as full members.

Khan said the continuing turmoil in Afghanistan, including presence of ISIS (Daesh), was a source of insecurity for its neighbors and the entire region.

“Serious challenges facing the region include violent extremism, poverty, lack of trans-boundary water management, drug trafficking, refugees, human trafficking and border controls,” the minister said.

Khan acknowledged the existence of bilateral issues between SCO members, but asserted that these should “never be allowed to impede our collective work.” He encouraged his counterparts to face collective challenges with “courage, harmony and cooperation.”

The minister signed a communiqué with other participants offering support for the “Shanghai Spirit” of building a shared community with peace and stability, development and prosperity.

Defense ministers from the SCO member states including China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and India attended the meeting. The defense minister of Belarus attended as an observer.