Islamabad: The Supreme
Court Monday ordered Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, facing a
show-cause notice for failing to implement a Supreme Court order,
to appear before it again Sep 18. Ashraf sought more time to write
to Swiss authorities to reopen corruption cases against President
Asif Ali Zardari.
Ashraf, 61, appeared before the court and requested that he be
given four to six weeks to write the letter to Swiss authorities,
"I need time to understand the matter… as it involves certain
legal and constitutional points," Ashraf told the court. He also
pleaded that the show-cause notice be withdrawn.
"I need enough time from the court to seek the assistance of
constitutional and legal experts," he said.
Ashraf's predecessor, Yousuf Raza Gilani, was disqualified by the
court for contempt after he refused to accept the court's orders.
During the Monday hearing, the apex court initially gave time till
Sep 12 while Ashraf sought time till Sep 16 as he had professional
commitments. The prime minister said he will be in China till Sep
14, therefore, more time should be granted, reported Geo News.
The Supreme Court ordered Ashraf to appear in the court Sep 18 and
adjourned the hearing.
Jostled by crowds, Ashraf waved before stepping inside the court
building, where there was tight security.
A five-judge special bench comprising Justices Asif Saeed Khan
Khosa, Ejaz Afzal Khan, Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry, Gulzar Ahmed and
Muhammad Ather Saeed heard the case.
The apex court had issued the notice Aug 8.
The order said it was unfortunate that the prime minister had
failed to implement the court's directives.
The court had July 25 given Ashraf time till Aug 8 to write to
Swiss authorities to reopen corruption cases against Zardari.
Accused of graft, Zardari was granted amnesty under the National
Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) in 2007 by then president Pervez
Musharraf to facilitate his return home from exile, and primarily
that of his wife, former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
Zardari and Bhutto were suspected of using Swiss accounts to
launder about $12 million in alleged bribes paid by companies
seeking customs inspection contracts in the 1990s.
The NRO that granted immunity to politicians and bureaucrats in
corruption cases was struck down by the Supreme Court as void in
The apex court in January ordered Gilani to write a letter to the
Swiss authorities to reopen cases against Zardari.
Gilani was convicted April 26 of contempt of court, and was
disqualified as prime minister as well as parliament member June