Pakistan's Supreme Court has given Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf more time to re-open a corruption case against President Asif Ali Zardari. The court set September 25 as the deadline for the submission of the draft of a letter to Swiss authorities by the premier and called on ministers to have the draft letter ready by then. The Supreme Court Judge Asif Saeed Khosa said the court intends to check the letter before its submission to make sure it fulfills the investigation order dating back to December 2009. "It is necessary we should be fully satisfied that the requirement of the order is fully met," the judge added.
The long-running legal wrangle over the old multimillion dollar corruption allegations against Zardari has not been settled yet, with Ashraf being prone to contempt charges by the powerful court, the same case that threw his predecessor Yousuf Raza Gilani out of office.The incumbent and former premiers have resisted court orders to write to Swiss officials for more than two years, arguing that the country’s president enjoys immunity from prosecution. The corruption case against Zardari dates back to the 1990s, when he and his late wife, former premier Benazir Bhutto, supposedly used Swiss bank accounts to launder USD 12 million allegedly paid in bribes. Observers believe the ongoing showdown between the judiciary and government could force early elections in Pakistan. AO/HMV