ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday, while hearing NRO implementation case, issued a contempt of court show-cause notice to the Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf over his failure to implement court's order, SAMAA reports.
In an interim order issued after the hearing, the apex court summoned the Prime Minister Ashraf on August 27 to respond to the court's notice.
"We hereby issue a notice to Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf ... to show cause why he may not be proceeded against for committing contempt," the court said. "He shall appear in person on the next date of hearing." The court adjourned proceedings until Aug. 27.
Earlier, a five-member bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, began hearing of the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) implementation case. Irfan Qadir, Attorney General of Pakistan, did not submit any written rejoinder regarding government stance over writing a letter to the Swiss authorities over graft allegations on the President Asif Ali Zardari.
Thousands of corruption cases were thrown out in 2007 by an amnesty law passed under former president Pervez Musharraf, paving the way for a return to civilian rule. Two years later, the Supreme Court ruled that agreement was illegal and ordered the reopening of money laundering cases against the president that involved Swiss bank accounts.
The government has refused to obey the court's order to contact Swiss authorities to reopen the cases, arguing that the president had immunity as the head of state.
Justice Khosa asked the Attorney General if he has some good news; however, he (Qadir) sought time from the court till after Eid-ul-Fitr.
Two months ago former prime minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani was convicted over his refusal to re-open corruption and as a result of which Gilani was disqualified and deprived of the National Assembly membership as well as premiership.
According to the Supreme Court's short order no concrete headway was made by the government over writing the Swiss letter in accordance with court's earlier directive of July 12 to the then premier for writing the letter without seeking any advice.
It may be pointed out that the apex court took a suo motu notice in March 2010 over non-implementation of its NRO verdict. On November 25, 2011, when review petitions were disposed off, the court took up the implementation case again.
On January 3, 2012, a five-member bench of the apex court resumed the hearing of the implementation case. The bench also initiated proceedings against the former prime minister Gilani that resulted in his conviction. Later on June 27, 2012, the court again heard the case after Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf was sworn in and sought a reply from him over the issue till July 12.
On July 12, 2012, the court dismissed the rejoinder submitted by the Attorney General Irfan Qadir and ordered the prime minister to put in action the judicial ruling in the light of court order directives. The court gave the Prime Minister a deadline of July 25 to act upon the court order. At the hearing, Attorney General appeared to be in aggressive mood; however, later on, he pledged to negotiate with the government for a middle path. The court gave him time till August 8 (today) for the purpose.
Legal experts are of the view that statements being streamed from the government circles manifest that it is in no mood to write the Swiss letter. Hence, the court may resort to its six-option ruling of January 10.
It should be mentioned here that the government in its bid to pre-empt judicial verdict regarding disqualification of the new prime minister brought forward a new Contempt of Court Act 2012 which was annulled by the Supreme Court last week. – SAMAA/AGENCIES