In a bid to save the skin of President Asif Ali Zardari in Swiss cases, the former government of the Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) covertly sent a letter to Swiss authorities, asking them not to entertain its official letter sent on orders of the Supreme Court in NRO implementation case for reopening graft cases against the president.
The covert letter was sent following the apex court’s order to the government to send a letter to Swiss authorities requesting them to reopen criminal cases against the president.
The government had written a letter after approval by the Supreme Court bench in NRO implementation case and sent it to the concerned authorities in Switzerland on November 5, 2012.
However, the secretary law had again sent a letter without informing anyone on November 22 last year, asking the Swiss authorities not to pay heed to its earlier request.
Munir A Malik, the attorney general of Pakistan, made this startling revelation in the court on Wednesday during the hearing of the NRO implementation case.
He told the SC bench that then secretary law, Yasmin Abbasi, had sent a letter to the Swiss authorities in relation to graft cases against Zardari on November 22, without informing the Supreme Court.
He said the Swiss government closed the cases against the president on February 4 and also sent an official communiqué to Pakistan which was received on June 14. Malik said though the matter had become time-barred as the government had to challenge the Swiss decision within ten days, however, the government had filed an appeal with the Swiss government to reopen the cases.
Malik also submitted documents with the court in this regard, including the second letter sent by the former law secretary.
He informed the court that the prime minister had ordered a thorough probe into the matter and a committee formed to investigate the second letter.
He said Intelligence Bureau chief Aftab Sultan and Cabinet Division Secretary Sami Saeed would be probing the issue and would submit their report to the apex court.
The attorney general told the court that the Ministry of Law had also destroyed all proof related to the second letter.
By sending a second letter to the Swiss authorities, the secretary law made the first letter invalid, Munir A Malik contended.
On February 4 this year, Swiss authorities declined to reopen cases against President Zardari in response to the letter sent on November 22, not the one sent on November 5.
The disclosure infuriated Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry.
In his remarks, the CJP said the matter had been brought forward by the media.
He said the former attorney general and the Law Ministry had kept the court in the dark, adding that those responsible would have to face the consequences.
Terming the action on the part of law secretary contempt of court, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry said the matter should be investigated.
He directed the government to share the findings of the probe with the court and adjourned the hearing for two weeks.