ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday gave the government until Sept 25 to draft the letter to Swiss authorities to reopen a graft case against President Asif Ali Zardari and adjourned the hearing in the show-cause notice for contempt of court against Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf to the said date, DawnNews reported. A five-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, heard the show-cause notice for contempt of court against Prime Minister Ashraf over the NRO implementation case.
Earlier, a Supreme Court bench had issued a show-cause notice to Prime Minister Ashraf for not implementing its orders in the NRO case of writing the letter to reopen a graft case worth $60 million against President Zardari.
10: 18: The prime minister departed from the Supreme Court's premises after the completion of the hearing.
10: 14: The court granted the prime minister exemption from appearing for the upcoming hearing.
10: 11: The bench ruled that the government must draft the letter by Sept 25 and adjourned the hearing to the said date.
10:10: Justice Khosa appreciated the prime minister's efforts for the resolution of the longstanding issue.
10: 07: The court moreover gave the government until Sept 25 to draft the letter.
10:01: Time for consultations is over, the bench said, adding that now the government should focus on writing the letter.
10:00: The court gave a deadline of two days to compose the letter's draft, whereas, the prime minister had requested the court for a month's time for consultations. Justice Khosa told the prime minister to authorise the law minister to draft the letter in a matter of two to three days "so that this chapter can be closed as soon as possible".
09: 56: Justice Khosa directed that the matter of the letter be resolved and it should be sent to Swiss authorities by Oct 2.
09: 53: Justice Khosa said the court could resume the hearing day after tomorrow which would give the prime minister the time to delegate authority to the law minister who would draft the letter. Upon which, the prime minister said that the hearing could be held at the end of the month. At that, the law minister said he required time to draft the letter upon which Justice Khosa remarked that the prime minister had given Naek an order with which he had to comply.
09: 51: Justice Khosa instructed the prime minister to write the letter to Swiss authorities following four steps: The prime minister would authorise someone in writing to write the letter, the content of the letter should satisfy the court, subsequently the letter is sent and the court be informed as to who would be delivering it and lastly the court is informed once the letter is sent.
09: 49: Justice Khosa further remarked that the court had reviewed the government's reservations over the issue and that the issue of Article 248 was internal.
09: 44: The prime minister concluded his arguments in the court.
09: 42: The prime minister requested the court to exempt him from court appearances.
09: 40: Prime Minister Ashraf said the general elections were not far off and requested the court to issue a ruling which would be in the greater national interest and would also resolve the matter. He moreover informed the court that he had delegated the authorities over the matter to the federal law minister.
09: 39: The prime minister said he was experiencing pressure from different quarters and questions were being asked, adding that, the matter should be resolved. Prime Minister Ashraf moreover said that the Russian president was coming to Pakistan and that President Zardari was also going to attend meetings at the United Nations. He added that as prime minister, he was also the party's secretary-general, and therefore wanted a resolution which would help retain the dignity of both the Supreme Court as well as the office of the president.
09: 37: The prime minister said he had reviewed the matter and its complications from several angels after which the decision to recall Qayyum's letter was taken. He added that the matter was not simply about the person of Asif Ali Zardari but of the office of the president. He said he hoped that the court would also keep the matter in mind. The prime minister further said that if the court cooperated, the matter could be resolved amicably.
09: 35: During the hearing, the prime minister told the court that he had asked the federal law minister to withdraw the letter sent to Swiss authorities by former attorney general Malik Qayyum for the closure of the graft case against President Asif Ali Zardari.