President Zardari assured graft cases can't be reopened
11 February, 2013
LAHORE: President Asif Ali Zardari has found his stay in Lahore a great political blessing before the general elections. He was informed by the federal law minister on Sunday that graft cases against him could not be re-opened after the Swiss authorities' confirmation of his immunity through a letter.
President Zardari spent a busy day in the city, holding several meetings with the Pakistan People's Party-led (PPP) government authorities and cabinet members like Law Minister Farooq H Naek and Interior Minister Rehman Malik as well as party workers. Along with his son and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the president also visited the residence of PPP Lahore President and Federal Minister Samina Khalid Ghurki.
Naek met the president on a special call at his residence Bilawal House in Bahria Town and briefed him regarding the Swiss authorities' response to the letter for reopening graft cases. Bilawal was also present in the meeting. The PPP sources told our sources that Naek, while presenting the text of the Swiss authorities' letter to the Pakistani government, assured Zardari that the letter has confirmed the international immunity of the president under the Vienna Convention, therefore the graft cases against him could not be reopened in any court.
PPP sources told this scribe that after receiving the letter and confirmation from the Swiss authorities, the party's central leadership felt at ease for the first time considering it God's blessing just before the next general elections. It also now sees settlement of cases in the Supreme Court over the government's stance regarding the president's immunity in the country too. Meanwhile, Rehman Malik called on the president at the Bilawal House and briefed him on the law and order situation in the country and steps being taken to curb terrorism and restoration of peace in Karachi and Quetta.
Bilawal Bhutto was also present in the meeting, the sources said, adding that the president directed Malik to maintain law and order in the country. Earlier, President Zardari along with Bilawal Bhutto attended the lunch given by federal minister Samina Khalid Gharki where some party workers and leaders, including Mian Manzoor Wattoo and Raja Riaz, met him. Bilawal Bhutto was given a briefing by Samina Ghurki over the organisational situation and expected results of the next general elections in Lahore city. During the meeting with the president and the party chairman, Samina Khalid Ghurki suggested her son Sufian Khalid Gharki as a candidate in general elections from Lahore NA-130.
The sources said that President Zardari would continue his stay in Lahore for two to three days. On the other hand, former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, who was disqualified by the Supreme Court in the contempt of court case over his denial to write the letter to Swiss authorities against the constitutional cover to the president in graft cases, has said in a statement on Sunday that he was happy with the Swiss letter which has endorsed his stance and confirmed the president's immunity.