Swiss will not reopen graft probe into Pakistan president

ISLAMABAD Sun Feb 10, 2013 7:44pm IST

Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari, widower of assassinated former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, makes a speech during the fifth anniversary of his wife's death, at the Bhutto family mausoleum in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh, near Larkana December 27, 2012. REUTERS/Nadeem Soomro/Files

Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari, widower of assassinated former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, makes a speech during the fifth anniversary of his wife's death, at the Bhutto family mausoleum in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh, near Larkana December 27, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Nadeem Soomro/Files

Related Topics

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Swiss authorities will not reopen a corruption probe into the Pakistani president, officials said Sunday, laying to rest a case that cost one Pakistani prime minister his job and inflamed tensions between Pakistan's executive and judiciary.

Switzerland began investigating allegations in the late 1990s that Asif Zardari and his late wife, former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, had taken $12 million in kickbacks from Swiss cargo inspection companies and stashed the money in Swiss accounts.

"They (the Swiss) sent a letter saying he has immunity under international law," said Fawad Chowdhry, a member of the ruling party's legal team. "If they take it up after he leaves it could be time-barred."

Swiss authorities were not immediately available for comment.

The case has fuelled tensions in a long-running standoff between a government that many citizens see as corrupt and lethargic and a judiciary that is often accused of overreach.

In 2007, former military president Pervez Musharraf passed an amnesty law that threw out thousands of corruption cases as part of the preparation for returning to civilian rule. The Supreme Court ruled the law illegal two years later.

The Supreme Court also ruled the previous prime minister, Yusuf Raza Gilani, was in contempt of court in June for refusing to write a letter to the Swiss authorities demanding for the case to be reopened. The court also declared him unfit to be prime minister and disqualified him from the post.

The current prime minister, Raja Pervez Ashraf, wrote the letter in November after being directed to do so by the court.

Many citizens see the long-running saga as a sideshow in a country that suffers from daily power cuts, inflation and attacks from the Taliban insurgency.

But others say many of the country's ills stem from failing to pursue corruption cases that might hold the powerful to account.

Zardari has said corruption cases against him are politically motivated.

(Editing by Alison Williams)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

WTO DEAL

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Car Launch Ahead

Car Launch Ahead

Tata Motors bets on new sedan to revive weak India sales.  Full Article 

Gold Smuggling

Gold Smuggling

In cat-and-mouse game, India uncovers new gold smuggling route.  Full Article 

Boosting Output

Boosting Output

India group ICVL to nearly triple coal output from mine bought from Rio Tinto.  Full Article 

Maruti Results

Maruti Results

Maruti Suzuki says profits helped by sentiment, not growth.  Full Article 

China PMI

China PMI

China July official PMI rises to 51.7 from 51 in June.  Full Article 

Tracking the Monsoon

Tracking the Monsoon

Monsoon turns patchy after revival.  Read 

ICICI Profit Up

ICICI Profit Up

ICICI Bank Q1 net profit up 17 percent, beats estimates.  Full Article 

Coal India

Coal India

Some Coal India mines may be run by foreign firms - minister  Full Article 

Fuel Prices

Fuel Prices

IOC to cut petrol prices by 1.5 pct from Friday  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage