Supreme Court of Pakistan
Supreme Court of Pakistan. — Photo by AFP

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf must write to Swiss authorities, DawnNews reported.

A three judge bench of the apex court comprising Justice Nasirul Mulk, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Azmat Saeed Sheikh heard the NRO implementation case.

The court in its order said that it had directed the attorney general to get orders on NRO implementation from the prime minister.

Rejecting the attorney general's arguments, the court further ruled that it had initiated contempt proceedings against Yousuf Raza Gilani for not implementing its directives.

Ruling that the prime minister was bound to implement the court's order, the bench adjourned the hearing to July 25.

Earlier during the hearing, Attorney General Irfan Qadir had told the bench that the court's order had been delivered to the prime minister.

The order has also been forwarded to the federal law ministry, Qadir said.

The attorney general moreover said that the federal cabinet and the prime minister would make a collective decision on the issue of corresponding with Swiss authorities.

The cabinet has requested the law ministry to give its recommendations on the matter, the attorney general said, adding that the recommendations would be presented before it.

The cabinet would then make a decision on the matter in the light of the ministry’s recommendations.

Justice Khosa inquired of the attorney general as to when the ministry would finalise its recommendations.

Earlier on June 27, the bench had given the new prime minister two weeks to indicate whether he would ask Swiss authorities to reopen corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

The court on June 19 dismissed Yousuf Raza Gilani as prime minister after convicting him of contempt in April for refusing to reopen the multi-million-dollar cases against the president.

Raja Pervez Ashraf was later elected as the new prime minister.

The allegations against President Zardari date back to the 1990s, when he and his late wife, former premier Benazir Bhutto were suspected of using Swiss bank accounts to launder $12 million allegedly paid in bribes by companies seeking customs inspection contracts.

The Swiss shelved the case in 2008 when Zardari became president and the government had been insisting that the president has full immunity.

But in 2009 the Supreme Court overturned the NRO, a political amnesty that had frozen investigations into the president and other politicians, ordering that the cases be reopened.