Islamabad, June 28: The revelation that a secret letter regarding President Asif Ali Zardari’s money-laundering cases was written to the Swiss authorities, which ran counter to an earlier letter at the behest of the Supreme Court, “really does have more than a whiff of conspiracy about it”, said a Pakistani daily Friday.
An editorial in the News International admitted that “transparency, honesty and accountability have never loomed large in the national political life of Pakistan”.
“While the law of averages compels an understanding that there must be politicians as straight as the proverbial ruler, they remain a shy and rarely-seen species. The latest revelations in the Swiss letter saga do nothing to dispel the above perception,” it said.
“…the revelation that a letter was written to the Swiss authorities, in secret and running counter to an earlier letter to them at the behest of the Supreme Court, really does have more than a whiff of conspiracy about it,” the daily added.
The editorial said that former law minister Farooq Naek, former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and the former federal law secretary Yasmin Abbasey – “conspired together to deceive the judiciary and by extension the rest of the population”.
“They were seeking to prevent the Swiss government from investigating the possibility of re-opening money-laundering cases against Zardari, and wrote asking that the effects of a previous letter be annulled. It appears that the Swiss acted on the contents of the second – secret – letter and the matter stands revealed. Some top guys have been caught red-handed, with their hands in the till, it seems.”
It went on to say that the effect of the secret letter was to withdraw all previous letters written by the government of Pakistan regarding the money-laundering cases.
“It said to the Swiss authorities that the government had closed all cases, and that the cases would remain closed and never re-opened. This violates the December 16, 2009, judgment of the Supreme Court and a number of other subsequent judgments…, which had all ordered the executive authorities to seek the revival of the Swiss cases.”
Stating that there is “talk in the air of criminal charges”, the daily pointed out that Attorney General Munir Malik informed the apex court that the government will appeal the Swiss government decision.
“Whatever immunity President Zardari currently enjoys by virtue of his position lapses when he leaves the presidency in just over two months.”
“It remains to be seen whether the Nawaz Sharif government will pursue this to the bitter end, but it is evident that there are many who seek answers from President Zardari – a man who has displayed a remarkable ability to play games of survival, speak at length and say very little of substance, and who may now stand revealed as ‘all tip and no iceberg’.”