ISLAMABAD, Oct. 5 (Xinhua) -- Pakistan's top court Friday again expressed reservations at the draft of a letter to be sent to the Swiss authorities to withdraw a letter previously sent to the Swiss authorities for closing graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari and asked the government to improve the draft by October 10, Law Minister Farooq Naek said.
Naek, who submitted the amended draft of the letter before a five-member bench of the Supreme Court, sought five-day time for consultations with the Prime Minister, after the judges did not accept the draft and raised some reservations.
The bench, headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, accepted the law minister's request for more time and adjourned the hearing till October 10.
Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf last month told the court that his government had decided to withdraw a letter previously sent to the Swiss authorities for closing graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari. He had also assured the court that he would authorize the law minister to implement the court's previous orders for writing to the Swiss authorities.
The law minister told reporters on Friday that the court raised some reservations at the letter and they accepted his plea for more time to consult the prime minister as he cannot take any decision without consultations.
He said the judges also called him to their chamber during a break and also called the law minister and the government's legal team and expressed reservations at certain parts of the proposed letter.
"I requested for time to consult the prime minister as he will take a final decision to approve the letter," Naek told reporters.
On the issue of immunity, the law minister said that the country's constitution is clear that the president enjoys immunity as head of the state and that he is protected against any criminal proceedings as long as he is the president.
He also said that the government does not want any clash between the state institutions, saying that there are "certain hostile forces who want to derail the system. We will not allow these forces to derail the system."
As the court resumed hearing on Friday, the law minister submitted the redrafted letter on behalf of Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, the court adjourned the hearing for a while to read the draft. The judges objected the letter and asked for improvement of the draft.
The draft seeks the withdrawal of letters written in May 22, 2008 by then attorney general Malik Qayyum to the Swiss authorities that Pakistan was no longer interested in pursuing graft charges against President Asif Ali Zardari and his late wife, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto following the promulgation of a controversial amnesty law by then President Pervez Musharraf.
The Supreme Court, however, scrapped the National Reconciliation Ordinance in 2009 and declared that all cases closed under the defunct law stood open.
The government of Pakistan People's Party and the judiciary had been involved in conflict over the Swiss letter as the government has refused to accept all previous court orders on the plea saying that the president enjoys immunity.
The apex court had disqualified Yusuf Raza Gilani as prime minister for his refusal to write to the Swiss authorities in June. Legal experts are of the opinion that the incumbent prime minister can also face fate like Gilani if the letter was not sent to the Swiss authorities.