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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court verdict on NRO will bring the 11-year-old SGS corruption reference against President Asif Zardari and late Benazir Bhutto to public glare once again, legal circles say.
In the reference, Ms Bhutto, Asif Zardari and their agent Jens Schlegelmilch were alleged to have received $60 million in kickbacks from SGS in exchange for the award of a pre-shipment inspection contract to the Swiss company in 1994.

The reference was filed in 1998 by the second government of Nawaz Sharif in the Lahore High Court and before a Swiss magistrate. The couple were convicted by the LHC in the case, but the decision was set aside by the Supreme Court in 2001 because of the partisanship of the sentencing judge.

In 2003, Ms Bhutto and Mr Zardari were convicted of simple money laundering by a Geneva investigating judge who handed down a six-month suspended sentence. Ms Bhutto, who personally appeared in the Geneva court, filed an appeal against the magistrate’s decision, only to face more serious money laundering charges.

The case was pending in the Swiss court when then president Pervez Musharraf promulgated the National Reconciliation Ordinance and the government dropped the case in April 2008.

At that time, Swiss lawyers reportedly said the lack of a criminal prosecution against Mr Zardari in Pakistan and the government’s withdrawal as a civil party in the case had greatly weakened the chances of convicting Mr Zardari under the Swiss law.

Political and legal experts say it will be interesting to see if the Swiss authorities will be ready to reopen the case against Mr Zardari in the light of Wednesday’s Supreme Court judgment.

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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan reserved the verdict in plane hijacking conspiracy case on Thursday.

Prosecutor-General Sindh Shahadat Awan told the court Nawaz Sharif was rightly convicted by the trial court; thus, his appeal was liable to be dismissed.

He contended the petition was time-barred, as according to the SC rules, an appeal had to be filed before a proper forum after the announcement of the judgment within a month.

The prosecutor-general, however, said the petition could be condoned if the court was satisfied with the cause of delay in filing the appeal. The apex court has reserved the decision at the end of prosecutor general argument.

The Sindh government on Wednesday requested the Supreme Court to dismiss the appeal of Pakistan Muslim League-N chief Mian Nawaz Sharif against his conviction in the case.

Source: Geo.tv


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