Islamabad:  Pakistan's Supreme Court on Tuesday gave the government a "last and final opportunity" to implement its order to reopen graft cases against thousands of people, including President Asif Ali Zardari, that were closed under an amnesty that has been declared void.

A five-member special bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa said in its order that authorities were being given the "last and final opportunity" to implement its order scrapping the National Reconciliation Ordinance, a graft amnesty that was issued by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf in 2007.

If the authorities failed to act on the order, the court would be forced to "take action against delinquent authorities" and would pass orders "against anyone, no matter how high an authority he might be", the bench said.
   
On Tuesday's ruling is expected to increase pressure on Zardari and the government, which is already grappling with a Supreme Court-ordered inquiry into the alleged memo that had sought US help to stave off a possible military coup in Pakistan after the killing of Osama bin Laden in May.

Since the apex court struck down the NRO in December 2009, it has been pressuring the Pakistan People's Party-led government to reopen graft cases, including money laundering cases that were registered against Zardari in Switzerland.

The government has refused to act, saying Zardari enjoys immunity from prosecution because of his position.

(Agencies)