25 February 2018

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12/17/2009 PAKISTAN

Islamabad: The opposition calls for the resignation of President Zardari

Yesterday the Supreme Court has erased the amnesty from corruption charges. The head of state rejects any wrongdoing and speaks of "political motivations" behind the judiciary’s decision. Zardari’s personal assets under investigation. Drop who in public consensus and crisis in relations with army.

Islamabad (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The opposition is calling for the resignation of Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and his political allies, after the Supreme Court's decision to remove the amnesty that protected him from corruption charges. Zardari denies all charges, rejects the calls to leave office and talks about "political motivations" behind the judiciary’s attack.  

Yesterday the Supreme Court ruled that the decree protecting the president and his political allies against charges of corruption is "illegal." The controversial norm - which granted amnesty to senior members of parliament - was introduced by former head of state Pervez Musharraf. Better known as the National Reconciliation Ordinance, it has blocked all investigations concerning corruption and criminal cases pending against 8 thousand people including ministers, officials and politicians.    

 The law is the result of an agreement with the U.S. government and allowed the former prime minister Benazir Bhutto (and herallies) to return from exile, avail of immunity and participate in active politics in the country. Bhutto and members of her party - the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) - have repeatedly insisted that the accusations were "politically” motivated. Zardari, Bhutto's husband, took control of the party after the murder of his wife, who died in an attack December 27, 2007 during a campaign rally.  

The court ruling has once again inflamed the political climate in Pakistan, engaged in a tough fight against the Taliban in the north-west and in containing the fundamentalist wing of the country. There is a common front that agrees that Zardari should enjoy immunity as president; the opposition, however, puts in doubt his eligibility to lead the state. At the time of his candidacy, in fact,  criminal proceedings were to be initiated against him.

The judiciary had begun several inquiries against him. At the hearing yesterday, the Supreme Court provided evidence of the alleged personal assets of the president, allegedly amassed through corruption and illegal business deals. His popularity in the country is falling sharply and even relations with the army - one of the strong powers of Pakistan - are in crisis.  

Critics point out that "he is morally obliged to resign." Khawaja Asif, a leading figure in the opposition party Pakistan Muslim League, adds that the decision to leave is "in its own interests, the interests of his party and good of the nation."


See also

16/03/2009 PAKISTAN
The government reinstalls Iftikhar Chaudhry, the opposition calls off the “long march”
The spread of chaos is avoided. Lawyers and opposition members celebrate. All those arrested over recent days are freed. Nawaz Sharif: Now we will implement real democracy.

13/02/2012 PAKISTAN
Supreme Court adjourns trial of Prime Minister Gilani for contempt
The Prime Minister is accused of insulting the judiciary for not reopening an investigation file for corruption against President Zardari. He risks imprisonment and removal from public office if convicted. But the real danger is the clash between the powers of the state, executive, judicial and military.

08/08/2012 PAKISTAN
Pakistani Supreme Court targets new prime minister
Court hearing scheduled for August 27. Prime Minister charged with failing to reopen the corruption investigation against President Zardari. For the same reason last June, the then Prime Minister Gilani resigned. Risk of a new clash between institutions and political instability in the country. The PPP seeks a strategy for " political survival " even if convicted.

12/03/2009 PAKISTAN
Clashes and arrests in Karachi. Lawyers protest against Zardari
They are calling for the reinstatement of the former president of the Supreme Court, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, dismissed from his post in 2007 by former president Musharraf. They are joined by Nawaz Sharif, leader of the Pakistan Muslim League, the largest opposition party. They accuse Zardari of using justice for political purposes.

26/04/2012 PAKISTAN
Supreme Court convicts Prime Minister Gilani to symbolic sentence
The Prime Minister found guilty of failing to comply with the provisions of the judiciary, calling for the reopening of the investigation of President Zardari, at the center of a corruption scandal. Gilani given symbolic sentence of a few minutes custody in the courtroom. Now the battle moves from a legal footing in the political arena.

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