Thursday, December 17, 2009

Asif Ali Zardari on shaky ground after amnesty overturned

PAKISTAN'S Supreme Court has thrown the government into further turmoil by overruling an amnesty protecting President Asif Ali Zardari, ministers and 8000 bureaucrats from prosecution.

The decision effectively revives thousands of criminal and corruption charges against public officials quashed under the controversial National Reconciliation Ordinance, including a money-laundering case pending against Mr Zardari in Swiss courts.

While Mr Zardari enjoys presidential immunity from prosecution, the judgment leaves at least 30 politicians, including close ally and Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar and thousands of bureaucrats vulnerable to jail terms.

However, the Supreme Court's late-night ruling is expected to pave the way for a legal challenge to Mr Zardari's eligibility to contest last year's presidential elections and his constitutional immunity.

That view was backed by former chief justice Saeeduz Zaman Siddiqqi, who said the constitution did not protect a president from cases brought in foreign countries. Pressure on the unpopular President is now mounting, with opposition parties calling for him to step down within minutes of the verdict.

Mr Zardari's chief spokesman, Farhatullah Babar, said yesterday: "There is no question of the President resigning". The party was prepared to "face any fallout" from the verdict, he added.

A 17-member bench of the Supreme Court found the controversial NRO introduced by former president Pervez Musharraf in 2007 was unconstitutional.

"(The) promulgation of the NRO seems to be against the national interest . . . thus it violates various provisions of the constitution," Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry said.

The petition to overrule the NRO has thrown up hugely damaging evidence against the President, including claims he amassed assets worth $US1.5 billion during his slain wife Benazir Bhutto's time as prime minister.

Documents provided by the National Accountability Bureau to the Supreme Court alleged Mr Zardari was facing charges of amassing assets beyond his means, including six cases of kickbacks and misuse of power, when General Musharraf introduced the NRO in October 2007.

A bureau official said about $US60m received in alleged illegal commissions had been deposited in Swiss bank accounts held by Mr Zardari and Bhutto.

The court has ordered the government to ask the Swiss courts immediately to revive their action against Mr Zardari and reinstate the Pakistan government as a damaged party in the case.

But the judgment was scathing of the bureau's officials, accusing them of a lack of impartiality and calling for their replacement. It ordered a special cell of the Supreme Court to monitor all resumed corruption and criminal cases.

Mr Zardari earned himself the unflattering moniker "Mr 10 Per Cent" during his wife's time in power, because of his rumoured demands for kickbacks, and spent 11 years in jail while facing trial on corruption and murder charges. He was released on bail in 2004.

The NRO amnesty, which covered 3478 cases ranging from murder, embezzlement and write-offs of bank loans worth millions of dollars, was part of a deal brokered by the US and Britain that allowed Bhutto to return from exile and seal a power-sharing deal with the military ruler. She was assassinated two months later, leaving Mr Zardari to lead her Pakistan People's Party to victory in national polls in February last year.

Meanwhile, the government is also under pressure from the US to expand its campaign to target Afghan Taliban leaders believed to be harbouring within its territory.

The New York Times reported yesterday that Pakistani military and intelligence services appeared to be retaliating with a harassment campaign against US diplomats, refusing to extend or approve visas for more than 100 officials. One diplomat said the harassment campaign had led to the forced suspension of several US aid programs.

The Australian

Blog Archive

FEEDJIT Live Traffic Feed


Copyright Muslims Against Sharia 2008. All rights reserved. E-mail: info AT
Stop Honorcide!

Latest Recipients of
The Dhimmi Award
Dr. Phil
George Casey

The Dhimmi Award

Previous Recipients of
The Dhimmi Award

Latest Recipient of the
World-Class Hypocrite Award
Mainstream Media

World-Class Hypocrite Award

Previous Recipients of the
World-Class Hypocrite Award

Latest Recipient of the
MASH Award
Dr. Arash Hejazi

MASH Award

Previous Recipients of the
MASH Award

Latest Recipient of the
Yellow Rag Award

Yellow Rag Award

Previous Recipients of the
Yellow Rag Award

Latest Recipient of
The Face of Evil Award
Nidal Malik Hasan

The Face of Evil Award

Previous Recipients of
The Face of Evil Award

Latest Recipients of the
Distinguished Islamofascist Award

Distinguished Islamofascist Award

Previous Recipients of the
Distinguished Islamofascist Award

Latest Recipient of the
Goebbels-Warner Award

Goebbels-Warner Award

Previous Recipients of the
Goebbels-Warner Award

Muslm Mafia

Latest Recipient of the
Evil Dumbass Award
Somali Pirates

Evil Dumbass Award

Previous Recipients of the
Evil Dumbass Award

Insane P.I. Bill Warner
Learn about
Defamation Campaign

by Internet Thugs

Latest Recipient of the
Retarded Rabbi Award
Shmuley Boteach

Retarded Rabbi Award

Previous Recipients of the
Retarded Rabbi Award

Latest Recipient of the
Mad Mullah Award
Omar Bakri Muhammed

Mad Mullah Award

Previous Recipients of the
Mad Mullah Award

Stop Sharia Now!
ACT! For America

Latest Recipient of the
Demented Priest Award
Desmond Tutu

Demented Priest Award

Previous Recipients of the
Demented Priest Award

Egyptian Gaza Initiative

Egyptian Gaza

Note: majority of users who have posting privileges on MASH blog are not MASH members. Comments are slightly moderated. MASH does not necessarily endorse every opinion posted on this blog.


Muslims Against Sharia
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
Hasan Mahmud

Tewfik Allal
Ali Alyami & Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia
Zeyno Baran
Brigitte Bardet
Dr. Suliman Bashear
British Muslims
for Secular Democracy

Center for Islamic Pluralism
Tarek Fatah
Farid Ghadry &
Reform Party of Syria

Dr. Tawfik Hamid
Jamal Hasan
Tarek Heggy
Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser &
American Islamic
Forum for Democracy

Sheikh Muhammed Hisham
Kabbani & Islamic
Supreme Council of America

Sayed Parwiz Kambakhsh
Nibras Kazimi
Naser Khader &
The Association
of Democratic Muslims

Mufti Muhammedgali Khuzin
Shiraz Maher
Irshad Manji
Salim Mansur
Maajid Nawaz
Sheikh Prof. Abdul Hadi Palazzi
& Cultural Institute of the
Italian Islamic Community and
the Italian Muslim Assembly

Arifur Rahman
Raheel Raza
Imad Sa'ad
Secular Islam Summit
Mohamed Sifaoui
Mahmoud Mohamed Taha
Amir Taheri
Ghows Zalmay
Supna Zaidi &
Islamist Watch /
Muslim World Today /
Council For Democracy And Tolerance
Prominent ex-Muslims
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Magdi Allam
Zachariah Anani
Nonie Darwish
Abul Kasem
Hossain Salahuddin
Kamal Saleem
Walid Shoebat
Ali Sina & Faith Freedom
Dr. Wafa Sultan
Ibn Warraq

Defend Freedom of Speech

Islamists claiming to be Moderates
American Islamic Group
American Muslim Alliance
American Muslim Council
Al Hedayah Islamic Center (TX)
Canadian Islamic Congress
Canadian Muslim Union
Council on American-Islamic Relations
Dar Elsalam Islamic Center (TX)
DFW Islamic Educational Center, Inc. (TX)
Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (Closed)
Ed Husain & Quilliam Foundation
Islamic Association for Palestine (Closed)
Islamic Association of Tarrant County (TX)
Islamic Center of Charlotte (NC) & Jibril Hough
Islamic Center of Irving (TX)
Islamic Circle of North America
Islamic Cultural Workshop
Islamic Society of Arlington (TX)
Islamic Society of North America
Masjid At-Taqwa
Muqtedar Khan
Muslim American Society
Muslim American Society of Dallas (TX)
Muslim Arab Youth Association (Closed)
Muslim Council of Britain
Muslims for Progressive Values
Muslim Public Affairs Council
Muslim Public Affairs Council (UK)
Muslim Students Association
National Association of Muslim Women
Yusuf al Qaradawi
Wikio - Top Blogs