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Asia-pacific

Top court strikes down amnesty law

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2009-12-17

An amnesty law shielding Pakistan's top officials from prosecution has been struck down by the country's Supreme Court in a move that could allow corruption cases to proceed against allies of President Asif Ali Zardari (pictured).

AFP - Pakistan's Supreme Court threw out an amnesty Wednesday shielding senior government figures from prosecution, opening the door for corruption cases to be brought against the president's allies.
  
Although President Asif Ali Zardari was a beneficiary of the amnesty, his position gives him immunity from prosecution. But the ruling heaps pressure on his government and could set the stage for his immunity to be challenged.
  
Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry read out the ruling declaring the amnesty "void".
  


The National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) was passed in October 2007 by then-president Pervez Musharraf, under international pressure to hold democratic elections and end about eight years of military rule.
  
It quashed charges against a number of politicians including Zardari and his wife and ex-prime minister Benazir Bhutto -- who was assassinated two months later -- to allow them to stand for office.
  
"The provisions of the NRO seem to be against national interests thus it violates the provisions of the constitution," the ruling said.

Date created : 2009-12-16

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