Pakistan drops Zardari graft cases

Clearing of Bhutto's widower may improve his party's ties with president.

    Zardari still faces a money-laundering case 
    in Switzerland [EPA]

    The cases dropped include charges of illegal payments relating to the purchase of thousands of Polish tractors and the construction of a polo ground inside Bhutto's residence.

     

    Zulfikar Ahmad Bhutta, a prosecutor, confirmed the dropped charges, saying that Zardari's property, including businesses and a bullet-proof limousine, would be returned immediately.

     

    'No revenge'

     

    Zardari, the co-chairman of Bhutto's Pakistan Peoples party (PPP), spent years in jail without being convicted, insisting the charges were politically-motivated.


    Farooq Naek, Zardari's lawyer, said on Wednesday that he had been acquitted.

     

    "We do not believe in politics of revenge, and we believe that there should be coexistence between democratic forces," Naek, who is also a senior party leader, said.

     

    A Pakistani court is expected to drop the last two outstanding cases against Zardari on March 12.

     

    However, a money-laundering case against him is still pending in Switzerland.

     

    Prosecutors had pushed for Zardari to be tried by a Swiss court following allegations he had deposited $55m worth of bribes in bank accounts in that country.

     

    Wednesday's ruling is expected to anger ordinary Pakistanis but may smooth the way for a new government to take office and begin tackling urgent issues.

     

    The PPP won last month's parliamentary elections, increasing pressure on Pervez Musharraf to resign as president.

     

    Party leaders are expected to announce their candidate for prime minister on Thursday, with Makhdoom Amin Fahim, a cautious aristocrat, tipped to be the favourite.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.

    The priceless racism of the Duke of Edinburgh

    The priceless racism of the Duke of Edinburgh

    Prince Philip has done the world an extraordinary service by exposing the racist hypocrisy of "Western civilisation".

    China will determine the future of Venezuela

    China will determine the future of Venezuela

    There are a number of reasons why Beijing continues to back Maduro's government despite suffering financial losses.