Pakistan court mulls amnesty ruling

Judges set to decide on legality of deal that protects president from graft charges.

    An unfavourable ruling could see Zardari
    stripped of the presidency [EPA]

    "But the supreme court could say that [the NRO] was parliament's decision in the first place and ... [it could] go back to parliament to decide whether the deal should be ratified.

    "The third [possible decision] is to declare the NRO illegal. If that happens, it would call into question the political office of Zardari and a number of other officials."

    Amnesty agreement

    The deal, which was announced two years ago by then-president Pervez Musharraf, allowed Zardari and Benazir Bhutto, his wife and a former prime minister, to return from self-exile without facing corruption charges.

    But the NRO has been branded unconstitutional and the debate over its legitimacy has received a great deal of coverage in Pakistani media.

    The amnesty covers more than 8,000 officials and civil rights activists argue that it was unjust to help so many politicians escape prosecution for alleged wrongdoing.

    As president, Zardari, who has denied a slew of corruption claims against him, enjoys general immunity from prosecution.

    But the supreme court could choose to challenge his eligibility for the post if it decided that the amnesty is illegal.

    Legal and political analysts are divided on whether this is likely, and most expect the process to take several months to run its course.

    The debate comes as Pakistan's army battles Taliban fighters in its tribal regions.

    The potential for a crisis to erupt from the supreme court ruling is a cause for concern in the US, whose administration wants Pakistan to remain focused on its campaign against the Taliban.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    From Qatar to Alaska, a personal journey exploring what it means to belong when your culture is endangered.