Page last updated at 21:49 GMT, Saturday, 19 December 2009

Pakistan government says it will not resign

Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik in Karachi  on 7 December 2009
Rehman Malik is one of thousands who benefited from the anti-graft amnesty

Pakistan's government has said it will not resign, following a court ruling which overturned an amnesty for politicians facing corruption charges.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik said the government had no intention of bowing to opposition demands to stand down.

Senior figures including interior and defence ministers are among those affected by the Supreme Court ruling.

President Asif Ali Zardari has been holding crisis talks with party leaders to discuss the situation.

The controversial law granting senior politicians amnesty was brought in by former President Pervez Musharraf.

The court's move on Wednesday opens the way to possible prosecution for Mr Zardari's political allies, although he is still protected by presidential immunity.

Cloud of corruption

Interior Minister Rehman Malik is one of those who had enjoyed immunity against prosecution for the last couple of years.

I promise you the day I feel even a guilt of 0.001 per cent I will be the first one to resign"
Interior Minister Rehman Malik

Mr Malik is one of around 250 officials whose corruption and criminal cases have been re-opened.

He has now received a summons to appear before an anti-corruption court, since that amnesty was overturned.

But in an interview with the BBC's Aleem Maqbool in Islamabad, he said he was not worried by the summons.

"I promise you the day I feel even a guilt of 0.001 per cent I will be the first one to resign. Because I know I will not have done anything wrong, hence no resignations," he said.

Mr Malik said that went for the president and the whole government as well.

He said they would all serve out their full terms in office before letting the Pakistani people decide on their futures in an election.

He also rejected concerns that political in-fighting will have an impact on the government's ability to tackle militancy here.

Our correspondent says that while the government officials affected, including President Zardari himself, are legally able to remain in power, the question over whether they should morally stay there with the cloud of corruption hanging over them is not going away.

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