Page last updated at 10:46 GMT, Monday, 21 December 2009

Pakistan politicians to appeal over amnesty

President Zardari and Interior Minister Rehman Malik
Corruption cases have been opened against senior politicians

A bench of Pakistan's Supreme Court is due to hear appeals from politicians after it lifted an amnesty for politicians facing graft charges.

The three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry will begin hearing the appeals on Monday.

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

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

The court's move last week opened the way for possible prosecution for President Asif Zardari's political allies, although he is still protected by presidential immunity.

Pakistani ministers have said they will not resign following the court ruling.

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

Mr Malik is one of around 250 officials whose corruption and criminal cases have been re-opened - he has received a summons to appear before an anti-corruption court since that amnesty was overturned.

President Zardari has been holding crisis talks with party leaders.

Correspondents say 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.

The amnesty was introduced by Mr Musharraf in order to allow Mr Zardari's late wife, Benazir Bhutto, to return to the country and stand for office, with the aim of a possible power-sharing deal with Mr Musharraf.

She returned to Pakistan from abroad after the so-called National Reconciliation Ordinance was signed into law, but was assassinated soon after.

Print Sponsor

Pakistan minister court summons
18 Dec 09 |  South Asia
Zardari faces resignation demands
17 Dec 09 |  South Asia
Profile: Asif Ali Zardari
16 Dec 09 |  South Asia
Q&A: Pakistan's political instability
16 Mar 09 |  South Asia
Timeline: Pakistan
14 May 11 |  Country profiles

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific