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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Asif Zardari, Pakistan's president, faces being engulfed in a damaging corruption scandal

The Pakistani leader and members of his fragile pro-Western government will be hit by a string of criminal allegations when an amnesty protecting high-ranking politicians expires on Saturday.
Hundreds of court cases could be revived just as the nuclear-armed government battles a stubborn Taliban insurgency.
The publication of a list of more than 8,000 politicians covered by the amnesty has disclosed it covers bureaucrats, senior ministers and ambassadors who are charged with offences ranging from murder to embezzlement.

The Supreme Court has ruled the amnesty on charges dating back to the 1990s, which was introduced in 2007, will end on Saturday.
Mr Zardari is himself on the list but is protected from prosecution by presidential immunity.
However some lawyers believe they could prove him unfit for office and cases could be renewed against allies including Rehman Malik, interior minister, and the ambassadors to London and Washington.
The end of the amnesty has alarmed the West which fears lengthy politically-motivated trials could distract their key ally in Islamabad from the Pakistani army's war with the Taliban in Waziristan. (continues here at Telegraph UK)

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