Benazir may face corruption charges if SC overturns NRO

November 14th, 2007 - 2:18 am ICT by admin  
“If the court declares the National Reconciliation Ordinance null and void, then all cases and charges against her will be reinstated,” Pakistan’s Deputy Information Minister Tariq Azim said.

“Such a situation could create political turmoil,” Christian Science Monitor quoted him, as telling a foreign news agency.

“But she is free to come back, this is just friendly advice,” he added.

The report said that Pakistani government officials have urged the former prime Minister to delay her return until after the Supreme Court rules on the presidential amnesty.

Benazir is scheduled to return to Pakistan on October 18 following a power-sharing deal with President General Pervez Musharraf, who was re-elected last week to another term in office.

She has plans to contest parliamentary elections in January, and seek a third term as Prime Minister.

The apex court has put the NRO that aims to grant amnesty to the former premier on hold.

After this move of the court, the cases against Benazir, her husband Asif Zardari, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leaders and workers and other bureaucrats and political leaders will remain what it was before the promulgation of the ordinance.

According to Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid, the situation can become very complex and Benazir’s homecoming could be affected in the wake of the apex court’s order.

The NRO that was promulgated on October 5, just a day before the presidential elections, grants general amnesty to all politicians, bankers and bureaucrats from charges relating to misdemeanours, misconduct and misuse of power between January 1986 and October 1999.

The NRO has invited widespread protest and condemnation from various political parties, lawyers and public opinion leaders organizations. They even dubbed it as discriminatory and a gross violation of the Constitution.

The ordinance was also challenged in provincial courts of the country questioning Musharraf’s authority to grant general amnesty. (ANI)

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