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Updated: November 29, 2009 03:10 IST

Graft amnesty to Zardari expires

PTI
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Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari
AP
Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari

President feels it will not affect him as the Constitution provides "indemnity" to the person holding the top post in the country.

A controversial law which scrapped graft cases against Asif Ali Zardari and his key allies expired on Saturday, but the President felt it will not affect him as the Constitution provides “indemnity” to the person holding the top post in the country.

“According to our legal team, the President has indemnity and (his) eligibility cannot be challenged now,” Mr. Zardari said hours before the lapse of the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), which was issued by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf two years ago.

In an order issued in July, the Supreme Court had said the NRO would lapse on November 28 if the government did not get it ratified by Parliament.

The PPP-led government was forced to abandon plans to get the law endorsed by parliament due to pressure from political parties.

Under the ordinance promulgated by Mr. Musharraf on October 5, 2007 — a day before the presidential polls which he swept — in an apparent gesture of reconciliation with political parties, graft cases against ex-premier Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated two months later, her husband Mr. Zardari and many other politicians were quashed. The PPP won subsequent elections in February 2008, restoring civilian rule.

Mr. Zardari’s critics have been saying that corruption cases quashed under the NRO would be reopened after the law expires.

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