Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Zardari is history.

Mr. President, its time.

You can go quietly, or you will dragged through the mud.

The government didn’t even have an Attorney General. The one recently appointed may himself be under indictment. The Supreme Court of Pakistan asked the government to pursue the 60 million Dollar stolen Pakistani money that was frozen by the Swiss government. The numbered account belonged to Mr. Zardari.

The Civilian dictator called Mr. 10% is facing the crucifixion. His political demise is near. Many dictators and pretenders tot eh throne try to hang on to power with their fingernails. It is as useless and futile.

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The Supreme Court struck down a controversial amnesty on Wednesday that had dismissed allegations of corruption against thousands of Pakistan’s politicians, including President Asif Ali Zardari, effectively restoring the cases against them.

As president, Mr. Zardari is granted immunity from prosecution under the Constitution. But the Supreme Court order is expected to reverberate across Pakistan’s rocky political landscape and to further weaken the standing of Mr. Zardari, whom the United States has tried to support as a partner in the fight against the Taliban and Al Qaeda.


The march of history is being witnessed by Constitutional Boulevard. On one end is the Supreme Court—on the other end is the presidency. Mr. Zardari is being cut down to size—the sooner the better. Perhaps he should move to Surray Palace, and take his incompetent government with him.

Petitions challenging Mr. Zardari’s eligibility as a presidential candidate are expected to follow from the ruling, and about a dozen senior members of Mr. Zardari’s coterie of advisers will likely face renewed corruption cases.

They include the interior minister, Rehman Malik, who is perceived as being particularly close to the Americans; the defense minister, Ahmad Mukhtar; and Mr. Zardari’s chief of staff, Salman Farooki, said Babar Sattar, a lawyer and expert on the amnesty.

Even as the court ruling was awaited Wednesday afternoon, a former law minister, Syed Iftikhar Gillani, said that the government ministers facing renewed corruption charges should resign.

How can you run a state with the likes of Kaira, Babur, and Rehman Malik. They refuse to speak the national language and are unable to speak English. Why, may we ask do they try to play the Englishman.

Mr. Zardari and his supporters noted that he has never been convicted, despite having spent 11 years in jail, proof they say that the cases arrayed against him are political vendettas without substance and aimed at undermining the civilian government’s agenda, which is pro-American, in the face of a resurgent military.

Farhatullah Babar, the presidential spokesperson, talking to reporters outside the Supreme Court after the ruling, said that Mr. Zardari and Pakistan Peoples Party respected the court and its verdict. But he stressed the president’s immunity.

“We believe that no criminal case can be instituted or continued in any court against a president or a governor during the term of office,” he said. “So, this doesn’t affect the President of Pakistan. Regarding other matters law will take its course and we will see what happens.”

A presidential confidant, Babar Awan, said that Mr. Zardari would complete his five year term and rebuffed immediate calls from opposition politicians that Mr. Zardari resign.

The people will celebrate a day of deliverance when this compliant government is thrown out and NRO culprits thrown in jail

In all, nearly 6,000 politicians and bureaucrats across all political parties, including the main opposition party, the Pakistan Muslim League led by Nawaz Sharif, benefited from the amnesty, known as the National Reconciliation Order, according to filings with the Supreme Court.

More than 10 days of hearings on the amnesty before the Supreme Court have served to drive home the impression among the public that Pakistan’s politicians, reap vast financial benefits beyond their meager salaries, and often squirrel their gains abroad in flashy apartments, offshore accounts and businesses.

The amnesty was devised in 2007 during the presidency of Gen. Pervez Musharraf with the help of the United States and Britain as a way to engineer the return of Mr. Zardari’s wife, the two-time prime minister Benazir Bhutto, after years in exile.

One of Ms. Bhutto’s chief demands was the dropping of a corruption cases that hung over the couple. In December 2007, Ms. Bhutto was assassinated as she left a political rally, and Mr. Zardari assumed leadership of the Pakistan Peoples Party and became president nine months later.

The Supreme Court proceedings were scrutinized continuously by the Pakistani media over the past week and appeared to hold more importance for the political class than the barrage of terror attacks against the nation’s cities from Taliban and other militants.

Of most interest to the 17-member bench, led by the feisty Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, was the question of who had authorized the return of $60 million in suspect gains of Mr. Zardari to offshore companies in his name after the government withdrew criminal proceedings against him in Switzerland last year.

The Supreme Court said in its decision that the withdrawal of the cases against Mr. Zardari in Switzerland, which was ordered by the former Attorney General, Malik Qayyum, was illegal and that the government should contact the Swiss authorities to restore the proceedings.

“If Mr. Zardari gets convicted in Switzerland that would have tremendous political consequences for him,” Mr. Sattar said.

Though Mr. Zardari has immunity from prosecution as president, his opponents may now seek to challenge his eligibility as a candidate for the presidency.

One opening, lawyers including Mr. Sattar said, is that Mr. Zardari failed to appear when he was called before the High Court in Lahore after he was released from jail in 2004, and may therefore be considered an absconder. Under Pakistani law, absconding is akin to conviction and could disqualify him as a presidential candidate, Mr. Sattar said.

Whether or not the Supreme Court ruling sets off such a chain of events, Mr. Zardari’s political fortunes have sunk perilously low just 15 months into his five-year term. American officials, who consider Mr. Zardari the rightfully elected democratic leader, described the president as desperately trying to find ways to hang on.

Mr. Zardari promised recently to give up powers accrued by General Musharraf that allow the president to dismiss the Parliament and to appoint the army chief. It was possible that the Supreme Court decision could hasten Mr. Zardari’s narrowing of powers, leaving him as a symbolic figure but still enjoying the prestige of office. December 17, 2009, Roiling Politics, Pakistan Court Strikes Down Amnesty, By JANE PERLEZ, Salman Masood contributed reporting

No comments: