News / Asia

Pakistani Government Faces Day of Legal Challenges

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari (file photo).
Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari (file photo).

The Pakistani government is due to appear before the Supreme Court Monday in a long-running Swiss corruption case involving President Asif Ali Zardari and before a Supreme Court commission in a scandal that has become known as "Memogate."  

The commission is investigating the origins of an unsigned memo last May in which Pakistan's civilian government asked Washington for help against a feared military coup in Pakistan. The memo was delivered to the U.S. military shortly after an American raid killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in his hideout in northern Pakistan.

VOA’s Ira Mellman spoke with Ahsan Butt, a Research Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He says the wild card in the current situation is the Supreme Court. If they decide to push forward, he says it could result in resignation or early elections.

The government rejects the memo as a non-issue, but army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has stated before the Supreme Court that the document is a reality.  He dismissed speculation about a possible military takeover as misleading and reiterated “continued support” for the democratic process in Pakistan.

Prime Minister Gilani has criticized General Kayani and Inter-Services Intelligence head Lieutenant General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, for cooperating with a Supreme Court probe into the affair, and has said the standoff is nothing less than a choice between "democracy and dictatorship."

Following Gilani's comments, the army issued a warning of "possible grievous consequences" ahead.

The Supreme Court is expected to decide how to proceed on graft charges against President Zardari and other leading politicians, who claim to have immunity from prosecution in the case.

The court threatened to disqualify the prime minister from office if he didn't initiate corruption proceedings against Mr. Zardari.

The five-judge panel accused Gilani of being dishonest in not obeying a 2009 Supreme Court ruling that struck down an amnesty for some 8,000 senior politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen accused of corruption, murder and terrorism.

President Zardari was among those protected by the 2007 amnesty known as the National Reconciliation Ordinance.  He is accused of money-laundering in Switzerland.

The Supreme Court has since ordered all corruption cases to be reopened, including the case against President Zardari.  The government has so far stalled on the request, saying Mr. Zardari has immunity from prosecution while in office.

You May Like

French Refugee Drama Wins Cannes Top Prize

Dheepan is about a group of Sri Lankan refugees who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country for a housing project in France More

Photogallery Crisis in Macedonia Requires Meaningful and Swift Measures

The international community has called on Macedonian leadership to take concrete measures in support of democracy in order to exit the crisis More

Activists: IS Executes 217 Civilians, Soldiers Near Palmyra

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday said the victims include nurses, women, children and Syrian government fighters More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs