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

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory 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.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid