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Opponents Call on Pakistan President Zardari to Quit


Call comes following a court ruling striking down an amnesty decree protecting Asif Ali Zardari from facing corruption charges.

Pakistani opposition groups are calling for President Asif Ali Zardari to step down from office following a court ruling striking down an amnesty decree protecting him and other senior officials from facing charges of corruption.

The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the National Reconciliation Ordinance, which grants amnesty to some 8,000 senior politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen, conflicts with Pakistan's constitution.

The ruling opens the door for the reopening of all corruption and criminal cases pending against the president's close aides and political allies.

Mr. Zardari is immune from prosecution while in office, however his opponents plan to challenge his eligibility to hold the post.

Members of the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party have called on him to resign on moral grounds.

Former President Pervez Musharraf introduced the amnesty in the 2007 National Reconciliation Ordinance.

The measure was part of a power-sharing deal reached with Mr. Zardari's wife, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. She was assassinated two months later, two weeks before general elections in which she was a leading opposition candidate.

In other news, Pakistani intelligence officials say a suspected US drone (unmanned missile) killed two suspected militants in the country's northwestern tribal region.

Thursday's attack targeted a vehicle carrying the two in the town of Dosali in North Waziristan near Pakistan's border with Afghanistan.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.