Pakistan high court to review Bhutto amnesty ordinance

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Pakistan [official website] on Friday agreed to review a "reconciliation ordinance" [JURIST report] that granted amnesty to former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto [BBC profile] and paved the way for a power-sharing agreement between Bhutto and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf [BBC profile]. The agreement reached between the two political rivals [BBC backgrounder] clears the way for Bhutto to return to Pakistan from self-exile in London and Dubai to campaign in parliamentary elections for prime minister later this year. The ordinance also applies to similar charges against politicians who were charged, but not convicted, of corruption between 1988 and 1999. Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry said civilians granted amnesty under the ordinance will "not be entitled to claim any protection if this court concludes that the ordinance and its provisions are beyond the constitution."

Musharraf won an overwhelming victory in presidential elections [JURIST report] on Saturday, according to unofficial results. The Supreme Court barred the Election Commission of Pakistan [official website] from officially declaring a winner until the high court issues a ruling on whether Musharraf was in fact eligible as a presidential candidate. The Court will hear legal arguments [JURIST report] filed by opposition party members challenging Musharraf's bid for another presidential term while still chief of the army on October 17. Reuters has more. AFP has additional coverage.

 

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