Despite unpopularity, Zardari immune to possible ouster

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Islamabad, Nov. 23 (ANI): Even though Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari is a man nobody likes, he is politically immune to any possible ouster on the pretext of being an NRO beneficiary because he is the president of the most important political party in the country, experts say.

"He's a man nobody likes, but the fact is, he is the president of the most important political party, which was popularly elected," The New York Times quoted Pervez Tahir, a political expert, as saying.

The revelation has put more pressure on the beleaguered Zardari, who has been fighting for his political survival in recent months.

Dogged by corruption cases, Zardari has come under attack from the powerful Pakistani establishment, an alliance of parts of the military and the news media, who want him gone.

Recently, the Pakistan Law Ministry released a list of politicians, who benefited from the NRO or an amnesty decree that dismissed their past alleged crimes.

The amnesty decree, known as the National Reconciliation Ordinance, was issued in 2007 by former President Pervez Musharraf, and over 8,000 bureaucrats, diplomats and government officials benefited from the change.

The Pakistani news media reported that several top politicians - including Zardari; Rehman Malik, the interior minister; Ahmed Mukhtar, the defense minister; Hussain Haqqani, the ambassador to the United States; and Wajid Shamsul Hassan, the ambassador to Britain - were on the Law Ministry's list, which covered cases between Jan. 1, 1986, and Oct. 12, 1999.

Many of the political leaders, including Zardari, say the cases against them, many of which have been pending for years, are politically motivated.

Ahsan Iqbal, a PML-M member, said: "If they are politically motivated cases, you should be able to defend them in an independent court of law. Why should there be any reluctance?" (ANI)

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