Pakistan may descend into chaos following amnesty ordinance expiry, fear analysts

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Washington, Nov.28 (ANI): With the special amnesty ordinance (National Reconciliation Ordinance) rendered defunct and a civilian government gasping for survival, Pakistan could further descend into chaos, analysts believe.

The NRO, which had become a byword for corruption, was passed by former President General Pervez Musharraf in 2007 as part of a political deal, brokered with the assistance of the United States, that allowed the late Benazir Bhutto back into the country to contest elections without having to face charges related to money-laundering and kickbacks on government contracts.

More than 8,000 individuals, mainly bureaucrats, were protected by the decree.

If the Supreme Court allows the NRO's expiration and rules that old cases are automatically reactivated, several top bureaucrats and politicians could be liable to prosecution, which could trigger turmoil in the country, The Christian Science Monitor reports.

While President Asif Ali Zardari has said that he cannot be prosecuted as he enjoys special immunity, it not clear whether he will be targeted or not.

"The president is now 'politically vulnerable', but constitutionally impregnable. No civilian government in Pakistan lasts long after the drumroll of corruption begins," said Cyril Almeida, assistant editor of Dawn, a leading English daily.

The opposition parties are vying for Zardari's resignation, but it is unlikely that he would step down.

Some believe that the military could take over, but chances regarding that are also low, the report said.

The government, on the other hand, has maintained that NRO was never 'controversial'.

"It is understood by the people of Pakistan as a way to bring the leadership back into Pakistan," said Farahnaz Ispahani, a spokesperson for Zardari.

Ispahani instead blamed 'antidemocratic elements' for waging a propaganda campaign aimed undermining the moral authority of Zardari, clearly referring to the country's intelligence and rogue elements within the Army. (ANI)

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