Pakistan Court Declares Amnesty Law Illegal The Pakistan Supreme Court declared Wednesday that an amnesty granted to thousands of people, including the country's president, is illegal. The move opens the door for prosecutions on a range of offenses, both criminal and civil.
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Pakistan Court Declares Amnesty Law Illegal

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Pakistan Court Declares Amnesty Law Illegal

Pakistan Court Declares Amnesty Law Illegal

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MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:

NPR's Julie McCarthy was at the High Court, and she has this report.

JULIE MCCARTHY: Unidentified Group: (Foreign language spoken)

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST)

MCCARTHY: Presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar said tonight that government will respect the court decision, but he added that the constitution provides immunity to President Zardari as long as he is in office.

FARHATULLAH BABAR: Therefore, we believe that as far as the president is concerned, he is not affected.

MCCARTHY: But the case has damaged the president's moral authority. And analysts say that the decision will likely generate petitions urging Zardari to step down. A snowball effect could take hold and as one attorney put it, he'll be making headlines every day for all the wrong reasons. But the president's spokesman downplayed any such suggestion.

BABAR: The president's authority he derives from the party, he derives from the fact that he has been elected by the Electoral College for the president. So that authority has not been eroded, not undermined.

MCCARTHY: Lawyers praised the court for ordering the monitoring of all cases that will now be resurrected for adjudication. Mubashir Hasan was the lead petitioner in the case.

MUBASHIR HASAN: We are accused of being a very corrupt nation. By this judgment, we have shown that at the highest level of our judiciary, we are ready to take measures to bring good name to Pakistan and wash away this stigma.

MCCARTHY: Julie McCarthy, NPR News, Islamabad.

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