Powered By Yswq!

上海性息

Pakistani minister ‘barred from leaving country’

Ahmed Mukhtar told local television late Thursday he had been due to go on an official visit to China but that his name was on an “exit list” restricting travel and that federal investigation authorities said he cannot leave.

上海性息

He was one of thousands of people affected by Wednesday’s court decision annulling as “unconstitutional” a 2007 amnesty that had protected Zardari and ministers from corruption charges.

The ruling has rattled the US-backed civilian government in nuclear-armed Pakistan, with the opposition demanding the resignation of Zardari and his entire cabinet.

“I was going to China on an official three-day visit. The visit was in connection with the delivery of a frigate,” Mukhtar told the private Geo television station.

“My staff reached the airport along with other delegation members including the naval chief. I was informed that my name is on the exit list… federal investigation authorities officials have said that I cannot leave the country.

“It was in connection with a corruption case. But there is no corruption case against me — it is only an enquiry which is pending against me for the past 12 years. I will strongly defend myself in the court.”

Mukhtar said the delegation left for China without him late Thursday.

Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, Husain Haqqani, voiced hope that the amnesty ruling would not destabilise the country, which is under US pressure to do more to fight Islamist militants on the border with Afghanistan.

“Everybody in Pakistan, including our top military leadership, has made it clear that the military should focus on defending the country’s frontiers and elected government should run the government in accordance with the constitution and courts should adjudicate criminal matters in accordance with the law,” he told CNN.

“I hope everybody will play their constitutional role and (the) country will not go down the road of coups that has been disastrous for our country in the past.”

The amnesty — called the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) — was passed in October 2007 by then-president Pervez Musharraf, who was under pressure to hold elections and end about eight years of military rule.

It quashed charges against a number of politicians including Zardari and his wife and ex-prime minister Benazir Bhutto — who was assassinated two months later — to allow them to stand for office.

Zardari’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) went on to win elections in 2008, restoring civilian rule, but his relations with the powerful military are strained.

Zardari is immune from prosecution while in office, but his eligibility for the role of president could be challenged soon, analysts say, as graft cases were pending against him when the NRO was adopted

Other NRO beneficiaries included the interior minister and senior government advisers, and the National Accountability Bureau told AFP on Thursday that it had asked the interior ministry to put 248 names on the exit list.

Comments are disabled.