20 Dec 2009

Pakistan's rulers vow to fight any charges

1:31 pm on 20 December 2009

Pakistan's government has rejected opposition demands for its resignation following a supreme court ruling that overturned an amnesty for politicians facing corruption charges.

The country's ruling party has united behind President Asif Ali Zardari and vowed to fight any charges brought against its leaders.

Earlier, the court annulled an amnesty on criminal prosecution granted to Mr Zardari and many of his allies.

The amnesty had been granted two years ago by former president Pervez Musharraf in order to allow Mr Zardari's late wife, Benazir Bhutto, to return to the country and stand for office. However, she was assassinated after she did so.

Theoretically, the annulment opens the way to the prosecution of Mr Zardari's political allies, although he himself is still protected by presidential immunity.

Mr Zardari faces several pending court cases against him in Pakistan. Before taking office, he spent years in prison after being convicted on corruption charges that he says were politically motivated.