Row over immunity expiration deepens in Pakistan
A fresh political crisis is looming in Pakistan, as the immunity against corruption charges that President Asif Ali Zardari and his key allies enjoy expires, Press TV reported.
Although Zardari cannot be prosecuted because of presidential immunity, the re-opening of politically-motivated corruption cases involving people close to him could further weaken his presidency.
The amnesty, known as the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), which was issued by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf in October 2007, has expired on Saturday.
The amnesty was issued by Musharraf as a goodwill gesture towards reconciliation with his opponent in a bid to extend his rule.
In late July, the Islamabad Supreme Court set a November 28 deadline for the NRO to be approved by the parliament. But the ruling party is seen as too weak to win an extension.
Opposition parties are demanding that President Zardari and several ministers resign and face trials for alleged past crimes.
The mainstream opposition party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) demanded Monday, during a party meeting in eastern city of Lahore, that the cabinet ministers who benefited from the NRO resign from their offices.
The PML-N further asked the President to decide his own fate. Zardari's approval rating has steadily sunk as Pakistan struggles with militant violence, recession and stalled reform efforts.