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World news roundup: Pakistani court orders government to reopen corruption cases

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

PAKISTAN

Corruption cases ordered reopened

Pakistan's Supreme Court ordered the government on Monday to reopen a slew of corruption cases within 24 hours, including at least two against the president, escalating tension with the government.

The two branches have been at odds since President Asif Ali Zardari was elected in 2008, and some analysts think there has been political motivation behind the court's push to revive cases that had been covered by an amnesty protecting politicians.

Tension between the two sides has been a concern for Washington, which wants the government to stay focused on battling Taliban and al-Qaeda militants who attack U.S. and NATO forces across the border in Afghanistan.

"Take all the petitions and all the cases from A to Z and revive them by tomorrow," Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry ordered the government during a court hearing Monday. "The law has to take its course." His comments came more than three months after the court ruled that the amnesty issued by Zardari's successor, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, was unconstitutional. It covered thousands of cases against politicians and bureaucrats dating back to the 1990s.

Some of the cases have been reopened, but the court's actions Monday seem to indicate it believes the government is dragging its feet on others.

-- Associated Press

Restrictions continue for nuclear scientist

A Pakistani court on Monday maintained restrictions on a nuclear scientist who allegedly leaked atomic weapons secrets to Iran, North Korea and Libya.

The case, involving A.Q. Khan, is being watched closely in the United States and other Western nations that fear he may be a proliferation risk.

The Lahore High Court ruled that Khan was still not allowed to talk about nuclear weapons technology and must inform security agencies before he leaves his house so they can accompany him wherever he goes, according to his attorney, Ali Zafar.


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