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The deal that may prove costly for Zardari

world Updated: Dec 03, 2009 00:44 IST

All eyes in Pakistan are turning towards the Supreme Court as a larger bench has been constituted to take up all cases relating to the controversial National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO).

The bench will begin hearing from December 7 when it will take up all petitions that relate to the ordinance.

Many of Pakistan’s ruling politicians took benefit from the NRO, which was promulgated by former President General Pervez Musharraf as part of deal under which the country returned to democracy in 2008.

Under the deal, Musharraf allowed politicians to stand for elections in exchange for amnesty for his government’s actions. Some of the high profile beneficiaries include President Asif Zardari and interior minister Rehman Malik.

The NRO allowed people with pending court cases against them to stand for elections and be allowed to hold a public office.

However, the legislation has been unpopular in Pakistan and the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party did not present it to parliament in November after its political allies announced that they would vote against its passage.

This has emerged as a major headache for the Zardari government as the challenge to the party has started to grow. With the Court taking up hearing on petitions that relate to the NRO, there are fears that many public officials and politicians in power will be removed from office.

This will end up creating a confrontation between the judiciary and the government, fear analysts.