The US State Department confirmed today that it is working closely with Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari as his government struggles to cope with its loss of legal immunity for corruption.
At the same time US officials were quick to assure that they would not interfere directly if the Zardari government were forced from office. Spokesman PJ Crowley praised Zardari as having ‘come to office through a legitimate parliamentary process,” and said it was an internal matter for Pakistan to decide if the government’s legal status was changed.
Since the Pakistani Supreme Court ruled the government’s legal immunity unconstitutional, it has been noted that Zardari would not have been eligible for that election without the immunity in place. Charges have been filed against numerous members of the government at any rate, and Zardari is facing growing pressure to resign, something US envoy Richard Holbrooke called a “major political drama.”
Zardari is accused of having embezzled more than a billion dollars during his previous government roles, and his Interior and Defense Ministers face similar charges. Zardari has vowed not to resign and the government is pressing the court to restore their legal immunity for those crimes.
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