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Pakistan Parliament to Curb Zardari’s Powers as Court Battle Looms

Pakistan’s parliament is expected to move on major changes to the constitution in the next few weeks, fulfilling a several year old campaign promise to curb the enormous power of the presidency.

The ruling Pakistani Peoples Party had vowed to make the position of president essentially a ceremonial one, but after taking power in 2008 President Zardari has repeatedly stalled this move, at times even using the expanded powers to his advantage.

The power of the presidency in Pakistan was greatly expanded after the coup which installed General Pervez Musharraf as President of the nation. Musharraf granted himself near dictatorial powers over the nation, though an ever growing protest movement eventually forced him from office and into exile.

In addition to losing the bulk of his power to this move, Zardari also faces an upcoming battle with the Pakistani Supreme Court over the fact that he has still refused to implement a December 2009 ruling stripping him and other top government officials of legal immunity for their assorted past crimes.

The immunity was a presidential edict of Musharraf’s, and has been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Zardari has sought to appeal and has simply ignored the ruling, which could lead to the immediate indictment of the Defense and Interior Ministers, among others.

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