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Pakistan ex-PM returns from exile despite pending court hearings on amnesty ordinance

[JURIST] Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto [BBC profile] returned home to Pakistan Thursday after nine years of self-imposed exile in Great Britain and Dubai following corruption charges. Bhutto, who continued to lead the Pakistani People's Party [party website] during her exile, is a political rival [BBC backgrounder] of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf [BBC profile], but Musharraf earlier this month signed [JURIST report] a "reconciliation ordinance" granting amnesty to Bhutto on the corruption charges in an attempt to boost his waning popularity. The Supreme Court of Pakistan said last week that it would hear a challenge to the ordinance [JURIST report]. AFP has more.

Musharraf won an overwhelming victory in presidential elections [JURIST report] on October 6, according to unofficial results. Many believe his re-election bid violated a constitutional ban on holding dual roles as president and army chief, and 85 opposition members of parliament resigned in protest prior to the election. The Supreme Court barred the Election Commission of Pakistan [official website] from officially declaring a winner until the high court issues a ruling on whether Musharraf was in fact eligible as a presidential candidate. The court began hearing legal arguments [JURIST report] Wednesday in the case filed by opposition party members challenging Musharraf's re-election bid.

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