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Pakistan court drops Bhutto corruption charges

[JURIST] A judge on one of Pakistan's anti-corruption Accountability Courts [official backgrounder] Tuesday dismissed charges against former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto [BBC obituary; JURIST news archive] following her December 27 assassination [JURIST report]. Charges that Bhutto possessed assets beyond her known income, brought by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) [official website], were rejected in light of her death. Corruption charges against Bhutto's former Director General of the Federal Investigation Agency [official website] Rehman Malik will be revisited on January 30 as the NAB responds to a motion to close the case.

Bhutto left Pakistan in 1999 under the cloud of corruption allegations after her government collapsed; in January 2006, international arrest warrants [JURIST report] were issued for Bhutto and her husband Asif Ali Zardari [BBC profile] on unspecified corruption charges stemming from her term in office from the late 1980s to the early 1990s. In October 2007, Bhutto returned to Pakistan after nine years of self-exile when Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf signed a "reconciliation ordinance" granting amnesty to Bhutto on the corruption charges in an attempt to boost his waning popularity. That ordinance was challenged in the Pakistani Supreme Court [JURIST report], and Bhutto was expected to again face the corruption charges. PTI has more.

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