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Pakistan court drops corruption charges against Bhutto husband

[JURIST] A Pakistani court Wednesday dropped five graft cases against Asif Ali Zardari [BBC profile], the new leader of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) [party website] and widower of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto [BBC obituary; JURIST news archive]. The court also released Zardari's assets, which had been frozen pending the corruption cases. The court's decision follows a "reconciliation ordinance" [JURIST report] signed in October by President Pervez Musharraf [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], which granted amnesty to Bhutto and Zardari for corruption charges and cleared the way for her return to Pakistan from self-exile in London and Dubai. Two corruption cases against Zardari are still pending in court, but are expected to be thrown out in later hearings.

Bhutto was assassinated in a suicide attack in December at a political rally in Rawalpindi. She was campaigning in the lead-up to January 8 parliamentary elections, where her party was challenging Musharraf's Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) [party website]. The PML-Q failed to win a majority of seats in the January election, and the PPP is forming a new coalition government with the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) [party website]. AFP has more.

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