Pakistan AG resigns amid corruption investigation controversy

Pakistan AG resigns amid corruption investigation controversy

[JURIST] Pakistan's Attorney General Anwar Mansoor announced his resignation Friday over controversy surrounding a Supreme Court [official website] order to investigate corruption allegations [JURIST report] against President Asif Ali Zardari [official website]. Mansoor cited a lack of cooperation [PTI report] from Law Minister Babar Awan as a key factor in his decision, claiming the government was impeding him from following the Supreme Court's orders. Mansoor alleges that the Law Ministry refused to turn over documents [AP report] related to the investigation. Earlier this week, the Supreme Court threatened to imprison [JURIST report] the head of Pakistan's corruption agency for failing to meet a 24-hour deadline to reopen several corruption cases, including cases against Zardari. In response, police detained [Reuters report] Director General of the Federal Investigation Agency [official website] Ahmed Riaz Sheikh, who was convicted of corruption eight years ago.

Mansoor's announcement comes the same day that Pakistani lawmakers began weighing a constitutional bill that would greatly limit Zardari's powers, reversing the expansion of presidential powers under former military leader Pervez Musharraf [BBC profile, JURIST news archive]. Earlier this week, Swiss authorities denied a request [JURIST report] from Pakistan's National Accountability Bureau [official website], refusing to reopen a corruption investigation against Zadari. Aides to Zardari believe that presidential immunity protects him from prosecution, even after the Supreme Court overturned an amnesty law [JURIST report] implemented by Musharraf. The amnesty was signed [JURIST report] by Musharraf as part of a power-sharing accord allowing former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto [BBC profile] to return to the country despite corruption charges [JURIST report] she had faced.