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Corruption charges pile up in Pakistan

Dec. 21, 2009 at 3:50 PM

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- A second Pakistani court called on Interior Minister Rehman Malik to answer questions over corruption following a scuttled amnesty law, lawyers said.

Amjad Iqbal, a lawyer for the interior minister, held a news conference in Rawalpindi, saying his client is not afraid to face the charges, Pakistan's Dawn newspaper reports.

"The accountability court has summoned my client to appear on Jan. 2. Mr. Malik will appear in court," he said. "We are not afraid of appearing in the courts."

A Pakistani high court last week overturned the National Reconciliation Ordinance that placed a moratorium on corruption investigations into several high-ranking figures.

The U.S.-backed measure was part of a 2007 deal with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf that paved the way for former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto to return to politics following a self-imposed exile.

Prosecutors last week charged Malik with abuse of power and kickbacks from Toyota Motors in connection with a government contract.

Iqbal, Malik's defense attorney, said his client would be exonerated in the courts.

"He is doing his work with courage and bravery," he said. "We are sure that we will get justice from the courts."

Government officials, including Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, are facing mounting pressure to step down as the corruption charges pile up.

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