Court ruling threatens to destabilise Pakistan's government

Ministers face investigation in re-opened corruption case

Pakistan's president, Asif Ali Zardari, is facing calls for his resignation after a recent ruling by the country's Supreme Court.

Yesterday, the court ruled the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), an amnesty law introduced by previous president Pervez Musharraf, was "unconstitutional" and called for the reopening and investigation of more than 8,000 corruption cases. Among those facing potential criminal or graft charges are the interior minister Rehman Malik and defence minister Ahmed Mukhtar.

While Zardari is protected by presidential immunity, the reopening of investigations against senior government allies marks a further deterioration of his grip on power. Despite opposition calls for Zardari to resign on "moral grounds", Zardari's spokesman said the president's ruling Pakistan People's Party (PPP) respected the decision but there was no question of the president resigning.

Imran Khan, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Islamabad, said: "In the midst of a massive crisis that Pakistan faces; a war within its own borders, suicide bombings on a deadly basis, we're now seeing a new political crisis."

This new political crisis is likely to further complicate domestic instability within the country and international efforts in Afghanistan.