Lahore: A Pakistani court today suspended two three-year jail terms awarded to Interior Minister Rehman Malik over a decade ago on corruption charges and granted him
bail following reopening of the cases against him in the wake of Supreme Court`s annulment of a controversial graft amnesty.
A two-judge bench of the Lahore High Court headed by Chief Justice Khwaja Muhammad Sharif suspended the operation of the two three-year prison terms that were awarded to Malik in the 1990s in corruption cases.
The sentences will remain suspended till a decision is made on an appeal filed by Malik, the High Court said.
It also granted him bail and directed a two-judge bench in Rawalpindi to begin hearing the cases against Malik from January 11.
The two cases date back to the period when Malik was Additional Director General of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).
In one case, he was accused of accepting two cars for awarding a contract for purchase of vehicles for the FIA.
In the other, he was charged with accepting 20 `tolas` of gold seized by an FIA official during a raid in 1994.
Malik was convicted and sentenced in absentia in both cases as he was not present in Pakistan at that time. His lawyer has said that Malik had then left the country as there
was a threat to his life.
The Interior Minister, who appeared before the High Court bench, told reporters after the hearing that the ruling PPP did not want the polarisation of politics.
"My appearance in court is proof that the judiciary and executive are working in cooperation," he said.
"The PPP leadership has decided that it will respect the judiciary and implement their instructions and judgements in full letter and spirit," Malik said, adding that his party
will not show "disrespect or insult the judges and courts."
He dismissed the corruption charges brought against him following the apex court`s decision to strike down the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), a graft amnesty that benefitted over 8,000 people after it was issued by former President Pervez Musharraf in 2007.
President Asif Ali Zardari is among the beneficiaries of the amnesty.
Meanwhile, an accountability or anti-corruption court in Rawalpindi today accepted the bail petition of Salman Faruqui, Principal Secretary of President Zardari, in a graft case that was reopened following the annulment of NRO.
The court directed Faruqui to deposit a bond of Rs 5 lakh and scheduled the next hearing of the case against him for January 28.
Several of Zardari`s close aides have been affected by the apex court`s verdict.
Interior Minister Malik has been summoned by anti-corruption courts in Rawalpindi and Karachi next month while Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar was barred from
travelling on an official visit to China last week after the reopening of a graft probe against him.