Pakistani Anti-Graft Court Issues Warrant for Arresting Bhutto
A Pakistani court has issued a warrant for the arrest of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto for failing to appear before it to answer corruption charges, court officials said Saturday.
The court, sitting in Rawalpindi, issued the arrest warrant on Friday against the former prime minister, who ruled from 1988 to 1990 and then again from 1993 to November 1996.
The court ordered that Bhutto, currently living in self-exile abroad, be arrested and brought before it on November 10.
A similar warrant against her in the past could not be implemented.
The former prime minister has been charged with misusing powers to acquire illegal wealth and owning undeclared assets worth around 1.5 billion dollars in foreign countries, the officials said.
Bhutto and her jailed spouse, Asif Ali Zardari, were sentenced to five years in another graft case in April last year for receiving kickbacks from a Swiss firm on a pre-shipment cargo inspection contract.
The couple attributed the charges to victimization by arch political rival and then prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who was ousted in a military coup in October last year.
Zardari, who also faces other criminal charges, has been in jail since 1996 while Bhutto left Pakistan before the verdict in the kickbacks case and has been living aboard, mostly in London.
Appeals lodged by the couple are pending at the country's Supreme Court.
The two former prime ministers, who top the list of people accused of corruption, blamed the junta for persecuting political leaders to pave the way for the continuation of dictatorial rule in the country – ISLAMABAD (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)