‘Benazir to contest Swiss judge’s findings’
By Khalid Hasan
WASHINGTON: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairperson Benazir Bhutto has decided to contest the findings of a Swiss court official to held her and her husband guilty of depriving the Pakistani government of millions of dollars through kickbacks in a contract awarded to a foreign company, PPP Senator Akbar Khawaja said.
In a statement issued from here, he said, “The government is jumping up and down with joy at the findings of a Swiss investigating judge accusing the former prime minister of corruption. There has been no legal trial, no production of defence witnesses, and no cross-examination of the accused or their defence lawyers. Using two legal systems, Ms Bhutto’s political rivals, including some National Accountability Bureau (NAB) officials, have persuaded certain individuals to make perjured statements to undermine her leadership. Ms Bhutto’s defence counsel plans to contest the case in Geneva.”
He attributed the findings of the Swiss official to the “extra-constitutional government” now in power in Pakistan, which, he added, was made up of anti-Bhutto elements and was using all its power to discredit the PPP politically. But the regime had failed to build popular support and PPP still commanded the confidence of the majority of the people of Pakistan, he stressed.
Sen Khawaja said, “Government-controlled media has launched a campaign to defame the Bhutto family.
The PPP legislator, a former World Bank official, said there had been a number of scandals against politicians belonging to various parties, but there had been a lack of transparency and no serious attempt to look into the bank accounts and lavish lifestyles of the families of army generals or eliminating corruption when it came to Pakistan’s ruling circles.
He called for an end to Ms Bhutto and her jailed husband’s “witch hunt” and challenged the Musharraf regime to instead direct its investigating zeal towards its friends, cohorts and allies many of whom were viewed by the people as a “byword for corruption”.