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"Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong; they are the ones to attain felicity".
(surah Al-Imran,ayat-104)
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Full Name: Noman Zafar
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Foreign cases that could haunt Bhutto

By Richard Lawson
BBC News, London

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto is preparing for general elections shortly after returning to the country after years of self-imposed exile. She came back after President Pervez Musharraf granted her a controversial amnesty from the charges in Pakistan. Ms Bhutto faces more charges in Switzerland


The Supreme Court may yet rule that amnesty illegal. But even if it clears it, Ms Bhutto, who has been in talks about a power-sharing deal with President Musharraf, could still face several cases outside of Pakistan. One of the most advanced is in Switzerland, where in 2003 Geneva magistrate Daniel Devaud convicted Ms Bhutto of money-laundering. In his judgment, he found she and her close associates received around $15m in kickbacks from Pakistani government contracts with SGS and Cotecna, two Swiss companies. Mr Devaud sentenced Ms Bhutto and her husband Asif Zardari to 180 days in prison, ordering them to return $11.9m to the government of Pakistan.

"I certainly don't have any doubts about the judgments I handed down [which] came after an investigation lasting several years, involving thousands of documents," he has told the BBC. Ms Bhutto contested the decision, which was made in her absence, and the case is being reheard, with the former prime minister now facing the more serious charge of aggravated money-laundering.

Not automatic

Asked about the case, her officials told the BBC: "These allegations are part and parcel of a campaign of a character assassination. Ms Bhutto has not done anything illegal. She and her husband, Senator Asif Zardari, both have defended themselves in every court in every country." Rockwood mansion - after eight years, Mr Zardari said he owned it


Many in Pakistan assume the Swiss case will now collapse because of the deal struck between Ms Bhutto and President Musharraf. Yet under Swiss law, even if the government of Pakistan stops co-operating, that would not automatically end legal proceedings in Switzerland. Vincent Fournier, the Swiss judge in charge of the current case, told the BBC he planned to hand the case over to Geneva's attorney-general this week. A second international case involving Ms Bhutto is under way in England.

In this case, the government of Pakistan alleged that Ms Bhutto and her husband bought Rockwood, a $3.4m country estate in Surrey, using money from kickbacks. Ms Bhutto and Mr Zardari denied owning the estate for eight years. But in 2004, Mr Zardari suddenly admitted that it was his. Then, in 2006, an English judge, Lord Justice Collins, came to an interesting, though by no means final, conclusion about the  estate. Saddam Hussein's government received illegal funds from Petroline FZC, documents say


Whilst stressing he was not making any "findings of fact", Justice Collins said there was a "reasonable prospect" of the government of Pakistan establishing, in possible future court proceedings, that Ms Bhutto and/or her husband bought and refurbished Rockwood with "the fruits of corruption". Asked by the BBC about Rockwood, Ms Bhutto's officials denied any allegations of corruption, but gave no detailed response, although her husband's lawyers told Justice Collins that Pakistan's case was speculative. The London case is a civil one. That means it could collapse should President Musharraf's government decide not to pursue it.

Iraq questions
Ms Bhutto also faces allegations concerning the United Nations oil-for-food scandal. Mr Zardari and Ms Bhutto - objects of 'character assassination'


In 2005, the Independent Inquiry Commission led by former US Federal Reserve head Paul Volcker found that more than 2,000 companies breached UN sanctions by making illegal payments to Saddam Hussein's government in Iraq before 2003. Among them was a company called Petroline FZC, based in the United Arab Emirates. Mr Volcker's inquiry found it traded $144m of Iraqi oil, and made $2m of illegal payments to Saddam Hussein's regime. Documents from Pakistan's National Accountability Bureau appear to show that Ms Bhutto was Petroline FZC's chairwoman. If these documents are genuine, and the oil-for-food allegations are proven, this would be especially damaging for the former prime minister. The Spanish authorities are investigating financial transactions thought to be linked to Petroline FZC.

In addition, President Musharraf's amnesty dropping corruption charges against public officials only covers the period 1986-1999. The Petroline FZC transactions came after that, which means that in theory a charge is possible. Ms Bhutto has always denied all corruption allegations, and her supporters say the allegations against her are politically motivated. But her legal difficulties may not be over yet. You can hear more about this report on Benazir Bhutto: The investigation on the BBC World Service.
 Reply:   Return of Benazir Bhutto The K
Replied by(Faisal_Azeem) Replied on (31/Oct/2007)
She's back. Hurrah! She's a woman. She's brave. She's a moderate. She speaks good English. She's Oxford-educated, no less. And she's not bad looking either
Return of Benazir Bhutto
The Kleptocrat in an Hermes Headscarf

By JEMIMA KHAN

She's back. Hurrah! She's a woman. She's brave. She's a moderate. She speaks good English. She's Oxford-educated, no less. And she's not bad looking either.

I admit I'm biased. I don't like Benazir Bhutto. She called me names during her election campaign in 1996 and it left a bitter taste. Petty personal grievances aside, I still find jubilant reports of her return to Pakistan depressing. Let's be clear about this before she's turned into a martyr.

This is no Aung San Suu Kyi, despite her repeated insistence that he's "fighting for democracy", or even more incredibly, "fighting for Pakistan's poor".

This is the woman who was twice dismissed on corruption charges. She went into self-imposed exile while investigations continued into millions she had allegedly stashed away into Swiss bank accounts ($1.5 billion by the reckoning of Musharraf's own "National Accountability Bureau").

She has only been able to return because Musharraf, that megalomaniac, knows that his future depends on the grassroots diehard supporters inherited from her father's party, the PPP.

As a result, Musharraf, who in his first months in power declared it his express intention to wipe out corruption, has dropped all charges against her and granted her immunity from prosecution. Forever.

Notably, he did not do the same for his other political rival, Nawaz Sharif, who was recently deported after attempting his own spectacular return to Pakistan.

But the difference is that Benazir is a pro at playing to the West. And that's what counts. She talks about women and extremism and the West applauds. And then conspires.

The Americans and the British are acutely aware that their strategy in the region is failing and that Musharraf's hold on power is ever more tenuous. They have pressed hard for Benazir and the General to cut a  deal that would allow them to share power for the next five years in a
"liberal forces government".

It's all totally bogus. Benazir may speak the language of liberalism and look good on Larry King's sofa, but both her terms in office were marked by incompetence, extra-judicial killings and brazen looting of the treasury, with the help of her husband--famously known in Pakistan
as Mr 10 Per Cent.

In a country that tops the international corruption league, she was its most self-enriching leader.

Benazir has always cynically used her gender to manipulate: I loved her answer to David Frost when he asked her how many millions she had in her Swiss bank accounts. "David, I think that's a very sexist question."

A non sequitur (does loot have a gender?) but one that brought the uncomfortable line of questioning to a swift end.

Of all Pakistan's elected leaders she conspicuously did the least to help the cause of women. She never, for example, repealed the Hudood Ordinances, Pakistan's controversial laws that made no distinction between rape and adultery.

She preferred instead to kowtow to the mullahs in order to cling to power, forming an expedient alliance with Pakistan's Religious Coalition Party and leaving Pakistan's women as powerless as she found them.

The problem is that the West never seems to learn; playing favourites in a complicated nation's politics always backfires. Imposing Benazir on Pakistan is the opposite of democratic and doubtless will cause more chaos in an already unstable country.

Make no mistake, Benazir may look the part, but she's as ruthless and conniving as they come--a kleptocrat in a Hermes headscarf.

Jemima Khan is an ambassador to Unicef.

http://www.counterp unch.org/ khan10222007. html
 
Faisal Azeem

(647) 241-7401
www.shabnamromani.com
www.shabnamromani.com/faisal.html

telegraph.co. uk have removed this article shortly after they published it.


 
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