Pakistan Seeks Arrest of Former Prime Minister Bhutto
26 January 2006
Following a request from the Pakistani Government the international crime fighting organization, Interpol, has issued so-called red notices seeking the arrest of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and her husband, Asif Ali Zardari.
Interpol officials say the notices are meant to assist Pakistani authorities in their hunt for the former prime minister and her husband.
Pakistan's Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao confirmed the so-called red notices during an official statement Thursday.
He says the government submitted an official request to Interpol earlier this month for the international notices.
An Interpol spokeswoman says the red notices are not considered international arrest warrants and each of Interpol's 184 member countries are free to respond as they see fit.
Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has been living in self-imposed exile since 1999 to avoid prosecution in several high-profile corruption cases.
She was prime minister twice in the late 1980s and early 1990s but both times her governments were dismissed on charges of misrule and corruption.
Her husband faces similar charges and spent eight years in jail until Pakistan's supreme court ordered his release on bail in 2004.
In November, anti-corruption judges declared both Bhutto and her husband fugitives after they failed to appear in court.
They head Pakistan's leading opposition group, the Pakistan People's Party, and they say the cases against them are politically motivated.
"Whatever the government of Pakistan has may have stated in its letter to Interpol must be a perversion of justice [and] must be a manipulation of the legal and judicial process in Pakistan," said Farhatullah Babar, a spokesman for Bhutto's party.
Benazir Bhutto and her husband are currently touring the United States. She is scheduled to hold a news conference at the Voice of America headquarters in Washington later Thursday to discuss the war on terrorism and the future of democracy in Pakistan.
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