Benazir Bhutto ready to face graft charges
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Benazir Bhutto ready to face graft charges

Bhutto told the Voice of America the raft of charges of corruption and misrule lodged against her were "scurrilous, baseless and politically motivated."

india Updated: Jan 28, 2006 03:40 IST

Pakistan's exiled former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, has told a US government radio network she is ready to return face what she said are "scurrilous" charges against her by her country's military-led government.

Bhutto told the Voice of America the raft of charges of corruption and misrule lodged against her and her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, by Islamabad were "scurrilous, baseless, malicious, and politically motivated."

She added, however, that "if any court wants me in Pakistan, I am prepared to catch the next plane and go to Pakistan."

Bhutto was asked by reporters on Thursday at VOA to respond to statements from Interpol that it had issued notices confirming that bona fide warrants exist for the arrest of the couple, who live in self-imposed exile.

Interpol said the notifications were issued following a request from the Pakistani authorities.

VOA quoted Bhutto as saying her lawyer had written to Pakistan's Ministry of the Interior and to Interpol seeking to confirm if the notifications known as "red notices" had been issued and on what grounds.

A spokesman at Pakistan's embassy in Washington declined to comment on the case, referring all questions to the Ministry of the Interior in Islamabad. The U.S. State Department said it had no comment on the legal case.

The United States and Pakistan have signed a bilateral extradition treaty.

Bhutto, who served twice as Pakistani prime minister, has been living in self-imposed exile in Dubai and Britain for the past six years. She has accompanied Zardari to the United States, where he is undergoing medical treatment.

Bhutto and Zardari, who served as investment minister in his wife's Cabinet, also face charges of corruption in Switzerland related to accusations from the 1990s that two accepted commissions for awarding contracts to two Swiss firms to do business in Pakistan.

First Published: Jan 28, 2006 03:40 IST