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Pakistan pulls Bhutto arrest order

  • Story Highlights
  • Pakistani high court instructs removal of arrest warrants request to Interpol
  • Last year Pakistani government requested warrants on corruption allegations
  • Exiled former Prime Minister says accusations were politically motivated
  • Speculation that Bhutto could forge power-sharing deal with President Musharraf
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KARACHI, Pakistan (Reuters) -- A Pakistani high court ordered authorities to withdraw a request to Interpol to issue arrest warrants for exiled former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, her lawyer said.

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Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto

The court order came as speculation in Pakistan mounted that Bhutto could forge a power-sharing deal with President Pervez Musharraf, the army chief who has been besieged in recent weeks by militant violence and political setbacks.

Last year, the government had asked Interpol to issue arrest warrants for Bhutto after the government filed a complaint with a lower court that she had misreported her assets to election authorities in 1996.

Farooq Naik, Bhutto's lawyer, said he had petitioned the High Court in Karachi that the government's request for arrest warrants be declared unlawful because the lower court had already thrown out the government's complaint.

"The high court allowed my petition and passed the orders accordingly," Naik told Reuters. In January, Interpol said it had issued "red notices" for Bhutto and her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, after receiving a request from the Pakistani government.

Interpol at the time said the notifications were not international arrest warrants for the couple but only confirmation that "bona fide" warrants existed. Bhutto, who has been living in exile for a decade, and Zardari face a raft of corruption charges.

Bhutto has said the accusations were politically motivated and has vowed to return home before elections due later this year or in early 2008.

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Musharraf, who is passing through the most weakest phase of his eight-year rule after the Supreme Court reinstated country's chief justice he had tried to sack four months ago, met secretly with Bhutto this month in Abu Dhabi.

Bhutto has said she could work with Musharraf but insisted that he should resign from the military. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

Copyright 2007 Reuters. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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