Pakistani court upholds Bhutto's dismissal
Elections to go on as planned
January 29, 1997
Web posted at: 10:25 a.m. EST (1525 GMT)
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- Pakistan's Supreme Court has
cleared the way for new national elections, ruling Wednesday
that President Farooq Leghari was legally justified when he
dismissed Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto on November 5.
"There is enough material to establish corruption, nepotism
and misrule," said Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah at the close
of the hearing that began January 13 on Bhutto's petition to
have her dismissal reversed.
Six of the seven judges ruled that Leghari's attorneys had
shown ample evidence of violating the
constitution, ridiculing and harassing judges, and tapping
the phones of judges, civil servants and political opponents.
Bhutto has denied the charges, and accused Leghari of
dismissing her government to consolidate his own power.
Bhutto called the ruling "unfair," but said she was not
"I didn't expect any justice," she said.
Witnesses said police and Bhutto supporters clashed outside
the court immediately following the verdict, but there was no
word on arrests or injuries. Hundreds of riot police
surrounded the courthouse, preventing them from storming the
Bhutto's petition to have her dismissal reversed was aimed at
restoring her to power and blocking the February 3 elections.
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League
party leads Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party in opinion polls
by about 40 percent to 20 percent.
Ironically, Sharif's government was dismissed in 1993 for
corruption. Bhutto was first elected prime minister in 1988,
and dismissed 20 months later on corruption charges. She was
re-elected after Sharif's dismissal.
New Delhi Bureau Chief Anita Pratap and Reuters contributed to this report.
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