Washington, Oct. 15 (PTI): In an interview with CNN last night, Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto will have to face the law of the land when she returns on Thursday.
“She (Bhutto) is free to come and, you know, the laws of the land will apply to her, like any other citizen of Pakistan,” Aziz said.
Bhutto, 54, fled from Pakistan in 1998 fearing arrest on graft charges.
President Musharraf promulgated an ordinance earlier this month which granted amnesty to the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader under a power-sharing deal paving the way for her return. However, the ordinance has been challenged at the supreme court and faces a hearing.
“Under certain laws, we have given immunity to all, not just her — everybody who was involved in such corruption cases during that period.... The people of Pakistan have gone to the supreme court against this law, and now the supreme court is looking at whether this law in fact meets the requirements of the constitution,” Aziz said.
The people have “had a strong reaction to removal of corruption cases against Bhutto,” he added.
Aziz denied that the government was using different yardsticks for Bhutto and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who was overthrown by Musharraf in a bloodless coup in 1999. Sharif was deported to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, after he returned from exile on September 10.