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Ousted Pakistan PM accused of graft - report

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    Ousted Pakistan PM accused of graft - report

    ISLAMABAD, Oct 20 - Pakistani police, carrying out a cleanup of high-level corruption for the country's new army rulers, have accused ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of graft worth $100 million, newspapers reported on Wednesday.

    "According to official sources, Nawaz has been charged with money laundering to the tune of $40 million, tax evasion of over $60 million, forgery of $10 million and misuse of public funds and his office for personal benefit," the nationwide English-language daily, The Nation, said.

    It said the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had submitted a report to the army rulers who ousted Sharif on October 12 as part of a vast crackdown on top-level corruption for which Pakistan has become notorious.

    The FIA declined to comment.

    Sharif has been held in protective custody since the bloodless takeover brought the army back into power pledging to clean up the country's institutions and return "real democracy" after interim rule by civilian/military bodies.

    The military has so far resisted Western pressure to lay out a timetable for return to civilian rule or for when it would name a cabinet, saying it did not want to be rushed into the decisions.

    British and Turkish newspapers have quoted new military ruler Pervez Musharraf as saying a cabinet would be named in three or four days.

    The United States and the European Union have called for a quick return to democracy, threatening strong action otherwise, including the possible blocking of loans from the International Monetary Fund.


    Diplomats said there was widespread popular support for Musharraf's clean-up campaign tinged with scepticism that a legal system which has signally failed to make the elite accountable so far might finally prove effective.

    Every government since 1985 has taken power pledging to clean up graft and to get the rich and powerful to pay tax in a nation of 135 million where less than two percent of people pay any income tax at all.

    The Urdu-language Jang daily, the country's largest circulation newspaper, wrote in its editorial: "The people want that the accountability of the corrupt should be meaningful and impartial".

    Pakistani newspapers again carried large advertisements from banks urging the nation's elite to meet a November 16 army deadline for repayment of bad debt worth more than 200 billion rupees ($4 billion).

    "Pay your loans before the hand of the law forces you to do so with a penalty. Settle your debt before time runs out," said one quarter-page insertion by the state-run Habib bank.

    Allegations of corruption by Sharif are not new, but during his rule the government brushed them aside as lies fabricated by opposition leader Benazir Bhutto and focused its own graft probe on her financial dealings.


    Bhutto was convicted this year, with husband Asif Zardari, of massive graft but repeated her denials in a BBC interview and said she would be cleared by any independent probe.

    But she still faces re-arrest on return from exile in London, where she was on a visit when she was convicted for taking kickbacks from a Swiss-based company employed to counter tax evasion.

    Bhutto has said she was trying to contact the military, but there has been no public response from the military who put her name on a list of politicians whose bank accounts were frozen.

    Charges made against Sharif include non-payment of tax on several luxury flats in London's exclusive Mayfair area, defaulting on massive loans made to the family's Ittefaq business group and profiting from sugar sales to arch-rival India.

    Various members of Sharif's cabinet, including his anti-corruption officer, Senator Saifur Rehman, face allegations that they used their power to avoid import taxes and to get huge government contracts at bloated rates.

    Irshad Ahmed Haqqani, former information minister in the caretaker government set up in December 1996 after the ouster of Benazir Bhutto, and also a well-known columnist, wrote in Jang newspaper:

    "The accountability of corrupt should be quick, ruthless but transparent... A slow, ineffective, accountability setup would not meet people's expectations nor fulfill national needs."

    seems as if you have all the time in the world , how lond did it take you to write all this .


      It didn't take long as I didn't type it. It was a copy and paste job. All of 10 seconds.