No announcement yet.

Bhutto on a US trip

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Bhutto on a US trip

    Ex-leader of Pakistan visits as part of quest

    Benazir Bhutto, perhaps the best-known Muslim woman in the world, would like to be her nation's ruler once more.

    By Jim Remsen

    Benazir Bhutto, the deposed prime minister of Pakistan, made her first stop ever in Philadelphia yesterday to promote her long-shot crusade to return to power.

    The Western-trained Bhutto served two turbulent terms until she fell in a 1996 coup, and she is perhaps the most famous Muslim woman in the world.

    Her host here was the evangelical Christian group Urban Family Council.

    The lobby group's president, William Devlin, brought Bhutto to town as part of his campaign against persecution of the Christian minority by the current Pakistani military regime.

    Devlin and a roomful of expatriate Pakistani Christians gathered to hear Bhutto at St. Joseph's University. Devlin said religious freedom had prevailed under Bhutto's tenure and would be restored if she managed to come back from self-imposed exile in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

    In a 20-minute speech, Bhutto said her opponents, "the fascists, the fundamentalists, the militants, decided to end the politics of moderation in Pakistan" by eliminating her. She wants to return to power as "a voice for democracy," she said.

    Thwarting Bhutto's return, however, is a conviction that hangs over her for official corruption. In 1999, she was convicted in absentia and given five years in prison and an $8.6 million fine for allegedly accepting kickbacks.

    Her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, also was convicted and is serving a prison sentence in Pakistan. Bhutto and her supporters insist that the charges were trumped up, and they say Zardari has been tortured in custody.

    Devlin has joined the effort to get an independent medical exam of Zardari, and he took that cause yesterday to Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua. At a private breakfast with him and Bhutto, Devlin said, the cardinal was asked to write a letter to the Vatican's Pakistani envoy pressing for the medical inquiry.

    The cardinal, through a spokeswoman, said he was considering the request.

    The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is part of a coalition, the Philadelphia Interfaith Task Force for Freedom, that has focused on religious persecution in Pakistan, China and Sudan.

    Bhutto has gone on international speaking tours to garner support and was in Washington earlier this week talking to State Department officials.

    Her comeback strategy is not clear. The conviction would have to be vacated - unlikely under the present regime - and her Pakistani People's Party would need an infusion of new blood and power.

    Since she left her assets behind in Pakistan, she has lived largely off speaking fees. Devlin said she waived the fee yesterday, and Bhutto did no fund-raising for her party or a campaign war chest.

    One party loyalist, Bhatti Anjum, said he supported Bhutto because "she gave more rights to minorities." He recalled how she had tried to repeal the country's Prophet Blasphemy Law and obtained the celebrated release of a Christian who had been jailed under that Islamic-rule law.

    "She's not a fanatic," Anjum said. "She's a liberal Muslim."

    Waste of time for the US and Bhutto.

    You can't fix stupid. So might as well troll them!



      "She's not a fanatic," Anjum said. "She's a liberal Muslim."


      Yep liberal enough to digest liberally the poor masses wealth and not even take a "Dikar".Hell is not yet hot enough for these coprrupt politicians.