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Pakistan OKs Bhutto Arrest Warrant

May 12, 2001

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) _ An anti-corruption court issued an arrest warrant for former prime minister Benazir Bhutto after she failed to appear in court, newspapers reported Saturday.

Bhutto, who is living in self-imposed exile mostly in the United Arab Emirates or Britain, will be arrested when she returns home, the English-language daily newspaper The Dawn reported.

Anti-Corruption judge Rustam Ali Malik issued the arrest warrant Friday, after Bhutto failed to appear despite several notices.

Bhutto is accused of massive corruption while in power to amass properties and bank accounts overseas.

Last month the Supreme Court declared an earlier trial, conviction and jail sentence against Bhutto invalid and ordered a new trial.

Bhutto’s supporters expect her to return to Pakistan in August.

Bhutto accuses her arch rival, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, of fabricating the charges.

Sharif was thrown out of power in October 1999 in a bloodless military coup, but was later allowed him to go into exile in Saudi Arabia.

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