Benazir asks CJ to take suo moto notice of govt's attack on Jang Group

KARACHI: Leader of the opposition Benazir Bhutto has strongly condemned the government for attacking the Jang Group of newspapers and appealed to the Chief Justice of Pakistan to take sou moto notice of the government's onslaught on the nation's biggest and oldest newspaper.

Speaking at an Eid-milan reception on Tuesday, she said the nation looked to the judiciary for protection, and it was disgraceful that the government of the day was subjecting the newsmen and their organisations to victimisation of the worst nature. "What is happening with the Jang Group is shocking," Benazir said.

She accused the government of organising a clandestine service to kill its opponents and demanded a thorough enquiry into that charge. "It is being commanded by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif himself, who is running a personal network of intelligence agents" she claimed. Benazir said that high profile killings of Murtaza Bhutto, Hakim Said, Justice Nizam and Sajjad Hussain were all of mysterious nature. She called for a high powered commission to probe into these murders, and asked as to why certain police officers had been given out of turn promotions in Karachi.

She said that her brother had been eliminated from the scene under a plan. "The enquiry tribunal, headed by the Supreme Court Judge Nasir Aslam had absolved my husband Asif Zardari from the murder charge of Mir Murtaza, and yet he was kept in the prison," Benazir said. She asked as to why the Intelligence Bureau Chief Major Masood Sharif was tortured in custody to tell lies about Asif Zardari. She said she wanted to know the truth, and the only way to do that was to have a truth and reconciliation commission on the pattern of that set up in South Africa.

Benazir claimed that Murtaza was killed by his own security guards who had been bought by the government to fire at the police party which had carried out a search on him. Murtaza, she disclosed, had not died of bullet wounds, but of cardiac arrest. "He had obviously not been murdered by the police, because if the police had wanted to eliminate him, they would not have taken him to the hospital," she said. Regarding the MQM Chief Altaf Hussain, Benazir said she did not know whether Interpol could be helpful in bringing him back to Pakistan. "But politically it is better for Altaf to remain in England," she said. She asked the prime minister to explain as to why he had pitted the Army against Muttahida Qaumi Movement in Karachi.

"Personally I am opposed to involving the Army in civilian affairs, but if Nawaz Sharif had brought the Army for meter reading, checking power thefts and for managing the military courts in Karachi, it should also be used for catching the loan defaulters and punishing them. The Army should secure the list of all such defaulters from the State Bank of Pakistan to recover the money from them," she said.

The PPP leader said despite the Kashmir dispute, Pakistan and India should normalise their relations. "America and China, in spite of the Taiwan problem, have sound trade relationship. All our efforts should be concentrated on forcing India to settle the Kashmir issue, but in the meantime, relations between the two major Asian nations should be normalised," she said. She said Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan could not co-exist. "Therefore, Nawaz Sharif must go," she said. Benazir said that Pakistan Awami Ittehad would hold a meeting next week to consider ways of dislodging the government.

The News International Pakistan