Musharraf Pushes Swiss to Prosecute Foe

Alleges Bhutto widower stashed $55M in Swiss bank account
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2008 10:37 AM CST
Supporters of Pakistan's slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto's party, celebrate their electoral success in Lahore, Pakistan, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2008. Pakistan's president will not step down as head...   (Associated Press)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – As the battle to control Pakistan heats up, President Pervez Musharraf's lawyers have asked the Swiss government to prosecute Asif Ali Zardari over decade-old corruption charges. Zardari, the widower of Benazir Bhutto and leader of the victorious Pakistan People's Party, is charged with hiding $55 million in kickbacks in a Swiss bank account. Bhutto herself faced similar charges in Switzerland before her assassination.

Swiss judges delayed a decision, and Zardari's lawyer insisted that the charges were "all political." Zardari and Nawaz Sharif, whose parties won a commanding majority in Monday's parliamentary elections, are to begin negotiations today to form a coalition government. Analysts see the Musharraf team's pressure on the corruption charges as tactical: if he can't fracture the opposition, he might see himself impeached. (Read more Asif Ali Zardari stories.)