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Supreme Court grants Bhutto chance to defend self.

ISLAMABAD, March 18 Kyodo Pakistan's Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Lahore High Court to give an opportunity to former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto to defend herself in a corruption case against her and her husband Senator Asif Zardari. A three-member bench of the Supreme Court issued the directive on an appeal by Bhutto in which she accused Justice Malik Qayyum, the judge of a two-member accountability bench of the Lahore High Court hearing the case against her of being biased and under government influence. Bhutto is being prosecuted on charges of receiving commission in a contract awarded to two Swiss firms and Wednesday had moved an application that her case be shifted to a new bench since she had lost confidence in the judge. Bhutto said she does not expect justice from the bench, claiming Qayyum is biased against her and noting he is the son of the judge who gave the death penalty to her father, former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, in a political murder case 20 years ago. Rejecting a list of witnesses submitted by Bhutto, Qayyum had told her Wednesday that he would announce the judgment on Monday. The Supreme Court directed the Lahore High Court to give full opportunity to Bhutto to defend herself and to hear the defense witnesses before concluding the case.
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Publication:Asian Political News
Date:Mar 22, 1999
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