ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN, SEPT. 1 -- Pakistan's caretaker government plans to prosecute former prime minister Benazir Bhutto on charges of corruption and abuse of power, officials said today.
Interior Minister Zahid Sarfraz told a news conference that Bhutto will face trial by one-judge special courts on three or four charges. The charges, which will be supported by "solid proof," are "in the process of finalization," Sarfraz said. The investigation, he added, will include a central bank examination of various bank records.
The military-backed interim government, formed by President Ghulam Ishaq Khan and comprising opponents of Bhutto and her Pakistan People's Party (PPP), has set up 11 tribunals. They are empowered to bar politicians from elections and to impose jail terms of up to seven years for "misconduct" convictions.
Bhutto has dismissed the tribunals as "kangaroo courts" and said neither she nor other PPP members will submit to them.
Ishaq Khan fired Bhutto's 20-month-old government Aug. 6 for alleged abuse of power and corruption. He dissolved the National Assembly and set elections for Oct. 24. Bhutto denied the charge and called her dismissal illegal.
A recent presidential decree allowed special trials of non-politicians. Bhutto's husband, a businessman, also has been accused of corruption and would be liable for such a trial. No cases have been brought before the new courts.
Authorities in Bhutto's home province of Sind have arrested many PPP members, including former provincial deputies, on criminal charges.