The 180-member international police organization Interpol issued two significant arrest warrants this week.
Acting on Pakistan’s request, Interpol has issued an arrest warrant, the so-called ‘red notice’, for Benazir Bhutto and her ex-husband Asif Ali Zardari on corruption charges. Ms. Bhutto termed these charges politically motivated, and part of a decade-long ‘state-sponsored persecution’.
The red notices are not binding, and up to member nations to enforce. Ms. Bhutto expressed her willingness to return to Pakistan, if needed, but warned that Western Governments were molly-coddling the military dictatorship of General Musharraf. She claimed these moves were intended to distract from the recent airstrikes in Pakistan by the United States.
She excoriated the government for allowing the army and religious extremists to rise to power unchecked.
“The choice to sustain dictatorship in Pakistan has consequences, both in the long term and in the short term, that threaten the interests of the West, as well as the values of democracy in the East,” she said.
“A military dictatorship in Pakistan, Washington’s key ally, sends the wrong message to more than 1 billion Muslims across the world,” she said.
In even more significant news, Interpol also issued a Red Notice for Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, following a request from Algeria in connection with the kidnapping and murder of two Algerian diplomats in Iraq in July 2005. This is the first formal Red Notice issued against Al Zarqawi.
Al Zarqawi has apparently been facing a leadership challenge, with disobedience in the ranks, after his Tawhid-e-Jihad group killed some local tribal and religious leaders. He reportedly stepped aside as leader of a new council of radical groups in Iraq. Abdullah Rashid al-Baghdadi has reportedly taken over from al-Zarqawi as “emir” of the new Mujahedeen Shura