French judge probes 2002 bomb blast in Pakistan
PARIS: A French judge probing a Pakistan bomb attack that killed 11 French engineers has asked Britain and Switzerland to provide whatever information they have on allegations of embezzlement by Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, legal sources said yesterday.
Judge Marc Trevidic made the request to help him advance his probe into claims the 11 were killed in May 2002 by Pakistani agents taking revenge after a new French government cancelled illegal commissions on an arms deal.
Last month families of victims filed suit in Paris against supporters of former French presidential candidate Edouard Balladur, who was prime minister at the time, alleging they benefited from the deal.
In 1995, newly elected president Jacques Chirac cancelled the pay-offs, which he believed had funded his rival’s campaign, angering Pakistani offi- cers awaiting their share of the graft, according to a report commissioned by France’s state naval construction firm and leaked in June.
The families believe they were deceived by the French state and top French and Pakistani political leaders, and that their loved ones were exposed and killed as a result of a sordid political funding scandal.
In all, 14 people were killed on May 8, 2002, when a suicide bomber attacked a bus carrying French engineers from their Karachi hotel to where they were working on the submarines sold to Pakistan in the suspect deal.– Sapa-AFP