French judge probes 2002 bomb blast in Pak­istan

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - WORLD -

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

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