A Pakistani cabinet minister visiting London has defended the hanging earlier on Wednesday (4 April) of the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr.
SV Kurshid Ahmed, Pakistani Minister of Planning, with interviewer John Darby, CU Ahmed speaking.
CU Interviewer asking question.
CU Ahmed speaking.
CU Ahmed speaking.
CU Darby asking question.
CU Ahmed speaking.
AHMED: "Any politician, and in a way this is a warning to all people in politics, they must not overstep their limits. We are all sad, but this shows that there is a law of retribution, and if innocent people are killed mercilessly by people in high power, there is a law which we take out."
DARBY: "Nonetheless, judging from this morning's reports coming form your country, it seems that the execution was carried out in a rather furtive fashion."
AHMED: "It's not like that. This is the normal procedure. In fact the western media is rather trying to play things up too much. They must realise that it is not a political case. Here is a person who committed a criminal offence. He has been judged as responsible for the crime through the judicial process -- the highest courts of law -- and he has been hanged for a sordid crime which he has committed on innocent people under his orders."
DARBY: "Why did General Zia not take note of international pleas, including pleas from Third World countries, for the execution not to take place?"
AHMED: "I think the answer is very simple. General Zia (Head of State General Zia ul-Haq) wanted to show that law is one and all are equal before law. Poor and rich, high or low, politically weak, and if he had commuted the sentence of Mr. Bhutto, it would have meant that politicians have a licence to do whatever they want, to act despotically and to mercilessly dispel horror, crimes against the people."
DARBY: "There has been a suggestion that there will now be a fairly violent reaction in Pakistan to Mr. Bhutto's execution."
AHMED: "I have been listening to that for the last twenty months, and I have not been able to find out where the supporters of Mr. Bhutto are supposed to be hiding. This is something which is represented as a type of wishful thinking of the West. They regard that Mr. Bhutto is the most popular person in Pakistan This is patently wrong. The people have suffered under the hands of Mr. Bhutto. He is not responsible merely for this one murder for which he has been taken to task. He had ordered twenty-three other political murders. Under the regime, over four hundreds persons died on the streets. During his regime, over a hundred thousand persons were arrested without trial. During that, people and women were raped, children were killed, youths were killed, students were violated. His own party men used to suffer at his hands if they were prepared to dissent from him. This was a reign of terror and oppression, and people feel relieved, not antagonised, as the West is trying to project."
DARBY: "What will now happen to Mrs. Bhutto and her daughter?"
AHMED: "Well we have all sympathy for them, and we hope they will behave within the limits of law. And, if that is so, they will be treated as equal citizens of the country."
REPORTER: JOHN DARBY
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: A Pakistani cabinet minister visiting London has defended the hanging earlier on Wednesday (4 April) of the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. The Minister of Economic Planning, Professor Kurshid Ahmed, accused the western media of making the execution out to be a political killing. He said everyone had to be equal under the law, and that meant that politicians could not have a licence to kill. He spoke to Visnews reporter John Darby.