Thu Jan 3rd, 2008 at 06:45:40 AM EST
It is truly tragic that the first female Muslim Prime Minister has been killed, but we shouldn't look at her legacy with rose-tinted glasses. If Bhutto could be considered a democrat, she was a corrupt one.
Diary rescue by Migeru
While Benazir Bhutto led Pakistan, she and her husband illegaly lined their pockets:
In 1995, a leading French military contractor, Dassault Aviation, agreed to pay Zardari [Bhutto's husband] and a Pakistani partner a $200 million commission for a $4 billion jet fighter deal that fell apart only when Bhutto's government was dismissed. In another deal, a leading Swiss company hired to curb customs fraud in Pakistan paid millions of dollars between 1994 and 1996 to offshore companies controlled by Zardari and Bhutto's widowed mother, Nusrat Bhutto.
In the largest single payment investigators have discovered, a gold bullion dealer in the Middle East was shown to have deposited at least $10 million into one of Zardari's accounts after the Bhutto government gave him a monopoly on gold imports that sustained Pakistan's jewelry industry. The money was deposited into a Citibank account in the United Arab Emirates sheikdom of Dubai, one of several Citibank accounts used by Zardari.
A worldwide search for properties secretly bought by the Bhutto family is still in its early stages. But the inquiry has so far found that Zardari went on a shopping spree in the mid-1990s, purchasing among other things a $4 million, 355-acre estate south of London. Over eight months in 1994 and 1995, he used a Swiss bank account and an American Express card to buy jewelry worth $660,000 -- including $246,000 at Cartier Inc. and Bulgari Corp. in Beverly Hills, Calif., in barely a month.
In America we've grown increasingly accustomed to high-level corruption as of late, but the Bhutto's corruption was of an entirely different degree:
The Swiss Government has handed over documents to the government of Pakistan which relate to corruption allegations against Pakistan's opposition leader, Benazir Bhutto and her husband, Asif Zardari.
The documents, which have been examined by the BBC, include a formal charge of money laundering and an indictment by the Swiss authorities against Mr Zardari.
A Swiss magistrate says he has evidence that Asif Zardari received commissions from two Geneva-based companies which had contracts with Pakistan's Government.
Mr Zadari is also charged with trying to launder the money - an offence under Swiss law.
The documents also allege that money appeared to be accessible to Benazir Bhutto and that in August 1997 she used some of it to purchase a diamond necklace for over $175,000.
Arianna Huffington recently recounted a conversation she had with Bhutto in which Bhutto boasted about her love for her husband:
[She told me] how much she loved her husband. She was trying to convince me that even though it was a marriage arranged by her mother, she had fallen in love with him, as if she had spotted him herself across a crowded room.
Perhaps the hundreds of thousands of dollars in jewelery purchases, or the swank property transfers helped to kindle this affection?
When a former leader of any country is assassinated, it is tragic, but we need to keep things in perspective. Benazir Bhutto was corrupt as they come, which is not good for Democracy. She did little to strengthen democracy in Pakistan with her graft and likely contributed to its current weakness. And had Bhutto been successful in her quest to lead Pakistan again, she would have once again brought her corrupt style of leadership, putting her own interests above those of the Pakistani people.