Pakistan's Ruler Wants 100 Anti-Corruption Courts

Pakistani military ruler Gen. Pervez Musharraf said this week that his government would establish 100 courts across the country to try cases of corruption and loan defaulting. A list of 5,000 names has been sent to airports to prevent offenders leaving the country, officials said. "We will recover the looted money and loans from corrupt people and punish them for their deeds," the official Associated Press of Pakistan quoted Musharraf as saying. "I want to tell you the truth. Corrupt people have looted this country mercilessly. The Treasury is empty, and [foreign exchange] reserves are declining." Up to eight courts have been dedicated so far to his government's nationwide crackdown against plunderers, he said. It was not clear when the remaining courts would be established. Musharraf has made the anti-corruption campaign a key policy since seizing power in a military coup on Oct. 12. A small group among the Pakistani elite has outstanding loans worth 211 billion rupees (US$4.1 billion), a third of the national budget. Most of the money was borrowed from banks with little or no collateral. A National Accountability Bureau set up by Musharraf has already arrested more than 20 people involved in corruption and bank loan defaults.

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