The husband of ousted Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was arrested Wednesday on charges of kidnapping a Pakistani-born British citizen and extorting $800,000 from him.
Asif Ali Zardari, largely blamed for his wife's legal problems since the Aug. 6 dismissal of her government, was arrested and charged at the Sindh High Court.Zardari was charged in the April kidnapping of businessman Murtaza Hussain Bukhari and taken for interrogation to the Federal Investigation Agency, comparable to the FBI. He was also charged with extortion.
Conviction for kidnapping is punishable by seven years in jail, while extortion carries a 10-year sentence.
Authorities said Zardari would not be able to apply for bail, forcing him to spend at least one night in jail.
When Bukhari reported the alleged abduction to police and the British Embassy in Islamabad, he implicated Zardari.
Bukhari said he met Zardari to discuss building a hospital in southern Sindh, Bhutto's home province. He said that at a second meeting, an associate of Zardari's, Ghulam Hussain Unar, pinned him down, strapped a time bomb to his leg and forced him to cash $800,000 in checks at a Karachi bank.
Although Zardari was not present at the second meeting, Bukhari has contended the former prime minister's husband was part of the plot.