Published in The Nation newspaper on 22-Dec-2012
ISLAMABAD - Pakistan People's Party's plan to come up with some revelations about the mystery shrouding the assassination of party's chairperson Benazir Bhutto on completion of party's five years rule is most likely for the public consumption and for the satisfaction of its supporters and voters, and would be of little legal value.
Legal and constitutional experts who have been monitoring the progress on Benazir's murder case are of the view that the likely bringing to fore of some startling facts about the assassins of Ms Bhutto on the occasion of her fifth martyrdom anniversary at Ghari Khuda Bux on December 27 would be to just satisfy the hardcore party workers and voters. "It would just like be presenting the old wine in new bottle," one of them commented on the PPP's plan.
Pakistan People's Party is completing its mandated five years time in coming March and it would going to be the fifth death anniversary of Benazir Bhutto falling on December 27 with no progress whatsoever on hunting down her assassins. So to hoodwink the general masses and satisfy its hardcore party activists, PPP leadership was planning to come up with some startling disclosures, which though would be of no legal value, it would at least provide them face-saving in the election campaign.
But some annoyed party leaders, who did not want to disclose their identity, said that in the face of vibrant and independent media it would not be possible for the PPP leadership to befool masses by presenting fake and fabricated material slapping allegations of Ms Bhutto's murder on some one.
Previously too both President Asif Ali Zardari and his close confederate Rehman Malik came up with claims that they knew who had assassinated Ms Bhutto and would bring the names of the culprits before the nation but these names never brought to fore, obviously for obvious reasons.
Though in their private meetings the PPP leadership put the blame of Ms Bhutto's assassination on Gen Musharraf, there was no solid evidence to implicate him in the case.
Though in the investigations carried out by Joint Investigation Team (JIT), Scotland Yard and even United Nations all the three agencies had mentioned security lapses on part of the government which had failed to provide proper security cover to Ms Bhutto, but these lapses on part of Gen Musharraf led government could not be taken as his (Musharraf) involvement in the murder.
Legal experts said that the fact of the matter is that the security arrangements for Ms Bhutto, who had come under attack a few days back in Karachi before her assassination, were inadequate but on the basis of it Musharraf could not be held solely responsible for her murder.
The investigations carried out so far to great extent proved the involvement of the then chief of Tehrik-I-Talaban Pakistan (TTP) Baitullah Mehsud in the assassination of Ms Bhutto, as it was proved in the interrogation carried out of the alleged abettors of the assassins that they were linked to Baitullah Mehsud, who had allegedly ordered her elimination.
As now Mehsud was also not alive it could not be checked on whose behest Masud had planned the murder of Benazir. So it is almost a closed case unless some solid evidence could be brought to light about the people who had hired the services of Mehsud. Meanwhile in the light of the available evidence and the findings of reports prepared by the local and international investigations carried out by Scotland Yard and United Nations, the people on which the ruling PPP leadership was putting the fingers could not be put proved guilty in the light of the available evidence.
Meanwhile, in the latest challan submitted by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on February 7, 2011, the names of seven accused have been mentioned as proclaimed offender. These are Baitullah Mehsud, Ibadur Rehman, Abdullah, Faiz Mohammad, Ikramullah, Nasrullah, Nadir and former President Pervez Musharraf.
The accused of the case in the judicial custody are Aitzaz Shah, Sher Zaman, Husnain Gul, Muhammad Rafaqat, and Rasheed Ahmed. The other two accused in the case are Syed Saud Aziz, former City Police Officer Rawalpindi and Khurram Shahzad, former SP Rawal Town, Rawalpindi.
JIT in the challan report has submitted that there is considerable circumstantial evidence against former President Musharraf indicating his involvement in all issues pertaining to attack on Benazir on December 27, 2007. However despite efforts by the JIT, former President could not be examined during the examination of the case as he is abroad.
JIT has written there is overwhelming circumstantial evidence that President Musharraf would be main beneficiary from removal of Benazir from the scene and her party's failure in election without leadership. Hence while Musharraf's government ordered VVIP security for two former prime ministers i.e. Shaukat Aziz and Ch Shujaat Hussain but deliberately denied the same security umbrella to Benazir despite her repeated requests on the record to the then President Musharraf to provide her proper security. Thus an insecure environment was intentionally created to ensure elimination of Benazir by terrorists. This security lapse by Musharraf is totally inexcusable particularly after the twin suicide attacks on Benazir in Karachi on 18-10-2007.
About the holding of press conference on the next day of the assassination of Benazir by Brig (Retd) Javed Iqbal Cheema, former Director General National Crisis Management Cell (NCMC) of the Ministry of Interior, the JIT has submitted that it is evident from this pre-investigation press conference that Musharraf has prior knowledge of the assassination of Benazir by the accused Mehsud. And he held the vital information of a conspiracy.
The report says that based on the motive, circumstantial evidence and statements mentioned above, it is prima facia established that Musharraf is equally responsible with criminal mens rea for facilitation and abetment of assassination of Benazir through his government's unjustified failure in providing her the requisite security protection her status deserved as twice prime minister.
Published in The Nation newspaper on 22-Dec-2012