Following the assassination, the then Punjab Government constituted a JIT comprised of police officers to probe the case of the murder of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. Although the JIT arrested five accused persons for being in knowledge of the conspiracy and for facilitating the execution of the plot besides declaring some other accused persons as proclaimed offenders yet it left so many questions unanswered. The JIT even did not fix any responsibility for non-provision of or lax of security to Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto on any government official including Gen. Pervez Musharraf.

Just 24 hours after the assassination, the then Director-General of National Crisis Management Cell held a press conference to play out an alleged intercepted telephonic talk between Baitullah Mehsud and one Moulvi Sahib (later identified as Azizullah – a former student of Madrassa Haqqania) exchanging congratulating comments and explaining the cause of death. This press conference was aimed at influencing the on-going investigation by a JIT constituted by the then Punjab Government.

The then Federal Government had invited a team of Scotland Yard police of the UK with a minimal scope of the investigation. They were only tasked to find out the cause of death. Although, the team concluded that Mohtarma’s death did not occur with a bullet hit, however, it did not say this with conviction.

Ironically, the then Punjab Government also constituted an Inquiry Committee, with a limited mandate and pre-determined terms of reference, to probe into hosing off the crime scene. The Committee in its findings gave a clean chit to the local administration including police officers responsible for washing away the crime scene.

At the request of the PPP Government, UNO constituted a Commission of Inquiry to probe into Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto’s assassination, and it concluded, among other things, that the first JIT “lacked direction, was ineffective and endured lack of commitment to identify and bring all of the culprits to justice. This delay further hampered the gathering of evidence. Despite indications that there are links between the Karachi and Rawalpindi attacks, there has essentially been no communication between the investigators on those two cases”.

Consequent to the findings of the UN Commission of Inquiry, the PPP government constituted another JIT comprising of officers from police, security agencies and FIA led by Mr Khalid Qureshi of FIA for further investigation. During investigations, it was confirmed that the former JIT had not investigated those who were nominated by Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto in a “declaration/email”, she wrote to Mark Siegel in 2007 before her assassination that included some names, which is a matter of record.

The second JIT fixed the responsibility on accused General Musharraf for not providing adequate security to Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, DIG Police Saud Aziz and SSP Khurram Shehzad on account of washing the crime scene to destroy evidence and for not allowing the doctors to conduct a post-mortem of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto. The JIT also established that the attack was planned, monitored and executed by former students of Madrassa Darul Uloom Haqqania in Akora Khattak.

The second JIT also provided a complete report on the assassination and called it a “broad-based conspiracy” carried out by terrorists based in Waziristan, which was facilitated by Gen. Pervez Musharraf through non-provision of adequate and proper security protection to her.

The summary of the salient features of the said investigations is as under:

1.   The crime scene was washed away by the then administration within 1 hour and 20 minutes of the incident under the orders of CCPO Saud Aziz through SP Khurram Shehzad, which hurt the collection of forensic evidence of the event. The washing away of the crime scene of any such incident was nothing but to tamper with the investigation of the case. This act of the then administration was, therefore, apparently against the law. Both the police officers were, thus, cited as accused persons.

2.   The security provided by the then Government/administration was inadequate and was not according to the Blue Book and SOP. The government did not provide the security to her as notified for two former Prime Minister namely Ch. Shujaat Hussain and Mr Shaukat Aziz.

3.   The security escort responsible for the safe journey of the motorcade of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto from residence to Liaquat Bagh and back was removed and shifted to another place before Mohtarma had finished her public address. It was established that the then CCPO Rawalpindi was responsible for removing the security escort to another place of duty, which was even not within the jurisdiction of Rawalpindi police.

4.   The contingency plan in case of an emergency was not followed, and the damaged vehicle of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto was diverted to a hospital farther away from the incident scene rather than to the nearby hospital. Even the ambulance and paramedical staff were not detailed in the security plan.

5.     The then CCPO of Rawalpindi police did not allow the doctors to carry out the post-mortem of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and gave false statements in this connection.

6.   The confessions of the accused persons were substantiated with independent forensic evidence to prove their criminal activity in the court of law including the DNA of the joggers used by the terrorist/ suicide bomber, recovered from the house of one of the accused persons.

7.   The conspiracy was hatched at Room No. 96 of Madrassa Haqqania, Akora Khattak by the former students of the said Madrassa. Nadir and Qari Ismail, a former student of Madrassa Haqqania, had brought suicide bomber to the Madrassa from then TTP chief Baitullah Mehsud and stayed in Room No. 96 of the hostel of the Madrassa overnight.

8.   The JIT collected the original admission record with photographs, addresses & parentage from Madrassa of those students who conspired and then executed the conspiracy. These accused and their associates were based in Madrassa and residing in a hostel in 2007. Their meeting and operation point remained Room no. 96 of the Madrassa hostel.

9.   Accused Nasrullah had brought suicide bombers in Rawalpindi on 26th December 2007 on the instructions of Ibad-ur-Rehman, the planner and ex-student of the Madrassa Haqqania. Unfortunately, both were, later on, found to have been killed in separate operations by the LEAs after JIT/FIA started chasing them.

10. Accused Hasnain Gul and Rafaqat Hussain, close relatives, had collected accused Nasrullah along with suicide bomber from Pir Wadahi bus stand and lodged them at the house of accused Rafaqat Hussain overnight. Both of them were also involved in taking Nasrullah and the suicide bomber to Liaquat Bagh on 27 December 2007. The subsequent DNA analysis on the joggers of the suicide bomber recovered from the house of Rafaqat Hussain confirmed the presence of the suicide bomber at his residence.

11. Moulvi Sahib (Azizullah) to whom Baitullah Mahsud called (intercepted call) was also the former student of this madrassa.

12. The JIT had also been able to trace seven absconders that included Baitullah Mahsud, Ibad-ur-Rehman @ Usman @ Chattan, Abdullah @ Saddam (who along with Nadir @ Qari Ismail had brought suicide bomber from Baitullah Mahsud), Faiz Muhammad @ Kiskat, Nadir @ Qari Ismail, Ikramullah (2nd suicide bomber) and Nasrullah.

Unfortunately, when JIT/FIA started chasing these absconders, they were killed one by one mysteriously. There was only one and single drone attack in Khyber Agency which killed Ibad-ur-Rehman, who was tasked to coordinate and supervise the assassination plan.

Interestingly, a leader of TTP recently authored and published a book from Afghanistan in which he mentioned the name of Ikramullah as the second suicide bomber who has currently risen to the hierarchy of TTP and is residing in Afghanistan. I had made a written request to the Federal Government to take up his extradition to Pakistan with the Afghan Government, for interrogation and to unearth further facts.

The murder was a deep and well-thought plan against Pakistan. ‘The Daughter of East” returned to her homeland with the hope to make it prosperous and peaceful but the enemies killed the hopes of Pakistanis by eliminating her. Bilawal, Bakhtawar and Aseefa had been waiting for justice against the injustice to them for years, but even though confessions of the accused duly substantiated through forensic evidence, the learned judge of the court acquitted the terrorists.

People repeatedly ask questions as to why the murderers have not been arrested without appreciating that all the culprits involved had not only been identified but also arrested. They were put to trial, but unfortunately, the court chose to acquit all the terrorists who were directly involved in the assassination of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto by ignoring the whole evidence against them. The court, however, convicted and sentenced two police officers who are again on bail consequent to their appeal in the High Court. The trial against former President Gen. Pervez Musharraf is still pending in the court.

Where is the justice for the beloved children of SMBB and instead of justice to her beloved son he has been served notice based on archaic issues related to the period when he was two years old?

It is for all times a big question, which will continue to haunt the judicial system that has miserably failed to provide justice against the injustice to Bhutto family.

I wish that Supreme Court had taken notice of the failure of the judicial system to provide justice to Bilawal and his sisters for the murder of his mother and grandfather. He is facing the injustices and political challenges with courage, but one can see tears in his eyes whenever he has to mention the memories of his mother.

My sister, my leader and leader of masses Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto - we all miss you.

Your mission is being well carried forward by BBZ, and honestly, we see your wisdom in his action, and he has already emerged as top leader and speeches have shaken the corridors of powers and opposing political groups.

PPP Zindabad & Pakistan Paendabad.

 

The writer is Chairman of think tank “global eye” & former Interior Minister of Pakistan.

 rmalik1212@gmail .com

@GlobalEye_GSA