The investigation into the murder of PPP Chairperson Benazir Bhutto was one of the main planks of the PPP election campaign in 2008. According to a newspaper report, the investigation done by the UN was taken to its logical conclusion. That accused have not been tried is coming back to haunt the government, which seems to have no answer to the apparent charge of neglect of the case. It is this attitude which has stopped Interpol from agreeing to issue red warrants for General Musharraf whose emergence as one of the accused only occurred during the PPP government, even though it had sent him abroad with full protocol as an ex-President.

The accusation that the present PPP government had not shown enough interest in the case is resurfacing with the approach of elections, and was the apparent reason why speakers at Ms Bhutto’s death anniversary in Garhi Khuda Bux, last week, focused on this issue. It should not be underestimated, because it is still a visceral issue, especially after President Zardari campaigned on it after his wife’s assassination. PPP Co-Chairman Bilawal Zardari may have said that the party would continue to fight against terrorism and militancy, but the PPP government should deal with the Benazir case first as proof of good faith. Ms Bhutto’s assassination meant not just that one of the main national parties lost its leader, but the country also lost a former Prime Minister.

Ms Bhutto’s case must be solved. It is a national tragedy that the evidence needed to bring back General Musharraf has not been provided to the Interpol authorities. It almost seems that the murder was merely used as a political tool in the last election, and will be used similarly again in the coming election. Such cynicism does not suit a government not just formed by the PPP but with her widower as President. Interior Minister Rehman Malik, whose pronouncements on the issue have failed to shed light on the issue, or brought the trial of any culprit nearer, must act quickly to take the necessary steps. As the point-man for the government on this issue by virtue of his portfolio, he faces the danger of becoming the target for the blame that this government will face because of its failures on this issue.