ISLAMABAD – As the PPP observes the 4th death anniversary of its former chairperson Benazir Bhutto, Joint Investigation Team (JIT) of FIA, notified by the federal government being led by her own party, has made no progress in her murder case so far except endorsing the findings made during the Musharraf regime.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik is always seen playing political gimmicks with the PPP workers and the general public at large as he keeps repeating with intervals that he has the knowledge of the real killers and perpetrators involved in the assassination of Benazir, the two-time prime minister of the country. But he never disclosed any names during the last four years.

Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in a gun and bomb attack on Dec 27, 2007 at Liaquat Bagh Rawalpindi. By going through a number of incomplete supplementary challans submitted by the JIT of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) before an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) of Rawalpindi, it transpires that the investigators have endorsed the key points of the investigations already carried out by the Punjab Police’s JIT.

The federal government had notified FIA’s JIT through interior ministry vide office order number 1/1/2008-DS (FIA), dated 06-08-2009. Consequently, the investigations of the case were transferred to it from the JIT of Punjab Police that was notified by the Punjab Government on December 31, 2007.

Interestingly, the new JIT, since its formation for more than two years could neither arrest any new accused in the case nor add any new name to the list of the accused that could have direct relation with the assassination. Only three accused including former Rawalpindi City Police Officer Syed Saud Aziz, former Rawal Town SP Khurram Shahzad and former President Pervez Musharraf have been added to the accused list by FIA in the challan report. The former two police officers have been held responsible for showing criminal negligence leading to breach of security and destroying of evidence through their illegal and deliberate acts. FIA has held Musharraf equally responsible for facilitation and abetment of assassination of Benazir.

FIA in its last 57-page challan report submitted before the ATC on February 7, 2011 said: “It is evident from the fact that accused Hunain Gul and Muhammad Rafaqat carried out suicide attack against Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto in Rawalpindi... Similarly Aitzaz Shah accused in the confessional statement admitted knowledge of conspiracy and identified the voice of Baitullah Mehsud, Amir of Tehrik Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on intercept of ISI”.

The report says that it is evident from this pre-investigation press conference that former President Pervez Musharraf had prior knowledge of the assassination of Benazir by the accused Baitullah Mehsud. The report further says that the actual terrorist attack was carried out by terrorist based in Wazirastan.

These are the ‘basic facts’ that had been disclosed by former National Crises Management Cell (NCMC) DG Brig (r) Javed Iqbal Cheema in his press conference held on Dec 28, 2007, a day after the assassination.

There are seven accused declared as proclaimed offenders in the case including Baitullah Mehsud (dead), Ibadur Rehman (dead), Abdullah (dead), Faiz Muhammad, Ikramullah, Nasrullah (dead), Nadir (dead) and former President Pervez Musharraf.

Similarly, the accused in custody are Aitzaz Shah, Sher Zaman, Husnain Gul, Muhammad Rafaqat and Rasheed Ahmed. The two accused police officers are on bail. There are as many as 133 prosecution witnesses in the case. All the accused in jail custody were arrested under the supervision of JIT of Punjab Police before FIA took over the investigations of the case.

Firstly, a joint investigation team, notified by Punjab Government on Dec 31, 2007, and supervised by Punjab CID AIG Abdul Majeed had investigated the case. FIA challan report says, “Two arrested accused Aitzaz Shah and Sher Zaman were arrested from Dera Ismail Khan had disclosed to JIT (Punjab Police) that the conspiracy was hatched by Baitullah Mehsud and his companions for the assassination of Benazir Bhutto”.