Army brigadier linked to Benazir’s killing: Report
ISLAMABAD - The plot to assassinate former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in December 2007 was made at the official residence of an army brigadier, a fresh investigation report has disclosed.
The findings of the probe, conducted under the supervision of the interior ministry, have deliberately been kept under wraps, the English daily The Express Tribune reported on Friday.
The report is in the possession of Interior Minister Rehman Malik and has only been seen by President Asif Ali Zardari in its entirety.
Earlier this week, President Zardari temporarily shelved plans to share the contents of the inquiry report with the Central Executive Committee of the PPP at its meeting in Noadero on the occasion of the death anniversary of Benazir. The president was keen to first take the army leadership into confidence before ?ordering the arrest of certain uniformed personnel over their alleged involvement in Benazir’s assassination.
According to the report, five of the nine alleged co-conspirators are still alive. They were the ones who hired the killers and gave them shelter and logistical support.
The five men will now be formally charge-sheeted and put on trial. The remaining four men, including those sent to kill Benazir, are already dead.?Both logistical support and rehearsals for the killing were arranged by uniformed persons, who were part of the plot.
Militant groups, which were working closely with the nine plotters, provided the manpower, according to the probe. It has also been confirmed to The Express Tribune that the joint investigation team had traced two new mobile phone SIMs that were used to communicate on the day Benazir was assassinated.
Sources said that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had drawn up a tough questionnaire for General Pervez Musharraf on the basis of investigations conducted by the joint investigation team. The questions were framed once the role of the nine plotters became clear and the inquiry team managed to lay its hands on the main accused who was part of the plot to eliminate Benazir.
Musharraf told a TV channel in an interview that he had nothing to do with the assassination and he would not answer any questionnaire nor would appear before any inquiry commission.
Sources claimed that Zardari had deliberately withheld presentation of the inquiry report before the PPP central executive committee.
Zardari had at one time made up his mind to unveil the inquiry report on Benazir’s third death anniversary, but he changed his mind at the eleventh hour and told the interior minister to drop the idea for the time being.
Malik, who was then Benazir’s security in-charge, refused to comment on the inquiry report, saying the matter was in a court of law.
Beanzir was assassinated on December 27, 2007, as she was leaving Liaquat Bagh in a motorcade after addressing an election rally in Rawalpindi, Islamabad’s twin city and Pakistan’s old capital in northern punjab.
A teenaged shooter was seen aiming for her head in the CCTV footage before a powerful suicide blast killed at least 24 people participating in the rally.
The interior ministry at that time accused the Taleban of plotting to kill Bhutto while the doctors said “her head banged against the lever of the sunroof of her vehicle which caused her death”.
With inputs from IANS