View Full Version : Former Prime Minister Of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto, Assassinated

12-27-2007, 11:05 AM
Bhutto Assassinated in Attack on Rally


Published: December 28, 2007

RAWALPINDI, Islamabad — An attack on a political rally killed the Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto near the capital, Islamabad, Thursday. Witnesses said Ms. Bhutto was fired upon by a gunman at close range before the blast, and an official from her party said Ms. Bhutto was further injured by the explosion, which was apparently caused by a suicide attacker.

Ms. Bhutto, a former prime minister of Pakistan, was declared dead by doctors at a hospital in Rawalpindi at 6:16 p.m. after the doctors had tried to resuscitate her for thirty-five minutes. She had suffered severe shrapnel injuries, the doctors said. At least a dozen more people were killed in the attack at the rally, which was being held ahead of elections scheduled for January, at a popular park in Rawalpindi, the garrison city adjacent to the capital.

“At 6:16 p.m. she expired,” said Dr. Abbas Hayat, professor of pathology at Rawalpindi General Hospital where Ms. Bhutto was taken after the attack.

In October, Ms. Bhutto survived a deadly suicide attack in the southern city of Karachi on the day she returned from years of self-imposed exile abroad to contest the parliamentary elections. Ms. Bhutto blamed extremist Islamic groups who she said wanted to take over the country for that attack, which narrowly missed her but killed 134 people.

Ms. Bhutto’s death is the latest blow to Pakistan’s treacherous political situation. It comes just days after President Pervez Musharraf lifted a state of emergency in the country, which he had used to suspend the Constitution and arrest thousands of political opponents, and which he said he had imposed in part because of terrorist threats by extremists in Pakistan.

Ms. Bhutto had returned to Pakistan with American support and following power-sharing negotiations between Ms. Bhutto and Mr. Musharraf, but once she was in Pakistan those negotiations appeared to break down.

Ms. Bhutto’s death Thursday immediately raised questions about whether the parliamentary elections scheduled for January will now go ahead or be postponed.

Hundreds of supporters had gathered at the political rally, which was being held at Liaqut Bagh, a park that is a common venue for political rallies and speeches, in Rawalpindi.

Amid the confusion after the explosion, the site was littered with pools of blood. Shoes and caps of party workers were lying on the asphalt, and shards of glass were strewn about the ground. Pakistani television cameras captured images of ambulances pushing through crowds of dazed and injured people at the scene of the assassination.

CNN reported that witnesses at the scene described the assassin as opening fire on Ms. Bhutto and her entourage, hitting her at least once in the neck and once in the chest, before blowing himself up.

Farah Ispahani, a party official from Ms. Bhutto’s party, said: “It is too soon to confirm the number of dead from the party’s side. Private television channels are reporting twenty dead.” Television channels were also quoting police sources as saying that at least 14 people were dead.

At the hospital where Ms. Bhutto was taken, a large number of police began to cordon off the area as angry party workers smashed windows. Many protesters shouted “Musharraf Dog”. One man was crying hysterically, saying, “O my sister has been killed.” Amid the crowd, dozens of people beat their chests, and chanted slogans against Mr. Musharraf.

Nahid Khan, a close aide to Ms. Bhutto, was crying with swollen eyes in a room next to the operating theater, and the corridors of the hospital swarmed with mourners.

Ms. Bhutto had been warned by the government before her return to Pakistan that she faced threats to her security.

Ms. Bhutto, 54, returned to Pakistan this year to present herself as the answer to the nation’s troubles: a tribune of democracy in a state that has been under military rule for eight years, and the leader of the country’s largest opposition political party, founded by her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, one of Pakistan’s most flamboyant and democratically inclined prime ministers.

But her record in power, and the dance of veils she has deftly performed since her return -- one moment standing up to Mr. Musharraf, then next seeming to accommodate him, and never quite revealing her actual intentions -- has stirred as much distrust as hope among Pakistanis.

A graduate of Harvard and Oxford, she brought the backing of Washington and London, where she impresses with her political lineage, her considerable charm and her persona as a female Muslim leader.

But with these accomplishments, Ms. Bhutto also brought controversy, and a legacy among Pakistanis as a polarizing figure who during her two turbulent tenures as prime minister, first from 1988 to 1990 and again from 1993 to 1996, often acted imperiously and impulsively.

She faced deep questions about her personal probity in public office, which led to corruption cases against her in Switzerland, Spain and Britain, as well as in Pakistan.

Ms. Bhutto saw herself as the inheritor of her father’s mantle, often spoke of how he encouraged her to study the lives of legendary female leaders ranging from Indira Gandhi to Joan of Arc.

Following the idea of big ambition, Ms. Bhutto called herself chairperson for life of the opposition Pakistan Peoples Party, a seemingly odd title in an organization based on democratic ideals and one she has acknowledged quarreling over with her mother, Nusrat Bhutto, in the early 1990s.

Saturday night at the diplomatic reception, Ms. Bhutto showed how she could aggrandize. Three million people came out to greet her in Karachi on her return last month, she said, calling it Pakistan’s ”most historic” rally. In fact, crowd estimates were closer to 200,000, many of them provincial party members who had received small amounts of money to make the trip.

Such flourishes led questioning in Pakistan about the strength of her democratic ideals in practice, and a certain distrust, particularly amid signs of back-room deal-making with General Musharraf, the military ruler she opposed.

“She believes she is the chosen one, that she is the daughter of Bhutto and everything else is secondary,” said Feisal Naqvi, a corporate lawyer in Lahore who knew Ms. Bhutto.

When Ms. Bhutto was re-elected to a second term as Prime Minister, her style of government combined both the traditional and the modern, said Zafar Rathore, a senior civil servant at the time.

But her view of the role of government differed little from the classic notion in Pakistan that the state was the preserve of the ruler who dished out favors to constituents and colleagues, he recalled.

As secretary of interior, responsible for the Pakistani police force, Mr. Rathore, who is now retired, said he tried to get an appointment with Ms. Bhutto to explain the need for accountability in the force. He was always rebuffed, he said.

Finally, when he was seated next to her in a small meeting, he said to her, “I’ve been waiting to see you,” he recounted. “Instantaneously, she said: ‘I am very busy, what do you want. I’ll order it right now.’ ”

She could not understand that a civil servant might want to talk about policies, he said. Instead, he said, ”she understood that when all civil servants have access to the sovereign, they want to ask for something.”

But until her death, Ms. Bhutto ruled the party with an iron hand, jealously guarding her position, even while leading the party in absentia for nearly a decade.

Members of her party saluted her return to Pakistan, saying she was the best choice against General Musharraf. Chief among her attributes, they said, was sheer determination.

Ms. Bhutto’s marriage to Asif Ali Zardari was arranged by her mother, a fact that Ms. Bhutto has often said was easily explained, even for a modern, highly educated Pakistani woman.

To be acceptable to the Pakistani public as a politician she could not be a single woman, and what was the difference, she would ask, between such a marriage and computer dating?

Mr. Zardari is known for his love of polo and other perquisites of the good life like fine clothes, expensive restaurants, homes in Dubai and London, and an apartment in New York.

He was minister of investment in Ms. Bhutto’s second government. And it was from that perch that he made many of the deals that haunted Ms. Bhutto, and himself, in the courts.

There were accusations that the couple had illegally taken $1.5 billion from the state. It is a figure that Ms. Bhutto has vigorously contested.

Indeed, one of Ms. Bhutto’s main objectives in seeking to return to power was to restore the reputation of her husband, who was jailed for eight years in Pakistan, said Abdullah Riar, a former senator in the Pakistani Parliament and a former colleague of Ms. Bhutto’s.

“She told me, ‘Time will prove he is the Nelson Mandela of Pakistan,’ ” Mr. Riar said.

12-27-2007, 11:33 AM
Assassination poses dilemma for US
Bhutto Assassination Throws Wrench Into US Policy on Pakistan


Dec 27, 2007 10:14 EST

The Bush administration scrambled Thursday with the implications of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's assassination after investing significant diplomatic capital in promoting reconciliation between her and President Pervez Musharraf.

While awaiting formal confirmation of Bhutto's death in an attack on an election rally, U.S. officials — who had labored to promote stability in the nuclear-armed country that has been an anti-terrorism ally — huddled to assess the impact of Bhutto's passing just two weeks before legislative elections in the turbulent nation in which her party was expected to do well.

"Certainly, we condemn the attack on this rally," said deputy State Department spokesman Tom Casey. "It demonstrates that there are still those in Pakistan who want to subvert reconciliation and efforts to advance democracy."

A U.S. official speaking on grounds of anonymity confirmed that Bhutto was assassinated. No person or group has claimed responsibility for her death, the official said.

In Crawford, Texas, White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said that vacationing President Bush "has been informed about the situation in Pakistan. He was told about it this morning during his regular briefing." He said that Bush planned to appear before reporters outside his ranch house here later Thursday morning to discuss the situation.

Bhutto served twice as Pakistan's prime minister between 1988 and 1996. She had returned to Pakistan from an eight-year exile Oct. 18. Her homecoming parade in Karachi was also targeted by a suicide attacker, killing more than 140 people. On that occasion she narrowly escaped injury.

The United States had been at the forefront of foreign powers trying to arrange reconciliation between Bhutto and Musharraf, who under heavy U.S. pressure resigned as army chief and earlier this month lifted a state of emergency, in the hope it would put Pakistan back on the road to democracy.

Bhutto's return to the country after years in exile and the ability of her party to contest free and fair elections had been a cornerstone of Bush's policy in Pakistan, where U.S. officials had watched Musharraf's growing authoritarianism with increasing unease.

Those concerns were compounded by the rising threat from al-Qaida and Taliban extremists, particularly in Pakistan's largely ungoverned tribal areas bordering Afghanistan despite the fact that Washington had pumped nearly $10 billion in aid into the country since Musharraf became an indispensible counter-terrorism ally after Sept. 11, 2001.

Irritated by the situation, Congress last week imposed new restrictions on U.S. assistance to Pakistan, including tying $50 million in military aid to State Department assurances that the country is making "concerted efforts" to prevent terrorists from operating inside its borders.

Under the law, which provides a total of $300 million in aid to Pakistan and was signed by President Bush on Wednesday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also must guarantee Pakistan is implementing democratic reforms, including releasing political prisoners and restoring an independent judiciary.

The law also prevents any of the funds can be used for cash transfer assistance to Pakistan, but that stipulation had already been adopted by the administration.

Despite the congressional move, Richard Boucher, the assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs who had been instrumental in engineering the Bhutto-Musharraf reconciliation, said he had little doubt that the administration would get the money.

12-27-2007, 11:49 AM
Benazir Bhutto killed in suicide attack; supporters in uproar across Pakistan


14 minutes ago

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan - Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was killed Thursday in a suicide attack as she drove away from a campaign rally attended by thousands of supporters, aides said.

The attacker struck shortly after Bhutto addressed the crowd in the garrison city of Rawalpindi. There were conflicting accounts over the sequence of events. Rehman Malik, Bhutto's security adviser, said Bhutto was shot in the neck and chest by the attacker, who then blew himself up.

Party supporter Chaudry Mohammed Nazir said that two gunshots rang out when Bhutto's vehicle pulled into the main street and then there was a big blast next to her car.

But Javed Iqbal Cheema, spokesman for the Interior Ministry, told state-run Pakistan Television that Bhutto died when a suicide bomber struck her vehicle.

At least 20 others were killed in the blast, according to an Associated Press reporter at the scene.

Bhutto was rushed to the hospital and taken into emergency surgery.

"At 6:16 p.m. she expired," said Wasif Ali Khan, a member of Bhutto's party who was at Rawalpindi General Hospital.

The death of the charismatic former prime minister threw the campaign for the Jan. 8 election into chaos and created fears of mass protests and an eruption of violence across the volatile South Asian nation.

Next to President Pervez Musharraf, Bhutto, 54, was the best known political figure in the country. She had served two terms as prime minister between 1988 and 1996. She was respected in the West for her liberal outlook and determination to combat the spread of Islamic extremism, a theme she returned to often in her campaign speeches.

Her death will leave a void at the top of her Pakistan People's party, the largest political group in the country.

As news of her death spread, supporters at the hospital in Rawalpindi smashed glass doors and stoned cars. Many chanted slogans against Musharraf, accusing the president of complicity in her killing.

Angry supporters took to the streets in the northwestern city of Peshawar as well other areas, chanting slogans against Musharraf. In Rawalpindi, the site of the attack, Bhutto's supporters burned election posters from the ruling party and attacked police, who fled from the scene.

In Karachi, shop owners quickly closed their businesses as supporters from Bhutto's party burned tires on the roads.

Shortly after Bhutto's death, Musharraf convened an emergency meeting with his senior staff, where they were expected to discuss whether to postpone the election, an official at the Interior Ministry said.

Nawaz Sharif, another former prime minister and leader of a rival opposition party, rushed to the hospital and addressed the crowd.

"Benazir Bhutto was also my sister, and I will be with you to take the revenge for her death," Sharif said. "Don't feel alone. I am with you. We will take the revenge on the rulers."

Senator Babar Awan, Bhutto's lawyer, said, "The surgeons confirmed that she has been martyred."

Bhutto's supporters at the hospital exploded in anger, smashing the glass door at the main entrance of the emergency unit. Others burst into tears. One man with a flag of Pakistan People's party tied around his head was beating his chest.

"I saw her with my own eyes sitting in a vehicle after addressing the rally. Then, I heard an explosion," said Tahir Mahmood, 55, as she sobbed. "I am in shock. I cannot believe that she is dead," he said.

Some at the hospital began chanting, "Killer, Killer, Musharraf," referring to Musharraf, Bhutto's main political opponent.

"We repeatedly informed the government to provide her proper security and appropriate equipment including jammers, but they paid no heed to our requests," Malik said.

In Washington, deputy State Department spokesman Tom Casey said: "Certainly, we condemn the attack on this rally. It demonstrates that there are still those in Pakistan who want to subvert reconciliation and efforts to advance democracy."

The United States has for months been encouraging Musharraf to reach some kind of political accommodation with the opposition, particular Bhutto, who is seen as having a wide base of support.

Bhutto had returned to Pakistan from an eight-year exile on Oct. 18. Her homecoming parade in Karachi was also targeted by a suicide attacker, killing more than 140 people. On that occasion she narrowly escaped injury.

Bhutto was killed just a few kilometres from the scene of her father's violent death 28 years earlier.

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, a former prime minister and the founder of the party that his daughter would later lead, was executed by hanging in 1979 in Rawalpindi on charges of conspiracy to murder that supporters said was politically motivated by the then-military regime. His killing led to violent protests across the country.

As Bhutto addressed the rally Thursday, she was flanked by a massive picture of her father.

Minutes later, the area was awash in blood.

An Associated Press reporter at the scene could see body parts and flesh scattered at the back gate of the Liaqat Bagh park where Bhutto had spoken. He counted about 20 bodies, including police, and could see many other wounded people.

Police cordoned off the street with white and red tape, and rescue workers rushed to put victims in ambulances as people wailed nearby.

The clothing of some of the victims was shredded and people put party flags over their bodies. Police caps and shoes littered the asphalt.

On Thursday, hundreds of riot police had manned security checkpoints to guard the venue. It was Bhutto's first public meeting in Rawalpindi since she came back to the country.

In November, Bhutto had also planned a rally in the city, but Musharraf forced her to cancel it, citing security fears.

In recent weeks, suicide bombers have repeatedly targeted security forces in Rawalpindi, a city near the capital where Musharraf stays and the Pakistan army has its headquarters.

Quotations from Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, assassinated Thursday in Rawalpindi:

"We have to modify our campaign to some extent because of the suicide bombings. We will continue to meet the public. We will not be deterred." - Shortly after narrowly escaping a suicide bombing in October on her return to Pakistan from an eight-year exile.

"I told him on my oath in his death cell, I would carry on his work." - Recalling a visit to her father, former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, before his execution in 1979.

"The primary message of the visit and the talks will be that freedom has returned to Pakistan. It is not only a success for the people of Pakistan but for all those who believe in freedom." - Preparing for a visit to the United States in 1989, a few months after she first took office as prime minister.

"The voter has gotten more demanding. In 1988, the voters just wanted democracy. Our campaign was much more general then. Now we are more specific." - 1993 Associated Press interview on her ultimately successful bid for re-election. She had been ousted in 1990.

"I always said that I was innocent and a victim of a politically motivated trial." - Commenting in 2001 when her 1999 conviction on corruption charges was suspended and a new trial ordered.

"I haven't given myself away. I belong to myself and I always shall." - Vowing in 1987 that her arranged Islamic marriage to Karachi businessman Asif Ali Zardari would not upstage her political career.

"Democracy needs support and the best support for democracy comes from other democracies. Democratic nations should ... come together in an association designed to help each other and promote what is a universal value - democracy." - 1989 speech at Harvard University.

12-27-2007, 11:51 AM
Stocks Fall After Bhutto Death


By TIM PARADIS AP Business Writer

NEW YORK — Stocks fell in early trading Thursday after the assassination of Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto and after the U.S. government reported a weak increase in durable goods orders.

Bhutto's assassination raised the possibility of increasing political unrest abroad, always an unsettling prospect for investors. Oil, gold and bond prices rose following the news.

Meanwhile, the Commerce Department said orders for durable goods _ big-ticket items from commercial jetliners to home appliances _ rose by just 0.1 percent last month. Economists had been looking for a rise of 2.2 percent. Still, November saw the first rise in durable-goods orders in the last four months.

The notion that the economy is slowing was also unnerving for the market.

Meanwhile, the Labor Department said the number of workers seeking unemployment benefits rose slightly last week.

In the first hour of trading, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 64.13, or 0.47 percent, to 13,487.56.

Broader stock indicators also fell. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 7.10, or 0.47 percent, to 1,490.56, and Nasdaq composite index fell 10.31, or 0.38 percent, to 2,714.10.

Bond prices rose sharply as investors worried about political instability sought the safety of U.S.-backed investments. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, fell to 4.21 percent from 4.29 percent late Wednesday. The dollar was mixed against other major currencies, while gold prices rose.

Light, sweet crude rose 49 cents to $96.46 per barrel in pre-opening trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The move lower in stocks came as Wall Street awaited a weekly reading on domestic crude oil inventories and a report on consumer confidence. Stocks have managed to increase for the past four trading days, posting a modest increase Wednesday as investors tried to reconcile their expectations with somewhat disappointing results from retailers.

The battered financial sector again commanded some of Wall Street's attention following predictions by Goldman Sachs that the flood of writedowns at banks will continue.

Goldman predicted Citigroup Inc. may be forced to write off 70 percent more than the $8 billion to $11 billion Citi forecast in early November. Citi could also cut its dividend by 40 percent and may need to raise $5 billion to $10 billion more cash, Goldman estimates.

Citi, one of the 30 stocks that makes up the Dow Jones industrials, fell 74 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $29.71.

In other corporate news, Sallie Mae fell $2, or 9 percent, to $20.13 after saying it would sell $2.5 billion in stock and use a bulk of the proceeds to settle contracts requiring the company to buy back stock at prices above current levels. The student lender, officially known as SLM Corp., shares fell sharply last week amid concerns about the company's plans following a the collapse of a $25 billion buyout deal.

Overseas, Japan's Nikkei stock average fell 0.57 percent. In afternoon trading, Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.23 percent, Germany's DAX index gained 0.58 percent, and France's CAC-40 added 0.16 percent.

12-27-2007, 12:44 PM
Benazir Bhutto assassination: the blog reaction
Reactions gathered from the thousands of blog posts which started to appear minutes after Benazir Bhutto's death


Tom Whitwell

"All the roads leading to capital Islamabad have been barricaded and blocked and there are reports of collision of police with protesters." Updates from the streets at Pakistani Spectator

"They tried and failed when she returned to Pakistan in October. They tried and failed with a baby suicide bomber. Yesterday, they stopped a 15-year-old with a bomb packed full of nails trying to kill her. Today, they succeeded. Dammit, dammit, dammit." Michelle Malkin

"I hope that the killing of Benazir Bhutto will open the eyes of US and UK adminsitration and will allow political forces to grow rather Pakistan Army. I hope that the people of Pakistan would come to roads and will throw away Pakistan Army and its dirty establishment and ISI." Corrupt Pakistan

"All over the world, they should not be known or called or referred to as Islamic Militants. The word ISLAM should never be attached to refer to them, because what they have done is not Islamic at all. A shame on them and inshAllah a damnation in the fire of hell. " Germino

"How long will it take Musharraf to blame the assassination on al Qaeda? Should we wager not more than 24 hours?" Larisa Alexandrovna

"I apologize in advance people—I’m feeling a lot of anger right now—but Islam’s moniker, “Religion of Peace” has to be abandoned. I mean, how much murder and mayhem does it take before everyone wakes up? And I include Muslims in that statement. But you know, the truth is, it’s not really Islam; it’s the unrepentant, unconverted human soul that sows these deeds. Society may hate Jesus, but I love him and believe him to be the sole answer to humanity’s woes." OpinionBug.com

"I was hoping it was rumor. Her wounds were severe for sure, so I was truly hoping it was people either intentionally misreporting what had happened or it was just misinformation." Expat Jane

"Will this resurrect terrorism as an issue in the U.S. presidential election? At the very least, I assume her reputation outside of Pakistan as a friend of the U.S. and a representative of moderate Islam — now, to borrow a phrase, martyred — may grant her a legacy her actual record doesn’t necessarily warrant." Blog.pi

"Pakistan would be perfect for al-Qaeda since they have the bomb but fortunately two of our presidential candidates are ready to invade Pakistan to root out al-Qaeda (Obama and Huckabee -- funny how they're ready to talk with Iran but eager to invade Pakistan)." Reformed Chicks Blabbing

"I am disgusted to the point of nausea at the animals who would not only kill her, but blow up bombs in crowds, killing innocent men, women and children. Everyone take note: If this jihadi mentality isn’t crushed - not reasoned with, not negotiated with, not placated or bargained with - CRUSHED, then this is what the rest of the world will see in our very near future. Control by terror." Say Anything Blog

"I kind of thought it'd happen, but I'm still stunned. I don't think the human race deserves beacons of hope. We smash and break and blow them up. So to hell with us. We can sit in the damn dark, since that's apparently what we really want." Kim Paffenroth

"Her death is likely to force Pakistan and Islamic terrorism back into the forefront of debate both in Washington and on the campaign trail with the Iowa Caucuses now only a week away." WSJ Washington Wire

"Pakistan is doomed to become a battleground for muslim crazies believing in the cult of death." Richard Dows

"It is no exaggeration to say that WE are at least partially responsible for the deaths of both father and daughter, every bit as surely as we are somewhat responsible for creating the folks who hosted Osama" Reconstitution

"Who benefits most from the removal of Benazir Bhutto from the political scene in Pakistan? Of course, it is Bush's favorite Islamo-fascist dictator who actually has nuclear weapons, Pervez Musharraf." Dave Chandler

"While morons like Mitt Romney claim that without religion freedom is impossible, the plain fact is that with religion, freedom is unlikely." John Wilkins

"The ISI is a Frankenstein establishment under no body’s control. It has its own aims and objectives. It has Billions of US $ and arms at its disposal, thanks to American Aid, and its dealings in narcotics. It has many fanatics trained, equipped and brainwashed over many years through the Afghan War and later." Srijan Foundation

12-27-2007, 12:45 PM
Slain Bhutto's supporters take anger to the streets


Thu Dec 27, 2007 11:31am EST

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan put its paramilitary forces on "red alert" across the country on Thursday after the assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto sparked violent protests by her supporters.

President Pervez Musharraf publicly appealed for calm after angry backers of the slain former prime minister took to the streets across Pakistan, from the Himalayas to the southern coast.

The unrest was predictably fiercest in her native Sindh province and its capital, Karachi.

"Police in Sindh have been put on red alert," said a senior police official. "We have increased deployment and are patrolling in all the towns and cities, as there is trouble almost everywhere."

Reports said security was deteriorating in Karachi, where thousands poured on to the streets to protest. At least three banks, a government office and a post office were set on fire, a witness said.

Tires were set on fire on many roads, and shooting and stone-throwing was reported in many places. Most shops and markets in the city shut down.

At least 20 vehicles were torched in the central Sindh town of Hyderabad.

There were also small protests in Rawalpindi and the nearby capital, Islamabad.

Protesters blocked roads with burning tyres and chanted slogans against President Pervez Musharraf in Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistani Kashmir in the mountainous north.

Police said they had been ordered to block the main road between Punjab province and Sindh province, apparently to stop the movement of protesters.

Disturbances were also reported in the southeastern city of Multan, although details were sketchy. In the eastern city of Lahore, Bhutto party workers burnt three buses and damaged several other vehicles, police said.

Trouble was reported from the interior of Sindh province, including the Bhutto ancestral home at Larkana, police said.

"The situation is not good in the interior of Sindh. A large number of people have come out on the roads in many cities to protest," said senior police official Fayyaz Leghari.

12-27-2007, 12:49 PM
U.N. council to consult on Bhutto killing


Source: Reuters
27 Dec 2007 15:29:45 GMT

UNITED NATIONS, Dec 27 (Reuters) - The United Nations Security Council will hold consultations at noon EST (1700 GMT) on Thursday following the assassination of Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, U.N. spokeswoman Marie Okabe said.

The consultations -- closed discussions between envoys of the 15 council member states -- could lead to a statement on Bhutto's assassination in the city of Rawalpindi, council diplomats said.

12-27-2007, 12:51 PM
Suspects in the Bhutto assassination
In the wake of Benazir Bhutto's assassination, Mark Tran looks at the background to the crisis in Pakistan


Thursday December 27, 2007
Guardian Unlimited

Who are the suspects?
Even before Bhutto returned to Pakistan in October after eight years of self-imposed exile, there had been open threats against her. A pro-Taliban militant leader, Baitullah Masood, said he would target her with suicide attacks. Masood, probably the most prominent militant leader in the north-western region bordering Afghanistan, has also been accused of carrying out attacks on Pakistani soldiers.

Bhutto's pro-western attitude would have made her a natural target for militant Islamists. Another militant commander, Haji Omar, said before her return: "She has an agreement with America. We will carry out attacks on Benazir Bhutto as we did on General Pervez Musharraf [the Pakistani president]." Authorities had warned Bhutto that extremists sympathetic to the Taliban and al-Qaida would target her.

Who else is in the frame?
After the October assassination attempt, Bhutto's husband, Asif Ali Zardari, who is in Dubai where the couple had been living in exile, accused members of the Pakistani security services, the ISI. "I blame government for these blasts," he said. "It is the work of the intelligence agencies."

Elements of the ISI sympathise with the Taliban and it was a possibility that "rogue elements" in the intelligence services were involved in the two attacks. The ISI became one of Pakistan's most powerful institutions under General Zia-ul-Haq, the man who launched an Islamisation campaign and who overthrew Bhutto's father and had him hung. After Gen Zia's death in a mysterious plane crash in 1988, the ISI actively campaigned against Bhutto when she entered politics.

Has there been other violence?
Hours before Bhutto's death, four people were killed and three wounded in a clash just outside Islamabad between pro-government supporters and backers of the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. Last week, more than 50 people were killed when a suicide attacker detonated a bomb at a crowded mosque near the home of Pakistan's former interior minister on one of Islam's major holidays. Aftab Khan Sherpao, once a supporter of Bhutto, took a strong anti-militant line in office.

12-27-2007, 12:54 PM
Bush condemns Bhutto's killers; 'Looked tense'

http://rawstory.com/news/2007/Bush_condemns_Bhuttos_killers_Looked_tense_1227.ht ml

Associated Press
Published: Thursday December 27, 2007

BREAKING AP WIRE: "The United States strongly condemns this cowardly act by murderous extremists who are trying to undermine Pakistan's democracy," President Bush told reporters at a hangar adjacent to his Crawford ranch in central Texas Thursday morning. "Those who committed this crime must be brought to justice."

"Bush looked tense in delivering a statement that lasted about a minute and he took no questions.

"Bush expressed his deepest condolences to Bhutto's family and to the families of others slain in the attack and to all the people of Pakistan.

"We stand with the people of Pakistan in their struggle against the forces of terror and extremism. We urge them to honor Benazir Bhutto's memory by continuing with the democratic process for which she so bravely gave her life," he said.

12-27-2007, 12:59 PM
Who killed Benazir Bhutto? The main suspects


Jeremy Page, South Asia Correspondent

The main suspects in Benazir Bhutto’s assassination are the Pakistani and foreign Islamist militants who saw her as a heretic and an American stooge and had repeatedly threatened to kill her.

But fingers will also be pointed at Inter-Services Intelligence, the agency that has had close ties to the Islamists since the 1970s and has been used by successive Pakistani leaders to suppress political opposition.

Ms Bhutto narrowly escaped an assassination attempt in October, when a suicide bomber killed about 140 people at a rally in the port city of Karachi to welcome her back from eight years in exile.

Earlier that month, two militant warlords based in Pakistan's lawless northwestern areas, near the border with Afghanistan, had threatened to kill her on her return.

One was Baitullah Mehsud, a top commander fighting the Pakistani army in the tribal region of South Waziristan. He has close ties to al Qaeda and the Afghan Taleban.

The other was Haji Omar, the “amir” or leader of the Pakistani Taleban, who is also from South Waziristan and fought against the Soviets with the Mujahideen in Afghanistan.

After that attack Ms Bhutto revealed that she had received a letter signed by a person who claimed to be a friend of al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden threatening to slaughter her like a goat.

She accused Pakistani authorities of not providing her with sufficient security and hinted that they may have been complicit in the bomb attack. Asif Ali Zardari, her husband, directly accused the ISI of being involved in that attempt on her life.

Mrs Bhutto stopped short of blaming the Government directly, saying that she had more to fear from unidentified members of a power structure that she described as allies of the “forces of militancy”.

Analysts say that President Musharraf himself is unlikely to have ordered her assassination, but that elements of the army and intelligence service would have stood to lose money and power if she had become Prime Minister.

The ISI, in particular, includes some Islamists who became radicalised while running the American-funded campaign against the Soviets in Afghanistan and remained fiercely opposed to Ms Bhutto on principle.

Saudi Arabia, which has strong influence in Pakistan, is also thought to frown on Ms Bhutto as being too secular and Westernised and to favour Nawaz Sharif, another former Prime Minister.

12-27-2007, 01:02 PM
Bhutto says ISI spying on PPP candidates


Islamabad, Dec 20: Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto accused Pakistan's military intelligence Thursday of pressuring candidates from her party to drop out of next month's parliamentary elections and urged officials to crack down on such harassment.

Bhutto, a two-time former Prime Minister who recently returned from years of living in exile, told reporters during a campaign stop her party has evidence of interference.

"We demand that the Election Commission should take notice of such things to ensure free and fair elections," she said, also accusing local mayors of gearing up to cheat.

She urged intelligence agencies to concentrate their efforts on capturing terrorists, adding, "This is not your job to indulge in politics."

Bhutto also asked the government of President Pervez Musharraf to act against those involved in rigging the vote, reminding him that he has promised the Jan. 8 balloting will be free and fair.

Under pressure from the international community and domestic opposition, Musharraf also has said he would try to work with anyone getting a majority in Parliament. He has called allegations of rigging an attempt by Bhutto and other opposition leaders to create an excuse in case they fare poorly at the ballot box.

Bhutto, traveling in a bulletproof vehicle and accompanied by tight security, was making her first tour to remote areas of Baluchistan province, where tribal elders have waged insurgency to pressure the central government to return more of the wealth from natural resources extracted from their areas.

She urged flag-waving supporters to reject candidates from the ruling pro-Musharraf Pakistan Muslim League-Q party, saying it had done nothing for the welfare of the masses.

Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also has been vehemently opposing the pro-Musharraf party, and the two opposition leaders have indicated they may be willing to share power if, as expected, no party wins a majority.

Sharif initially called for a boycott of the vote but later changed his mind after Bhutto refused to join him. Sharif wants Musharraf to restore Supreme Court judges he sacked after imposing Emergency rule Nov 3.

Although Musharraf lifted the Emergency last Saturday, he has refused to reinstate the deposed judges.

12-27-2007, 01:32 PM
Oil climbs after Bhutto killing, U.S. data


December 27, 2007 11:38 AM ET

LONDON (Reuters) - Oil rose more than a dollar on Thursday in response to a big fall in crude oil stocks in top consumer the United States and the killing of Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto in a gun and bomb attack.

U.S. light sweet crude for February was $1.33 cents up at $97.30 a barrel by 11:01 a.m. EST.

London Brent crude rose $1.25 cents to $95.19 a barrel.

U.S. crude oil stocks fell to their lowest since January 2005 last week, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Crude oil inventories fell 3.3 million barrels, which was more than the 1 million barrel fall forecast by analysts.

Stocks of distillates, which includes heating oil, fell by 2.8 million barrels, when analysts had predicted a 800,000 barrel drop.

"Numbers looking bullish with crude stocks falling about 2 million barrels more than expected," said Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch & Associates.

Oil had risen alongside gold after news of Bhutto's death, which unnerved financial markets.

"Pakistan is a crucial country in the region and prospects for political uncertainty are leading to some nervousness (which is reflected in) gold, bond and oil prices rising and the dollar dipping," said Audrey Childe-Freeman, European economist at CIBC bank in London.

Bhutto's killing hit U.S. stock markets, which were also depressed by weaker-than-expected U.S. durable goods data.

Oil had surged to one-month highs in the previous session following Turkey's raid on Kurdish guerrilla targets in northern Iraq.

"The Turkish bombing of Kurdish guerrilla targets helped it on its way yesterday," said Kevin Blemkin, oil broker at MF Global. He said this had reminded the market of potential risks to crude supplies in the Middle East.

Oil prices have risen 57 percent since the start of the year and touched a record high of $99.29 on November 21, boosted by concerns over shrinking supplies ahead of winter and the weak dollar.

But the prospect of slower economic growth in top oil consumer the United States as well as forecasts for a mild winter had put a lid on prices until the latest Turkish raid.

Turkey's dispute with the Kurdish separatists poses little immediate threat to Iraq's main oil exports via its southern terminals, but the instability adds an element of risk to regional flows, analysts say.

12-27-2007, 01:41 PM
Benazir Bhutto Chronology


By The Associated Press
Thursday December 27, 2007 4:46 PM

Key events in Benazir Bhutto's career:

-April 4, 1979 - Bhutto's father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, is executed for the murder of a political opponent, two years after his ouster as prime minister in a military coup.

-April 10, 1986 - Benazir Bhutto returns from exile in London to lead the Pakistan People's Party, founded by her father.

-Dec. 1, 1988 - Bhutto, age 35, wins parliamentary elections to become the first woman prime minister of a Muslim nation.

-Aug. 6, 1990 - President Ghulam Ishaq Khan dismisses Bhutto's government, citing corruption and a failure to control ethnic violence.

-Oct. 19, 1993 - Bhutto takes oath for second term as prime minister.

-Nov. 5, 1996 - President Farooq Leghari dismisses Bhutto's second administration amid accusations of nepotism and undermining the justice system.

-April 14, 1999 - A court finds Bhutto guilty of corruption while she is out of the country. The conviction was later quashed, but Bhutto remains in exile.

-Oct. 12 - Gen. Pervez Musharraf, the head of the armed forces, seizes power from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a bloodless coup.

-Oct. 5, 2007 - President Gen. Pervez Musharraf signs a corruption amnesty covering other cases against Bhutto, opening the way for her return and a possible power-sharing agreement.

-Oct. 18 - Bhutto returns to Pakistan more than eight years of exile. She narrowly escapes a suicide bombing that kills 140 people during a homecoming procession in Karachi.

-Nov. 9 - Police throw barbed wire around Bhutto's house to keep her from speaking at a rally to protest Musharraf's imposition of emergency rule. Security forces round up thousands of her supporters.

-Nov. 13 - Authorities put Bhutto under house arrest for the second time in a week. She urges Musharraf to resign and says it is likely her party would boycott the January parliamentary elections. She also indicates a desire to build an alliance with other opposition leaders, including former Prime Minister Sharif.

-Nov. 30 - Bhutto presents her election manifesto, dimming the prospect of an opposition boycott.

-Dec. 1 - Bhutto launches her election campaign, urging resistance against Islamic militancy.

-Dec. 8 - Gunmen kill three people in an attack on one of Bhutto's party offices.

-Dec. 10 - Sharif's party announces it will participate in Pakistan's parliamentary elections after failing to persuade Bhutto to join a boycott.

-Dec. 25 - Bhutto accuses Musharraf of failing to stop the spread of Islamic militants and promises to crack down on groups if she wins parliamentary elections.

-Dec. 27 - An attacker strikes minutes after Bhutto addresses thousands of supporters in Rawalpindi. She is fatally shot in the neck and chest by the attacker, who then blows himself up, killing at least 20 others.

12-27-2007, 01:45 PM
Army being used against countrymen, says Benazir


Dawn Report

MUZAFFARGARH/MULTAN, Dec 25: Pakistan People’s Party chairperson Benazir Bhutto said on Tuesday that the force that was supposed to defend the country and its borders (army) was being used against own countrymen. She pointed out that the operation in Balochistan was still on.

Addressing public meetings in Muzaffargarh and Lodhran, she condemned the Charsadda blast and said the killing of innocent men offering Eid prayers was no service to Islam.

Ms Bhutto said the PPP believed in peace, but it had never accepted any dictator “civilian or in uniform”.

She said that negotiations with Gen Musharraf in 2002 had failed because the PPP did not accept an army general as president of Pakistan.

She claimed that her decision to hold talks with the government this year had given the country a civilian president and a full-time army chief.

The PPP chairperson said the separation of presidency from the General Headquarters was a first step for the transition to democracy, but the next step was fair and free elections. “I hope that total powers will be transferred from the dictator to democratic institutions.”

She said that Mr Musharraf had promised to the world and to the nation that free, fair, transparent and credible elections would be held. “I will keep an eye on Musharraf to see whether he fulfils his promise or not.”

Ms Bhutto said the PPP believed in provincial autonomy, security of rights of women, minorities and powerless people.

On the occasion, she introduced new slogan of the PPP: “Chahta hai har insaan, ilm, roshni, kaam (Every human being wants knowledge, electricity and work”, and “Chahta hai har insaan, roti kapra aur makaan (Every individual needs bread, clothes and house)”.

Ms Bhutto, who had started her journey in the morning from Lodhran by addressing a public meeting there, said the country was facing a crisis and people were being deprived of their rights.

She said that extremist forces had tried to establish their writ in tribal areas of the NWFP and near the Afghan border and they were fighting against the army.

Ms Bhutto urged the people not to vote for PML-Q candidates, “who were involved in plunder of national resources”.

The PPP did manage a big gathering in Muzaffargarh, but the Lodhran show was poor.

12-27-2007, 01:48 PM
Who Killed Bhutto?


Rick Moran

Conventional wisdom would point the finger at Islamic extremists in Pakistan as the ones who pulled off the successful assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto. They made no secret of the fact that killing Bhutto was their number one priority.

They despised her relative secularism and the fact that she was a woman doing man's work. But most of all, they needed to kill her in order to bring unrest to Pakistan, thus setting the stage for what they hope could turn into a bloody civil war and the victory of extremists.

In this scenario, al-Qaeda and those who sympathize with them both in and out of government could be responsible for her death. The intelligence service, ISI, has many Islamist sympathizers in its ranks and getting through the security that surrounded Bhutto could have been facilitated by the professionals in Pakistani intelligence. As details of the attack are revealed, that aspect of the puzzle may come together.

Who else might have carried out such an attack? The Pakistani people are apparently blaming President Musharraf, thinking he offed her in order to get rid of a rival for power. Or, their reasoning goes, he had Bhutto killed in order to re-establish some kind of one man rule.

The problem with blaming Musharraf is that the last thing the Pakistani president wants at this point is violence in the streets. Dawn is reporting that tear gas is already being used against protestors in Peshwar and the possibility of millions of Pakistanis rioting in the major cities is Musharraf's main nightmare at the moment. This is not to say, as I mention above, that elements of the government weren't in on the plot. But Musharraf would have to have a death wish to kill Bhutto.

Is it possible that this was a lone nut? Possible but not very likely. Security surrounding Bhutto was several layers deep and it would seem extremely unlikely that someone could wander through the security net and blow himself up. This is why the finger keeps coming back to a detailed plot with perhaps complicity among Bhutto's bodyguards. The reason for that speculation is that early reports indicate that shots were fired inside the vehicle immediately before the suicide bomber detonated himself. It could be that the bomber was able to push his way into the car following Bhutto who witnesses say was shot as she was getting into the car.

The next few days will tell the tale for Pakistan and its efforts to bring democracy to the country. Elections, scheduled for a little more than two weeks from today, will feature a new leader of Bhutto's Pakistani People's Party. Can he or she fill Bhutto's shoes?

If not, Pakistan is in for some very dangerous times.

Update: Thomas Lifson adds:

Is there a connection between the killing of Bhutto and Musharraff's campaign in the Swat Valley? Quite possibly.

From December the 8th ABC News (Australia - not related to American ABC News), the Pakistani Army is claiming the Swat Valley is clear of Islamist militants. Musharraff's forces have killed 290 rebels and arrested another 143, but pro-Taliban cleric Maulana Fazlullah is still on the run with about 200 to 400 "hardcore fighters, including some foreigners."

It's not unreasonable to assume that remnants of Fazlullah's forces are behind the attack on Bhutto given that they were kicked out of the Swat Valley almost three weeks ago and are desperate to continue their campaign of de-stabilization. Also, Maj Gen Janjua of the Pakistan Army says it will take about four months to completely restore order in the Swat Valley. In the meantime, pro-Taliban forces could very well have dispersed and then regrouped to conduct the attack.

12-27-2007, 01:51 PM
U.S. Checking al Qaeda Claim of Killing Bhutto


Brian Ross, Richard Esposito & R. Schwartz
December 27, 2007 11:47 AM

While al Qaeda is considered by the U.S. to be a likely suspect in the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Banazir Bhutto, U.S. intelligence officials say they cannot confirm an initial claim of responsibility for the attack, supposedly from an al Qaeda leader in Afghanistan.

An obscure Italian Web site said Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, al Qaeda's commander in Afghanistan, told its reporter in a phone call, "We terminated the most precious American asset which vowed to defeat [the] mujahedeen."

It said the decision to assassinate Bhutto was made by al Qaeda's No. 2 leader, Ayman al Zawahri in October. Before joining Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, Zawahri was imprisoned in Egypt for his role in the assassination of then-Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.

Bhutto had been outspoken in her opposition to al Qaeda and had criticized the government of President Pervez Musharraf for failing to take strong action against the Islamic terrorists.

"She openly threatened al Qaeda, and she had American support," said ABC News consultant Richard Clarke, the former White House counterterrorism adviser. "If al Qaeda could try to kill Musharraf twice, it could easily do this," he said.

Al Qaeda had claimed responsibility for the bomb attack Oct. 18 during Bhutto's homecoming rally that killed 140 people but left the former prime minister uninjured.

Senior U.S. officials say it will take several days to sort out who was responsible and that it will be "a test of credibility for the Pakistani government."

U.S. officials monitoring Internet chat rooms known to be used by Islamic militants say several claims of responsibility have been posted, although such postings are notoriously unreliable.

12-27-2007, 03:22 PM
Opposition leader's assassination 'moves us closer' to potential nuclear apocalypse, expert says
Predicts Pakistan will not dissolve, but US lacks options dealing with nuke-armed country

http://rawstory.com/news/2007/Opposition_leaders_assassination_moves_us_closer_1 227.html

Nick Juliano
Published: Thursday December 27, 2007

The death of Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto has left the US lacking in options for dealing with the tumultuous, nuclear-armed, militant-rich nation and has raised the possibility that the country's weapons will fall into the wrong hands, leading to a possible apocalypse, a foreign policy expert tells RAW STORY.

"When people aren't looking, you have a question of command and control of their nuclear warheads," Steve Clemons, a senior fellow at The New America Foundation, said in an interview Thursday.

Clemons said Bhutto's assassination could cause the "Doomsday Clock" to tick forward. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists maintains the clock, which depicts how close the world is to midnight, representing a nuclear catastrophe. At the beginning of this year, the clock was set at 11:55 p.m.

"I think we've moved closer to midnight ... to a potential apocalyptic situation," Clemons said. "It doesn't mean we're going to get there, but we have moved closer."

Based on conversations he's had with associates of Bhutto, Clemons predicted the country "would not disintegrate." However, he told RAW STORY that Bhutto's death likely would prevent next month's scheduled election and could lead to more security crackdowns against Pakistani citizens.

As for the US approach toward Pakistan, options are now "very, very narrow," he said.

"It blows up America's effort to manage the Pakistan mess. ... Now we don't have an alternative to Musharraf," Clemons noted. "The timing of this is amazingly bad; she probably would've been elected Prime Minister next week."

Other observers were more pessimistic about Pakistan's future now that Bhutto is dead.

"The impact will be that Pakistan is in more turmoil -- it will be the start of civil war in Pakistan," said Riaz Malik of the opposition party Pakistan Movement for Justice, according to The Guardian. "There is a very real danger of civil war in Pakistan."

Questions have swirled around potential flaws in Bhutto's security detail. The former prime minister, who had recently returned to Pakistan after years in self-imposed exile, was shot at close range by a gunman, then hit with shrapnel from a suicide bomb, according to news reports. It was the second attempt on her life since her return.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, implied in a statement Thursday that more could have been done to protect Bhutto.

“This fall, I twice urged President Musharraf to provide better security for Ms. Bhutto and other political leaders – I wrote him before her return and after the first assassination attempt in October," Biden said. "The failure to protect Ms. Bhutto raises a lot of hard questions for the government and security services that must be answered."

Clemons said that, both Bhutto and Musharraf were seen by the average Pakistani as US "puppets," but that now the US has no option except Musharraf in trying to quell an increasingly unstable country.

Musharraf himself is believed to be under threat of assassination attempts by foreign extremists because of his perceived closeness to the US. At the same time, he has come under fire from American politicians for not doing enough to root out elements of al Qaeda believed to be hiding in Pakistan.

Whatever happens, a resolution of the turmoil seems farther away that it was Wednesday night, while threats are still prevalent within Pakistan.

"It's going to take time," Clemons said. "And we still have a nuclear Pakistan with Osama bin Laden and [Ayman al-]Zawahiri residing in their country."

12-27-2007, 06:07 PM
This was posted at 911Blogger:


At about the 6 minute mark, Bhutto refers to Omar Sheikh as the man who murdered Osama Bin Laden.

Have you seen/heard this before, Jon?

12-27-2007, 07:03 PM
Council on Foreign Relations says: "Almost Certainly Al Qaeda"


A Pakistan analyst discusses who killed Benazir Bhutto and what her death will mean for Pakistan.

Newsweek Web Exclusive
Updated: 2:43 PM ET Dec 27, 2007

Bruce Riedel, a former defense and intelligence official who helped make South Asia policy in the administrations of George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, says he believes Benazir Bhutto's assassination "was almost certainly the work of Al Qaeda or Al Qaeda's Pakistani allies." He says, "Their objective is to destabilize the Pakistani state, to break up the secular political parties, to break up the army so that Pakistan becomes a politically failing state in which the Islamists in time can come to power much as they have in other failing states." He says the United States should press the government of President Pervez Musharraf to go ahead with the parliamentary elections—perhaps after a brief pause. "The only way that Pakistan is going to be able to fight terrorism effectively is to have a legitimate democratically elected secular government that can rally the Pakistani people to engage Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and other extremist movements," he says.

Let's start with an obvious question. In the aftermath of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, who do you think was responsible?
It was almost certainly the work of Al Qaeda or Al Qaeda's Pakistani allies. Al Qaeda has been trying to kill Ms. Bhutto for decades. She has been the target of assassination attempts by Al Qaeda before. They were most likely responsible for the attack on her when she first returned to Pakistan. Their objective is to destabilize the Pakistani state, to break up the secular political parties, to break up the army so that Pakistan becomes a politically failing state in which the Islamists in time can come to power, much as they have in other failing states where Al Qaeda knows its chances for success are higher.

There is supposed to be a parliamentary election on January 8, two weeks away. What will happen? Will they be postponed?
There is a good chance that President Pervez Musharraf will postpone the election, at least temporarily, in part to give Ms. Bhutto's party, the PPP [Pakistan People's Party], a chance to select a new front-runner and to organize itself. If he tries to postpone the election indefinitely, or to in effect shelve them, there will be a very strong backlash in Pakistan because Pakistanis across the political spectrum want an opportunity for elections to produce a new, more legitimate government. I don't think they would find the argument that terrorists killed a leading figure in the democratic movement an appropriate excuse to shelve democracy. We will see soon how Musharraf acts. I hope he will adhere to the principle of elections with a date certain, even if they are postponed temporarily to give the Pakistan People's Party a chance to reorganize.

Do they have an obvious replacement for her?
This party was very much Ms. Bhutto's party. There is no heir apparent on the horizon. They have a significant problem. This might be a boon to the other secular parties, including the one run by Nawaz Sharif. Sharif is clearly not seeking to be elected through this kind of tragedy. He has been an advocate of elections with all political parties running.

Does President Musharraf have a political party?
President Musharraf has a party. It is a splinter of the Sharif party, the Pakistani Muslim League [PML-N]. By most accounts and most polls, [Musharraf's] party will come in very poorly in this election. There is a widespread feeling among Pakistanis that the Musharraf dictatorship has gone on too long. A recent poll (PDF) by the International Republican Institute shows somewhere around two-thirds of Pakistanis would like to see Musharraf step down and give up power now. It [also] suggests that in a fair election, the opposition parties are likely to do very well. But because they are divided, it was unlikely and it remains unlikely that any single opposition party will have a majority in the new national assembly—there would have to be coalition building.

Would the PPP have won outright?
I don't think it would have won a clear majority, but no one knows. Of course another factor is that no election in Pakistani history has ever been entirely free and fair. Every Pakistani election has been tainted by widespread allegations of fraud. It had been expected, even by Ms. Bhutto, that the elections would be tainted by fraud. The question was always going to be whether the level of political machination and rigging of the election would be beyond the pale—that is, so gross and massive that no one would take the election results seriously—or be within the norm of Pakistani politics.

When did you first meet Ms. Bhutto?
My first encounter with Ms. Bhutto was in 1991 when I was working at the White House for President George H.W. Bush as the director for South Asian affairs at the National Security Council. I have seen her again periodically over the years, including when she called on Mrs. Clinton in the second administration when she was in exile. I don't claim to have a personal relationship with her.

Why did she take such risks when she already had been targeted on her first day back in Pakistan?
Ms. Bhutto was the kind of person who believed that it was imperative for her to be in touch with her followers: that she couldn't be a leader of a democratic, secular party and hide from view all the time. It was part of her being the symbol of democracy and of women's rights in a Muslim country that she would be out on the campaign trail. She knew the risks. She knew her own family's tragic history; her father [former Pakistani president, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto] being executed by a previous military dictatorship in 1979; her brother [Murtaza Bhutto] dying in politically motivated violence in 1996.

She knew the risks, but she felt that being a political figure and standing for democracy meant that you had to be out there among the people and you couldn't be hiding. There now will be calls in Pakistan for a thorough investigation of the security around her appearance today and whether the government provided sufficient security. I won't try to preview how this will come out, but there will be a lot of desire to have accountability for the security situation today.

You said earlier that Al Qaeda was responsible, but could it also be military intelligence?
I am sure that conspiracy theories about that will abound in Pakistan. She was widely disliked in the intelligence apparatus, but it was more likely the work of Al Qaeda and its cohorts. Now it is certainly possible that they had penetrated and had sympathizers within the Pakistani security apparatus and had advance knowledge of her movements. It is clear from the Al Qaeda attacks in the past, including on President Musharraf, that Al Qaeda has sympathizers at the highest levels of security, and intelligence which provided information on his movements in the past which facilitated the efforts to kill him.

If you were still working at the White House what advice would you give the president on how the United States should respond?
First, to mourn the loss of the heroic figure. But the more critical point would be to press the Pakistani government to continue to go forward with the elections. The Musharraf government has promised to deliver stability and democracy and today's events are a tragic indication that it has failed to do both. Instead of stability we have acts of terror in the military capital of the country, Rawalpindi. And instead of democracy, we have one of the leading democratic advocates in the Muslim world killed. The only way that Pakistan is going to be able to fight terrorism effectively is to have a legitimate, democratically-elected, secular government that can rally the Pakistani people to engage Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and other extremist movements. The army has failed to do that. The army dictatorship has failed to do so. We should now press for the democratic movement to move forward.

Do you think Sharif will become prime minister?
I don't know. His party has not been tainted by rumors of backroom deals like Bhutto's was. He is doing pretty well among Pakistanis who want a government that will be free of Musharraf and to move against him. But I won't try to predict the outcome of the elections now that we have the new tragedy.

URL: http://www.newsweek.com/id/82153

12-27-2007, 07:36 PM
Looks like Bush's buddy(Musharraf) in Pakistan finally took her out. There goes the competition. The shit could really hit the fan there now.

12-27-2007, 08:28 PM
This was posted at 911Blogger:


At about the 6 minute mark, Bhutto refers to Omar Sheikh as the man who murdered Osama Bin Laden.

Have you seen/heard this before, Jon?

No. Here's the clip.


I'm betting it was probably a mistake, and she meant Daniel Pearl, however, now we'll never know.

12-27-2007, 08:39 PM
This was posted at 911Blogger:


At about the 6 minute mark, Bhutto refers to Omar Sheikh as the man who murdered Osama Bin Laden.

Have you seen/heard this before, Jon?

Shit, Bin Laden was murdered by someone? (supposedly)

Of all the way's he'd go out, that's the way I'd least expect.

12-27-2007, 08:46 PM
Although, if he did somehow murder Osama Bin Laden, that would explain why they refuse to even acknowledge Omar Sheikh here in America. If they did, and he did in fact murder him, and he does something like... mention it, then the spectre of their dreams goes away.

On top of everything else Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh related they don't want to get attention.

12-27-2007, 11:25 PM
Many Had the Desire, Means to Kill Bhutto


By Joby Warrick and Thomas E. Ricks
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, December 28, 2007; Page A15

Even before the official search got underway in Pakistan, U.S. intelligence agencies yesterday were drawing up their own list of possible suspects in the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto -- a list that includes al-Qaeda as well as elements of Pakistan's own intelligence service.

In the initial hours after the slaying, intelligence officials had no firm indication of who was behind the attack and no independent means of verifying any early claims of responsibility. But it was quickly clear that numerous groups possessed both the means of carrying out the assassination and a deep antagonism toward Bhutto and the moderating influences she embodied, according to several current and former officials closely tracking the situation.

At the top of the list, the officials said, is the al-Qaeda terrorist network and its legion of allies, including loosely affiliated groups that espouse similar views and, in some cases, share training facilities and other resources. But several officials said it is equally plausible that the assassination was carried out with the support -- or at least the tacit approval -- of Pakistani government employees. Most of the officials expressed doubt, however, that President Pervez Musharraf himself would have approved the killing.

"There are many Pakistani intelligence types who don't like Benazir Bhutto," said one U.S. official familiar with the country's internal politics. "She had more than her share of detractors throughout the government." At the same time, the official said, the rioting and unrest triggered by the slaying threaten the country's stability in a way that directly undermines the government of Musharraf, who had been her chief political rival.

Some former U.S. intelligence and defense experts said they believe that the assassination marks the beginning of a new and significant Islamic extremist offensive against the government of Pakistan.

"I think they see an opportunity to make Pakistan a new battleground," retired Marine Gen. Anthony C. Zinni said of al-Qaeda and its allies. Zinni -- who dealt often with Musharraf when he was chief of Central Command, the U.S. military headquarters for the Middle East -- said there is "no doubt in my mind" that the culprits are linked to al-Qaeda, which has long-established havens along Pakistan's border with Afghanistan. He said the group was being pressured by recent agreements between the United States, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and "felt they had to do something."

Al-Qaeda possessed the clearest motive for the attack: the destabilization of Pakistan's government, which Osama bin Laden personally called for in a statement addressed to Pakistan's citizens this past fall. "They had means, plenty of martyr wannabes. And they probably had inside information on her route and security," said Bruce Reidel, a former CIA official and onetime member of the National Security Council.

U.S. officials also mentioned as a possible suspect the Sunni group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which has been linked to previous attempts to assassinate Pakistani political figures.

Although Zinni is skeptical of the notion that Pakistani intelligence backed the assassination, other experts saw the hand of Pakistan's military intelligence arm, the Inter-Services Intelligence agency, which supported the Taliban inside Afghanistan until the U.S. invasion in 2001, and is believed to maintain links to Islamic extremist groups.

Andrew Exum, who fought in Afghanistan as a U.S. Army officer and now studies Islamic militant groups at King's College London, said he has "a hard time believing no one in ISI knew about this attack."

In the end, however, the facts may not matter as much as perception, said Barnett R. Rubin, a New York University expert on South Asian affairs. "I know what many people in Pakistan and Afghanistan believe: They think that the Pakistani military killed her," he said. "I am not endorsing this belief -- or denying it -- but it is a political reality."

12-28-2007, 01:31 AM
Bhutto Adviser: Musharraf Is To Blame

By Spencer Ackerman - December 27, 2007, 10:32AM
A longtime adviser and close friend of assassinated Pakistani ex-prime minister Benazir Bhutto places blame for Bhutto's death squarely on the shoulders of U.S.-supported dictator Pervez Musharraf.

After an October attack (http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/2007/10/bhutto_blames_deadly_attack_on.php) on Bhutto's life in Karachi, the ex-prime minister warned "certain individuals in the security establishment [about the threat] and nothing was done," says Husain Haqqani, a confidante of Bhutto's for decades. "There is only one possibility: the security establishment and Musharraf are complicit, either by negligence or design. That is the most important thing. She's not the first political leader killed, since Musharraf took power, by the security forces."

Haqqani notes that Bhutto died of a gunshot wound to the neck. "It's like a hit, not a regular suicide bombing," he says. "It's quite clear that someone who considers himself Pakistan's Godfather has a very different attitude toward human life than you and I do."

As for what comes next: Haqqani doubts that Musharraf will go forward with scheduled elections. "The greatest likelihood is that this was aimed not just aimed at Benazir Bhutto but at weakening Pakistan's push for democracy," he says. "But the U.S. has to think long and hard. Musharraf's position is untenable in Pakistan. More and more people are going to blame him for bringing Pakistan to this point, intentionally or unintentionally. It's very clear that terrorism has increased in Pakistan. It's quite clear that poverty has increased in Pakistan. ... anti-Americanism might come in, as people say, 'You know what, why should we support this [pro-U.S.] regime that has not delivered anything to us?'"

Growing emotional, Haqqani says people should know that "Benazir Bhutto was a very warm person. She was a very strong and courageous person, a very forgiving person. To have gone what she went through -- her father assassinated by one military dictator [General Zia ul-Haq], her two brothers assassinated, no one in the elite fully loyal to her... The whole Pakistani security establishment thinks Pakistan should be governed as a national-security state. She resisted that completely, and that doesn't get seen enough. She questioned their right to govern."

12-28-2007, 08:41 AM
The Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence Agency News Bias

By Jon Gold

Today, sadly, former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto was assassinated. The list of suspects is a long one, but for the purposes of this article, I'm going to focus on one. The Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence agency or, more commonly known within the 9/11 Truth Movement as, the ISI.

There have been all kinds of reports that say they may have had a hand in it.

Guardian reported (http://www.guardian.co.uk/pakistan/Story/0,,2232496,00.html):

"After the October assassination attempt, Bhutto's husband, Asif Ali Zardari, who is in Dubai where the couple had been living in exile, accused members of the Pakistani security services, the ISI. "I blame government for these blasts," he said. "It is the work of the intelligence agencies."

Elements of the ISI sympathise with the Taliban and it was a possibility that "rogue elements" in the intelligence services were involved in the two attacks. The ISI became one of Pakistan's most powerful institutions under General Zia-ul-Haq, the man who launched an Islamisation campaign and who overthrew Bhutto's father and had him hung. After Gen Zia's death in a mysterious plane crash in 1988, the ISI actively campaigned against Bhutto when she entered politics."The London Times reported (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article3100052.ece):

"But fingers will also be pointed at Inter-Services Intelligence, the agency that has had close ties to the Islamists since the 1970s and has been used by successive Pakistani leaders to suppress political opposition. [...] She accused Pakistani authorities of not providing her with sufficient security and hinted that they may have been complicit in the bomb attack. Asif Ali Zardari, her husband, directly accused the ISI of being involved in that attempt on her life. [...]
Analysts say that President Musharraf himself is unlikely to have ordered her assassination, but that elements of the army and intelligence service would have stood to lose money and power if she had become Prime Minister."The Washington Post reported (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/27/AR2007122702261.html):

"Even before the official search got underway in Pakistan, U.S. intelligence agencies yesterday were drawing up their own list of possible suspects in the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto -- a list that includes al-Qaeda as well as elements of Pakistan's own intelligence service. [...] But several officials said it is equally plausible that the assassination was carried out with the support -- or at least the tacit approval -- of Pakistani government employees. [...] Although Zinni is skeptical of the notion that Pakistani intelligence backed the assassination, other experts saw the hand of Pakistan's military intelligence arm, the Inter-Services Intelligence agency, which supported the Taliban inside Afghanistan until the U.S. invasion in 2001, and is believed to maintain links to Islamic extremist groups. [...] "I know what many people in Pakistan and Afghanistan believe: They think that the Pakistani military killed her," he said. "I am not endorsing this belief -- or denying it -- but it is a political reality."
Honestly, I don't know if the ISI was involved. The WPost reported, "At the same time, the official said, the rioting and unrest triggered by the slaying threaten the country's stability in a way that directly undermines the government of Musharraf, who had been her chief political rival."

However, Benazir Bhutto has not been a friend to the ISI. Just in the last week, she accused "Pakistan's Military Intelligence (http://www.yourbbsucks.com/forum/showpost.php?p=91128&postcount=11)" (which I assume is the ISI) of spying on candidates for the election. I'd say they are definitely suspects for the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

It is curious though that the ISI's possible involvement in this assassination is getting so much news coverage, and the ISI's possible involvement in the 9/11 attacks got so very little. At least in the United States.

When it was reported (http://www.yourbbsucks.com/forum/showthread.php?t=15647) that Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh wire transferred $100,000 to Mohammad Atta under the direction of the ISI Chief Lt. General Mahmood Ahmed, the media barely covered it.

When it was reported (http://www.yourbbsucks.com/forum/showthread.php?t=16173) that Lt. General Mahmood Ahmed "lost his job because of the "evidence" India produced to show his links to one of the suicide bombers that wrecked the World Trade Centre", the media barely covered it.

When it was reported (http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Front_Page/FD08Aa01.html) that "a juicy direct connection was also established between Mahmoud and Republican Congressman Porter Gross and Democratic Senator Bob Graham" the media barely covered it.

When it was reported (http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO206A.html) that during the week of 9/11, Lt. General Mahmood Ahmed "held long parleys with unspecified officials at the White House and the Pentagon. But the most important meeting was with Marc Grossman, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs" the media barely covered it.

When Dep. FBI Dir. John S. Pistole testified (http://www.fbi.gov/congress/congress03/pistole073103.htm) before the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs that "a continuing investigation, in coordination with the PENTTBOMB Team, has traced the origin of the funding of 9/11 back to financial accounts in Pakistan, where high-ranking and well-known Al Qa'ida operatives played a major role in moving the money forward, eventually into the hands of the hijackers located in the U.S." the media barely covered it.

When an FO official, Sadiq, reported (http://www.yourbbsucks.com/forum/showthread.php?t=8928) that “Pakistan gave tens of thousands of dollars through its lobbyists in the United States to members of the 9/11 inquiry commission to ‘convince’ them to drop some anti-Pakistan findings in the report" the media barely covered it.

When President Musharraf wrote in his book (http://www.yourbbsucks.com/forum/showthread.php?t=12818&highlight=omar) that Omar Sheikh may have been an MI6 asset, the media barely covered it.

When the Washington Times reported (http://web.archive.org/web/20050211163421/http://www.washtimes.com/upi-breaking/20040726-013340-4811r.htm) that 9/11 Family Member Lorie Van Auken was "irate" that the June 16 commission narrative of the 9/11 attacks did not even mention the allegation about Ahmed's role in the $100,000 transfer to Mohammed Atta", the media barely covered it.

When 9/11 Family Member Bill Doyle reported (http://www.911podcasts.com/files/audio/aj_2006-07-07_clipped.mp3) to Alex Jones that a source told him part of the 28 pages of the Joint Congressional Inquiry talked about the U.S. funneling money into Pakistan, the media barely covered it.

When Mariane Pearl, wife of slain Wall Street Journal Reporter Daniel Pearl, wrote in her book (http://www.yourbbsucks.com/forum/showthread.php?t=15739), "A Mighty Heart" that "I read that the U.S. embassy in Islamabad asked the Pakistani government to hand over Omar on January 21–two days before Danny was kidnapped. The reason given for the U.S. request was that the 1994 kidnapping included an American citizen. But it seems clear to me that the U.S. authorities wanted to follow up on a much more disturbing trail. I read a news report from October that claimed the FBI had found “credible links” between Omar Saeed Sheikh and then director of the ISI Lieutenant General Mahmood Ahmed. It was alleged that it was Ahmed who instructed Omar to wire the $100,000 to Mohammad Atta" the media barely covered it.

When it was reported (http://www.911blogger.com/node/12478) that Osama Bin Laden had a Pakistani ISI "Handling Officer", a person who looks after the welfare of the source, keeps him motivated and uses him as needed" the media barely covered it.

When it was reported (http://www.yourbbsucks.com/forum/showthread.php?t=15027) that “A Pakistani tribal militant group responsible for a series of deadly guerrilla raids inside Iran has been secretly encouraged and advised by American officials since 2005.” […] “Pakistani government sources say the secret campaign against Iran by Jundullah was on the agenda when Vice President Dick Cheney met with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf in February”, and that (http://www.yourbbsucks.com/forum/showthread.php?t=15810) "Pakistan policy is essentially being run from Cheney's office" the media barely covered it.

I understand that the assassination of Benazir Bhutto is devastating news, and that it will probably create a lot of problems for Pakistan, however, I also understand that the murder of 2,973+ people on 9/11 was ALSO devastating news, and created A LOT of problems for America and the rest of the world.

What I don't understand is why the media has a bias against reporting on the Pakistani ISI's alleged role in the 9/11 attacks. Media, maybe you can explain this to us.

12-28-2007, 12:09 PM
*applies Al Qaeda nametag ......see how easy it is to solve these crimes.

12-28-2007, 12:12 PM
Al Qaeda and the ISI are one and the same. So, blaming Al Qaeda isn't entirely incorrect... if the ISI were complicit.

12-28-2007, 01:28 PM
al-Qaida Blamed for Bhutto Assassination


Associated Press Writer
Friday December 28, 2007 5:16 PM

GARHI KHUDA BAKHSH, Pakistan (AP) - Hundreds of thousands of mourners thronged the mausoleum of Pakistan's most famous political dynasty in an outpouring of emotion for Benazir Bhutto. The government said al-Qaida and the Taliban were responsible for her death, claiming it intercepted an al-Qaida leader's message of congratulation for the assassination.

But many of Bhutto's furious supporters blamed President Pervez Musharraf's government for the shooting and bombing attack on the former prime minister, Musharraf's most powerful opponent. They rampaged through several cities in violence that left at least 23 dead less than two weeks before crucial parliamentary elections.

"We have the evidence that al-Qaida and Taliban were behind the suicide attack on Benazir Bhutto," Interior Minister Hamid Nawaz said.

Thursday's attack on Bhutto plunged Pakistan into turmoil and badly damaged plans to restore democracy in this nuclear-armed nation, a key U.S. ally in the war on terror.

Interior Ministry spokesman Javed Iqbal Cheema said that on Friday, the government recorded an "intelligence intercept" in which militant leader Baitullah Mehsud "congratulated his people for carrying out this cowardly act."

Cheema described Mehsud as an "al-Qaida leader" who was also behind the Karachi bomb blast in October against Bhutto that killed more than 140 people. He also announced the formation of two inquiries into Bhutto's death, one to be carried out by a high court judge and another by security forces.

Bhutto was killed Thursday when a suicide attacker shot at her and then blew himself up as she left a rally in Rawalpindi. Authorities initially said she died from bullet wounds, and a surgeon who treated her said she died from the impact of shrapnel on her skull.

But Cheema said she was killed when she tried to duck back into the vehicle, and the shock waves from the blast smashed her head into a lever attached to the sunroof, fracturing her skull, he said.

Cheema said Pakistani security forces would hunt down those responsible for her death: "They will definitely be brought to justice."

He said other senior politicians were also under threat of militant attack, including former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who promised to boycott parliamentary elections on Jan. 8 in response to Bhutto's assassination.

Cheema showed a videotape of the attack, with Bhutto waving, smiling and chatting with supporters from the sunroof as her car sat unmoving on the street outside the rally. Three gunshots rang out, the camera appeared to fall, and the tape ended.

On Friday, Bhutto's supporters ransacked banks, waged shootouts with police and burned trains and stations in a spasm of violence less than two weeks before parliamentary elections.

Soldiers patrolled the streets of the southern cities of Hyderabad and Karachi, witnesses said. At least 23 people were killed in unrest, said Ghulam Mohammed Mohtaram, home secretary for Sindh province.

Prime Minister Mohammedmian Soomro said the government had no immediate plans to postpone Jan. 8 parliamentary elections, despite the growing chaos and a top opposition leader's decision to boycott the poll.

"Right now the elections stand where they were," he told a news conference. "We will consult all the political parties to take any decision about it."

Mourners traveled to Garhi Khuda Bakhsh by tractor, bus, car and jeep. Many crammed inside the mausoleum and threw petals on the coffin. Women beat their heads and chests in grief.

"As long as the moon and sun are alive, so is the name of Bhutto," they chanted.

An Islamic cleric led mourners in prayers and Bhutto's son, Bilawal, and her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, helped lower the coffin beside the grave of her father, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, also a popular former prime minister who met a violent death. Thousands of supporters then filed in to shovel dirt onto the grave.

Some mourners angrily blamed Musharraf, the former army chief, for Bhutto's death, shouting "General, killer!" "Army, killer."

The death of the 54-year-old Bhutto left her party without a clear successor. Her husband, who was freed in December 2004 after eight years in detention on graft charges, is one contender, although he lacks the cachet of a blood relative.

"I don't know what will happen to the country now," said Nazakat Soomro, 32.

A mob in Karachi looted at least three banks and set them on fire, and engaged in a shootout with police that left three officers wounded, police said.

About 7,000 people in the central city of Multan ransacked seven banks and a gas station and threw stones at police, who responded with tear gas. In the capital, Islamabad, about 100 protesters burned tires in a commercial district.

Paramilitary rangers were given the authority to use live fire against rioters in southern Pakistan, said Maj. Asad Ali, the rangers' spokesman.

"We have orders to shoot on sight," he said.

Earlier, mobs burned 10 railway stations and several trains across Bhutto's Sindh province, forcing the suspension of all train service between the city of Karachi and the eastern Punjab province, said Mir Mohammed Khaskheli, a senior railroad official.

The rioters uprooted one section of the track leading to India, he said.

About 4,000 Bhutto supporters rallied in the northwestern city of Peshawar and several hundred ransacked the empty office of the main pro-Musharraf party, burning furniture and stationery.

Protesters shouted "Musharraf dog" and "Bhutto was alive yesterday, Bhutto is alive today." Dozens of police in riot gear followed the protesters but did not intervene.

In other violence, a roadside bomb killed a local leader from the ruling party and six of his associates as they drove through Swat in northwestern Pakistan, where troops have been fighting followers of a pro-Taliban cleric in recent months, said Mohib Ullah, a local police official.

Many cities were nearly deserted as businesses closed and public transportation came to a halt at the start of three days of national mourning for Bhutto.

"The repercussions of her murder will continue to unfold for months, even years," read a mournful editorial in the Dawn newspaper. "What is clear is that Pakistan's political landscape will never be the same, having lost one of its finest daughters."

Dr. Mussadiq Khan, a surgeon who treated Bhutto, said Friday that she died from shrapnel that hit her on the right side of the skull. Bhutto had no heartbeat or pulse when she arrived at the hospital and doctors failed to resuscitate her, he said.

Soomro, the prime minister, told the Cabinet on Friday that Bhutto's husband did not allow an autopsy, according to a government statement.

After the killing, Sharif, another former premier and leader of a rival opposition party, announced his party would boycott the elections.

"I am worried about the country, about the people. Nobody is secure, there is total insecurity," Sharif said.

Opposition politician and former cricket star Imran Khan blamed Musharraf for Bhutto's death, saying he did not give her proper security. Speaking to reporters in Mumbai, India, where he was on a private visit, he called on the president to resign and for an independent judicial probe into her death.

Bhutto, whose party has long been popular among Pakistan's legions of poor, served two terms as prime minister between 1988 and 1996. Both elected governments were toppled amid accusations of corruption and mismanagement, but she was respected in the West for her liberal outlook and determination to combat Islamic extremism.

12-28-2007, 01:33 PM
Police abandoned security posts before Bhutto assassination

http://rawstory.com/news/2007/Police_abandoned_security_posts_before_Bhutto_1228 .html

Nick Juliano
Published: Friday December 28, 2007

Police abandoned their security posts shortly before Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto's assassination Thursday, according to a journalist present at the time, and unanswerable questions remain about the cause of her death, because an autopsy was never performed.

Pakistan's Interior Minister on Friday said that Bhutto was not killed by gunshots, as had been widely reported, and doctors at Rawalpindi General Hospital, where she died, say there were no bullet marks on the former prime minister's body, according to India's IBNLive.com. Furthermore, according to the news agency, there was no formal autopsy performed on Bhutto's body before she was buried Friday.

CNN is now reporting that it wasn't gunshots or shrapnel that killed Bhutto, but that she died from hitting the sunroof of the car she was riding in. The network said sources in Pakistan's Interior Ministry said nothing entered her skull, no bullets or shrapnel.

Apparently there was some kind of lever on the sunroof she was standing through, and she hit her head on that CNN reported Friday morning.

Earlier in the day Interior Minister Hamid Nawaz told a Pakistani news channel, “The report says she had head injuries – an irregular patch – and the X-ray doesn’t show any bullet in the head. So it was probably the shrapnel or any other thing has struck her in her said. That damaged her brain, causing it to ooze and her death. The report categorically says there’s no wound other than that," according to IBNLive.

Perhaps more shockingly, an attendee at the rally where Bhutto was killed says police charged with protecting her "abandoned their posts," leaving just a handful of Bhutto's own bodyguards protecting her.

"Police officers had frisked the 3,000 to 4,000 people attending Thursday's rally when they entered the park, but as the speakers from Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party droned on, the police abandoned many of their posts," wrote Saeed Shah in an essay published by McClatchy News Service. "As she drove out through the gate, her main protection appeared to be her own bodyguards, who wore their usual white T-shirts inscribed: 'Willing to die for Benazir.'"

While some intelligence officials, especially within the US, were quick to finger al Qaeda militants as responsible for Bhutto's death, it remains unclear precisely who was responsible and some speculation has centered on Pakistan's intelligence service, the ISI, its military or even forces loyal to the current president Pervez Musharraf. Rawalpindi, where Bhutto was killed, is the garrison city that houses the Pakistani military's headquarters.

"GHQ (general headquarters of the army) killed her," Sardar Saleem, a former member of parliament, told Shah at the hospital.

Whatever the case, Bhutto's precise cause of death may never be known because of the failure to administer an autopsy. The procedure was not carried out because police and local authorities in Rawalpindi did not request one, according to IBNLive, but the government plans a formal investigation why this was the case.

Musharraf initially blamed her death on unnamed Islamic militants, but Interior Minister Hamid Nawaz told The Associated Press on Friday that "we have the evidence that al-Qaida and the Taliban were behind the suicide attack on Benazir Bhutto."

He said investigators had resolved the "whole mystery" behind the opposition leader's killing and would give details at press conference later Friday.

12-28-2007, 01:36 PM
a la JFK.

12-28-2007, 02:12 PM
I call shenanigans (http://www.yourbbsucks.com/forum/shenanigans.mp3).

12-28-2007, 02:25 PM
a la JFK.

Yep (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XY02Qkuc_f8).

12-29-2007, 12:09 AM
U.S. to maintain its policy toward Pakistan, for now


Last update: December 28, 2007 - 8:20 PM

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration is counting on Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf going ahead with upcoming parliamentary elections despite Benazir Bhutto's assassination in the hope they will cement steps toward restoring democracy.

Proceeding on or about on schedule with the Jan. 8 election through which Bhutto hoped to return to power is the biggest immediate concern in sustaining a U.S. policy of promoting stability, moderation and democracy in the nation, U.S. officials said Friday.

Although Bhutto's death complicates U.S. efforts to broker reconciliation between the opposition and an increasingly unpopular Musharraf, a key ally in the war on terrorism, her passing is unlikely to prompt any major strategy shift or cuts in U.S. aid, the officials said. The United States has pumped nearly $10 billion in aid into Pakistan since 9/11.

President Bush made the points in a meeting held via secure video link from Crawford, Texas, the White House said. "The president told his senior national security team that the United States needs to support democracy in Pakistan and help Pakistan in its struggle against extremism and terrorism," spokesman Scott Stanzel said.

Other officials conceded the administration has little choice but to stay the course. "There are not a lot of alternatives out there," said one.

They said their main concerns now are the elections taking place, how Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party will fare, and if it can sustain itself in parliament without her.

The State Department said its team in Washington, Islamabad and other Pakistani cities had been in close touch with representatives of the "broad political spectrum."

12-29-2007, 12:08 PM
Militants, Bhutto Aides Allege Cover-Up


By RAVI NESSMAN – 1 hour ago

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) — An Islamic militant group said Saturday it had no link to Benazir Bhutto's killing and the opposition leader's aides accused the government of a cover-up, disputing the official account of her death.

The government stood firmly by its account of Thursday's assassination and insisted it needed no foreign help in any investigation.

"This is not an ordinary criminal matter in which we require assistance of the international community. I think we are capable of handling it," said Interior Ministry spokesman Javed Iqbal Cheema.

Bhutto's aides said they doubted militant commander Baitullah Mehsud was behind the attack on the opposition leader and said the government's claim that she died when she hit her head on the sunroof of her vehicle was "dangerous nonsense."

Cheema said the government's account was based on "nothing but the facts"

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton called for an independent, international investigation into Bhutto's death — perhaps by the United Nations — saying Friday there was "no reason to trust the Pakistani government."

Attackers opened fire at a motorcade of Bhutto's supporters as they returned to Karachi after her funeral, killing one man and wounding two, said Waqar Mehdi, a spokesman for Bhutto's party. The government said mass rioting has killed 38 people and caused tens of millions of dollars in damage.

In Rawalpindi, thousands of Bhutto supporters spilled onto the streets after a prayer ceremony for her, throwing stones and clashing with police who fired tear gas to try and subdue the crowd.

President Pervez Musharraf told his top security officials that those looting and plundering "must be dealt with firmly and all measures be taken to ensure (the) safety and security of the people," the Associated Press of Pakistan reported.

Pakistan's election commission called an emergency meeting for Monday to discuss the violence's impact on Jan. 8 parliamentary elections.

Nine election offices in Bhutto's home province of Sindh in the south were burned to the ground, along with voter rolls and ballot boxes, the commission said in a statement. The violence also hampered the printing of ballot papers, training of poll workers and other pre-election logistics, the statement said.

The U.S. government, which sees nuclear-armed Pakistan as a crucial ally in the war on terror, has pushed Musharraf to keep the election on track to promote stability, moderation and democracy in Pakistan, American officials said.

Prime Minister Mohammedmian Soomro said Friday the government had no immediate plans to postpone the election, despite the violence and the decision by Nawaz Sharif, another opposition leader, to boycott the poll.

Bhutto's Pakistan Peoples Party also called a meeting Sunday to decide whether to participate in the vote. Her widower, Asif Ali Zardari, told the British Broadcasting Corp. that their son would read a message left by Bhutto and addressed to the party in event of her death.

Roads across Bhutto's southern Sindh province were littered with burning vehicles, smoking reminders of the continuing chaos since her assassination Thursday. Factories, stores and restaurants were set ablaze in Pakistan's biggest city, Karachi, where 17 people have been killed and dozens injured, officials said.

Army, police and paramilitary troops patrolled the nearly deserted streets of Bhutto's home city of Larkana, where rioting left shops at a jewelry market smoldering.

The government blamed Bhutto's killing on al-Qaida and Taliban militants operating with increasing impunity in the lawless tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan. It released a transcript Friday of a purported conversation between Mehsud and another militant, apparently discussing the assassination.

"It was a spectacular job. They were very brave boys who killed her," Mehsud said, according to the transcript.

But a spokesman for Mehsud, Maulana Mohammed Umer, denied the militant was involved in the attack and dismissed the allegations as "government propaganda."

"The fact is that we are only against America, and we don't consider political leaders of Pakistan our enemy," he said in a telephone call he made to The Associated Press from the tribal region of South Waziristan, adding that he was speaking on instructions from Mehsud.

Cheema said the government had evidence to back its claim.

"I don't think anybody has the capability to carry out such suicide attacks except for those people," he said.

Bhutto's Pakistan Peoples Party accused the government of trying to frame Mehsud, saying the militant — through emissaries — had previously told Bhutto he was not involved in the Karachi bombing.

"The story that al-Qaida or Baitullah Mehsud did it appears to us to be a planted story, an incorrect story, because they want to divert the attention," said Farhatullah Babar, a spokesman for Bhutto's party.

After the Karachi attack, Bhutto accused elements in the ruling pro-Musharraf party of plotting to kill her. The government denied the claims. Babar said Bhutto's allegations were never investigated.

Bhutto was killed Thursday evening when a suicide attacker shot at her and then blew himself up as she left a rally in the garrison city of Rawalpindi near Islamabad. The attack killed about 20 others as well. Authorities initially said she died from bullet wounds, and a surgeon who treated her said the impact from shrapnel on her skull killed her.

But Cheema said she was killed when she tried to duck back into the armored vehicle during the attack, and the shock waves from the blast smashed her head into a lever attached to the sunroof, fracturing her skull, he said.

"We gave you absolute facts, nothing but the facts," he said. "It was corroborated by the doctors' report. It was corroborated by the evidence collected."

Bhutto's spokeswoman Sherry Rehman, who was in the vehicle with her boss, disputed the government's version.

"To hear that Ms. Bhutto fell from an impact from a bump on a sunroof is absolutely rubbish. It is dangerous nonsense, because it implies there was no assassination attempt," she told the BBC.

"There was a clear bullet wound at the back of the neck. It went in one direction and came out another," she said. "My entire car is coated with her blood, my clothes, everybody — so she did not concuss her head against the sun roof."

The government said it was forming two inquiries into Bhutto's death, one to be carried out by a high court judge and another by security forces.

12-29-2007, 12:09 PM
"Hillary Rodham Clinton called for an independent, international investigation into Bhutto's death"

Hillary dear, I've got news for you. We have NO REASON to trust the United States Government either. Therefore, we should have an "independent, international investigation" into the 9/11 attacks.

12-29-2007, 12:52 PM
Revealed: Pakistan hosed away scene after Bhutto attack
May have violated law by skipping autopsy

http://rawstory.com/news/2007/New_suspicious_surround_Bhutto_death_over_1229.htm l

John Byrne
Published: Saturday December 29, 2007

Despite official reports by Pakistan's interior ministry claiming that the government had intercepted congratulatory messages sent by al Qaeda surrounding the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, a motley of strange occurrences has sparked new suspicion of the government's official story.

On Friday, doctors at Rawalpindi General Hospital, where she died, said that Bhutto had been killed by shrapnel to the head from an explosion, not by two bullets that Bhutto supporters cited in the aftermath of the attack. Bhutto, 54, was killed as in the aftermath of a shooting and suicide bombing as she left a political rally in the city of Rawalpindi.

The government soon changed their story, saying she'd been killed by hitting the sunroof of her LandCruiser after she'd stood up to wave to a crowd. Doctors said there were no bullet marks on the former prime minister's body, and released a limited x-ray of what they said was her skull.

More alarming, however, to Bhutto supporters was the fact no autopsy was conducted prior to burial. The official line -- according to Pakistan's interim prime minister Mohammadmian Soomro -- was that Bhutto's husband had insisted no autopsy be performed.

But according to veteran lawyer Athar Minallah who spoke to McClatchy Newspapers Friday, "an autopsy is mandatory under Pakistan's criminal law in a case of this nature."

"It is absurd, because without autopsy it is not possible to investigate," Minallah told McClatchy's Saeed Shah and Warren Strobel in a little publicized piece. "Is the state not interested in reaching the perpetrators of this heinous crime or there was a cover-up?"

Autopsies are generally not conducted in Islam unless ordered by a court, because the religion calls for burial as quickly as possible. It's unclear whether Bhutto's circumstances would have warranted an exception.

According to the reporters, "the scene of the attack also was watered down with a high-pressure hose within an hour, washing away evidence."

Shah, who reported from the scene Thursday, wrote in a second piece that police rangers charged with protecting her "abandoned their posts" shortly before the bombing, leaving just a handful of Bhutto's own bodyguards protecting her.

"Police officers had frisked the 3,000 to 4,000 people attending Thursday's rally when they entered the park, but as the speakers from Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party droned on, the police abandoned many of their posts," Shah wrote. "As she drove out through the gate, her main protection appeared to be her own bodyguards, who wore their usual white T-shirts inscribed: 'Willing to die for Benazir.'"

Some of Bhutto's supporters were suspect of the "sunroof theory."

A "senior official" of Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party called the claim "false," saying he'd seen at least two bullet marks on her body after the attack.

"It was a targeted, planned killing," BPP's Babar Awan said. "The firing was from more than one side."

Another newspaper also asserted witnesses saw her shot.

Multiple reports said Bhutto had shown disregard for her personal safety by waving to the crowd.

"In her enthusiasm, she got carried away, and exposed herself in ways" she shouldn't have, a former State Department official told Shah.

Pakistan indicated Saturday it would delay January elections because of turmoil caused by Bhutto's death. Protests and looting have left at least 38 people dead.

12-29-2007, 12:53 PM
Pakistan says turmoil after Bhutto death could delay vote


Published: Saturday December 29, 2007

Pakistan indicated Saturday it would delay January elections because of turmoil caused by the death of Benazir Bhutto, as a bitter dispute erupted over how the opposition leader was killed.

Violent protests and looting which have left at least 33 people dead have rocked the nation of 160 million Muslims since Bhutto was assassinated at a campaign rally in the northern city of Rawalpindi on Thursday.

The United States and Western powers have urged Pakistan to commit to the democratic process in the aftermath of her death, but leading opposition figure Nawaz Sharif has already said his party would boycott the polls.

Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party, which has accused the government of trying to cover up her death, has said it will take a decision on Sunday on whether to take part in the parliamentary elections scheduled for January 8.

The crisis-hit country's election commission said it would hold an urgent meeting on Monday to decide the election's fate, but it indicated a delay could be on the cards.

"All activities pertaining to pre-poll arrangements, including printing of ballot papers and logistics as well as training of polling personnel, have been adversely affected," it said in a statement.

In some places, the commission said, the security situation was "not conducive" to holding the elections which Bhutto had come home from exile in October to contest.

It cited the death of an election candidate in a bomb blast and said election commission offices in nine districts had been set on fire and that voter lists had been "reduced to ashes".

The polls would lack credibility without the participation of Bhutto's PPP, which has been infuriated by the government's official account of their leader's death.

Bhutto died after a suicide attack targetted her vehicle at a campaign rally in the northern city of Rawalpindi. Early reports and witnesses said she had been shot before a bomb exploded nearby.

However the interior ministry said she had no gunshot or shrapnel wounds. It said the opposition leader died after smashing her head on her car's sunroof as she tried to duck.

The ministry also blamed Al-Qaeda, saying intelligence services had intercepted a call from Baitullah Mehsud, considered the extremist group's top leader for Pakistan.

Senior members of Bhutto's party dismissed the government's version of events as "lies".

"There was a bullet wound I saw that went in from the back of her head and came out the other side," Bhutto's spokeswoman Sherry Rehman, who was involved in washing her body for burial, told AFP.

"This is ridiculous, dangerous nonsense because it is a cover-up of what actually happened," said Rehman.

Farooq Naik, Bhutto's lawyer and a senior PPP official, said Bhutto had a second bullet wound in the abdomen.

Bhutto was an outspoken critic of Al-Qaeda-linked militants blamed for scores of bombings in Pakistan and had received threats.

But she had also accused elements from the intelligence services of involvement in a suicide attack on a Bhutto rally in October that left 139 dead and which she only narrowly escaped.

Maulana Omar, a spokesman for alleged Al-Qaeda kingpin Mehsud, denied involvement in the attack and expressed grief over Bhutto's death.

"This is a conspiracy of the government, army and intelligence agencies," said the spokesman from Waziristan, a lawless tribal region where Al-Qaeda leaders, including possibly Osama bin Laden, are alleged to be hiding.

One day after Bhutto was laid to rest at her family's mausoleum in southern Sindh province, Pakistan was virtually paralysed with most people unable to buy food or petrol, with all shops, fuel stations, banks and offices closed down.

The streets of the country's main cities -- Karachi, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore and Peshawar -- were largely empty, and in many places there was evidence of violence and looting.

Analysts warned that Pakistan was facing its biggest crisis since Bangladesh split off from the country more than 35 years ago.

"We are heading towards a very uncertain phase of politics which has the potential to plunge the country into a state of anarchy," Hasan Askari, former head of political science at Lahore's Punjab University, told AFP.

The assassination has also thrust security concerns and foreign policy back into the US political spotlight less than a week before Americans start voting to decide their Democratic and Republican presidential candidates.

Leading democratic candidate Hillary Clinton called for an independent, international probe into Bhutto's murder, saying Musharraf's government had no credibility.

"I think it's critically important that we get answers and really those are due first and foremost to the people of Pakistan," Clinton said.

Bhutto was buried on Friday with hundreds of thousands of grief-stricken mourners following her coffin on the final journey to the family's mausoleum in the village of Ghari Khuda Bakhsh.

Educated at Harvard and Oxford, Bhutto first took the helm of Pakistan in 1988. She was ousted in 1990 amid corruption allegations but was premier again from 1993 to 1996.

She has been buried next to her father Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, a former premier who was hanged by the military government in 1979.

12-29-2007, 12:57 PM
Row breaks out over Benazir Bhutto's death


By Isambard Wilkinson, Pakistan Correspondent, and Bonnie Malkin
Last Updated: 2:57am GMT 29/12/2007

The burial of Benzair Bhutto was today marred by heavy violence across Pakistan as a bitter row broke out over how she died.

As hundreds of thousands mourned the murdered opposition leader, the country's Interior Ministry claimed she had died from hitting her vehicle's sunroof when she tried to duck after a suicide attack.

However, one of Miss Bhutto's aide rejected the government's explanation of her death as a "pack of lies".

Brigadier Javed Cheema, a ministry spokesman, said Miss Bhutto had died from a head wound she sustained when she smashed against the sunroof's lever as she tried to shelter inside the car.

"The lever struck near her right ear and fractured her skull," Mr Cheema said.

But the explanation was ridiculed by Farooq Naik, Miss Bhutto's top lawyer and a senior official in her Pakistan People's Party.

"It is baseless. It is a pack of lies," he said.

"Two bullets hit her, one in the abdomen and one in the head. It was a serious security lapse."

The dispute came as Pakistani security forces were given orders to shoot on sight in an attempt to curb unrest as millions across the country mourned Miss Bhutto.

The former prime minister and leading opposition figure was laid to rest in her family's mausoleum a day after her assassination by Islamic extremists.

Her simple coffin, draped in the red, green and black flag of her Pakistan People's Party, was greeted by huge crowds at her ancestral grave in the village of Garhi Khuda Bakhsh in the southern province of Sind.

Accompanied by her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, and three children, her body was carried in a white ambulance as it made its way towards the white Mogulesque mausoleum surrounded by hundreds of thousands of mourners.

As she was being laid to rest alongside the tombs of her father and two brothers, her furious supporters across the country ransacked banks, waged shootouts with police and burned stations in a spasm of violence that threatened to plunge the country into deep turmoil less than two weeks before a crucial election.

Paramilitary rangers were given the authority to use live rounds to stop rioters from damaging property in southern Pakistan. "We have orders to shoot on sight," said Major Asad Ali, the rangers' spokesman.

The shooting and suicide bomb attack that killed Miss Bhutto and 20 others has badly damaged President Pervez Musharraf's plans to "restore democracy" in nuclear-armed Pakistan, a key US ally in the war on terrorism.

He has blamed the attack on Islamic militants based near the country's border with Afghanistan, and pledged to "root them out", but an Interior Ministry spokesman today suggested al-Qa'eda may have been responsible.

"Benazir has been on the hit-list of al-Qa'eda," Brigadier Javed Cheema said. "Now there is every possibility that al-Qa'eda is behind this tragic attack to undermine the security of Pakistan."

Later, a ministry spokesman said an al-Qa'eda phone call was intercepted after Miss Bhutto was killed and there was "irrefutable evidence" the group was trying to undermine the country.

The caretaker prime minister, Mohammedmian Soomro, said the government had no immediate plan to postpone the Jan 8 parliamentary elections, but increasingly chaotic scenes and a senior opposition leader's decision to boycott the poll, have put the polls in doubt.

"Right now the elections stand where they were," he said. "We will consult all the political parties to take any decision about it."

Thousands of mourners, many of them women and children, gathered around the Bhutto family's home in Sind. "Benazir is alive, Bhutto is alive," cried many of the mourners.

One of them, Nazakat Soomro, 32, said: "She was not just the leader of the PPP, she was a leader of the whole country. I don't know what will happen to the country now."

A mob in Karachi looted at least three banks and set them on fire, and engaged in a shoot out with police that left three officers wounded, police said.

About 7,000 people in the central city of Multan ransacked seven banks and a petrol station and threw stones at police, who responded with tear gas.

In the capital, Islamabad, about 100 protesters burned tyres in a commercial quarter of the city. Angry mobs burned 10 railway stations and several trains across Sind province, forcing the suspension of all train service between the city of Karachi and the eastern Punjab province, said Mir Mohammed Khaskheli, a senior railway official.

The New York Times reported that the head of the medical college in Rawalpindi who attended to Miss Bhutto, said she was clinically dead on arrival.

Miss Bhutto was shot not far from where Pakistan's first prime minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, was killed by an assassin's bullet on Oct 16, 1951, and near where her father was hanged by the late dictator, General Zia al-Haq.

Dawn, Pakistan's leading broadsheet newspaper, reported: "Benazir Bhutto is dead. She died amidst her supporters who revered her, and her father before her, and from whom she derived her strength, her legitimacy as a leader. She died because the state proved inadequate in protecting her."

The acting head of Miss Bhutto's party, Amin Fahim, admitted that she could have survived the blast if she had not stood up through the sunroof of her vehicle to acknowledge her supporters.

"She fell down in the seat and we thought she was unconscious. She could have survived had she been sitting," said Mr Fahim.

12-29-2007, 01:25 PM
Was It Al Qaeda?
Pakistan's government was quick to blame Al Qaeda and the Taliban for the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, but U.S. officials caution that it's too early to pin the blame on any group in particular.


By Mark Hosenball | Newsweek Web Exclusive
Dec 28, 2007 | Updated: 7:04 p.m. ET Dec 28, 2007

U.S. experts believe that Islamic jihadists with possible connections to Al Qaeda are the most likely perpetrators behind Thursday's assassination of Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto. But counter-terrorism officials warn that U.S. agencies believe it is still to early to pin the blame for the attack on any particular extremist group or faction.

Pakistan's government, led by long-time Bhutto antagonist (and Pakistani President) Pervez Musharraf, has already begun to accuse one specific Islamic militant leader of complicity in the assassination. On Friday, Pakistan's Interior Minister Hamid Nawaz claimed that his government had acquired an ''intelligence intercept'' in which Baitullah Mehsud, an alleged Al Qaeda leader based inside Pakistan, ''congratulated his people for carrying out this cowardly act.''

According to a purported transcript of the intercept reported by the Associated Press, Mehsud was in contact with an associate who described how "our men" had been present at the assassination. Mehsud supposedly replied: "It was a spectacular job. They were very brave boys who killed her."

Two U.S. counter-terrorism officials, who asked for anonymity when discussing the ongoing investigation, said that U.S. agencies so far had no hard evidence to confirm the authenticity of the purported Pakistani intercept. Likewise, the officials said, there is no hard evidence to confirm the role of Mehsud or any other particular Jihadist leader--or any particular Jihadist group or faction--in the Bhutto attack.

By the same token, the officials said, U.S. experts believe that the assassination bears the hallmarks of an attack by jihadists of some kind. The officials noted that both before and after Bhutto's recent return to Pakistan from years of exile, her life had been the object of public threats by assorted militant groups and leaders, not least among them Ayman al-Zawahiri, the principal deputy to the fugitive Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Essentially, the officials said, Bhutto's life had been under constant threat since her return to Pakistan; every time she went out in public she faced possible attack, and jihadist militants were a source of the most virulent threats.

One of the U.S. officials said that while hard evidence was at this point lacking, it is "entirely plausible" that a jihadist leader like Mehsud could have been involved in instigating or organizing the attack. Mehsud is described by the officials as one of the Taliban's most senior leaders inside Pakistan. He supposedly operates from loosely governed tribal areas along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and is believed to be in contact with elements of the Al Qaeda central command, whose leaders, including Zawahiri and bin Laden, are believed to be hiding out in the same rugged region.

But as of late Friday, U.S officials do not regard Mehsud's role in the attack to be confirmed. They say that a whole panoply of jihadist groups or factions could have had roles--major or minor--in the assassination plot, ranging from the top Al Qaeda leadership to groups or cells of internal Pakistani jihadist groups, such as Lashkar e Taiba and Lashkar e Jhangvi, whose contacts with Al Qaeda central command are either murky or tangential.

U.S. officials at the moment seem to be at least generally sympathetic towards the efforts of Musharraf's government to investigate the assassination and are playing down suggestions from Bhutto's followers, amongst others, that the government might have had some complicity in the attack. On the other hand, U.S. officials also acknowledge that there may be validity to complaints from Bhutto supporters about apparently inadequate security precautions which had been set up in connection with her final, fatal public appearance.

Rawalpindi, the city where the assassination occurred, is a military town close to the national capital, Islamabad, where there have been several recent attacks which local authorities have attributed to Islamic militants. Musharraf was in his office at Army Headquarters in Rawalpindi in late October when one of the most recent suicide bombings there occurred.

12-29-2007, 07:22 PM
Pakistanis blame Musharraf for turmoil
Pakistanis Blame Pervez Musharraf for Deepening Turmoil After Slaying of Benazir Bhutto


Dec 29, 2007 14:09 EST

The assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto has pitched Pakistan into a political freefall and raised fears that increasingly bitter divisions in the society are turning the country into another Iraq.

Shocked citizens blame the deepening turmoil on President Pervez Musharraf and his U.S.-backed crackdown on Islamic extremists. Overwhelmingly poor and more concerned with survival than anti-Western terrorism, most crave stability above all, and many believe things will only get better if Musharraf resigns.

"The government of Musharraf has created an Afghanistan and Iraq-like situation in our country," said Zaheer Ahmad, 47, who works at a private clinic in Multan. "I don't know who killed Benazir Bhutto. But I do know that it is the result of Musharraf's wrong and bad policies."

While many Pakistanis want him gone, there is no consensus on who could replace Musharraf — or whether anyone can unify the country's bickering political factions.

The suicide attack that killed Bhutto on Thursday has unleashed a maelstrom of anger among her supporters and three days of unrest have left more than 40 dead and tens of millions of dollars in damage. In some cities, security forces are now authorized to shoot rioters on sight.

Her killing has also deepened the sense that the rule of law, let alone prospects for democracy after eight years of authoritarian rule under Musharraf, are now in danger.

Bhutto was the leader of the biggest secular political party and lionized by the rural poor.

Although her strongest support came from her home province of Sindh, she was perhaps unique in Pakistan for having national appeal across ethnic and religious divides, including among the moderate Muslim majority and minority Christians and Hindus.

There is an alarming gap between Pakistan's rich elite — which she belonged to — and the majority of the 160 million people with a per capita annual income of just $720.

Critics derided her a political opportunist, tainted by corruption allegations during her two terms in office. Nevertheless, her passing has left a vacuum in Pakistani politics.

The most natural successor to Bhutto is another former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, who leads the other main opposition party.

Sharif is more conservative than Bhutto and rose to political prominence under a former military regime. It appears very unlikely he could coexist with Musharraf, who toppled him in a 1999 coup.

He has demanded Musharraf's resignation and has vowed to take vengeance against the "rulers" for Bhutto's killing.

The U.S. is pressing for Jan. 8 parliamentary elections to be held on time, but few in Pakistan believe that is a panacea for the current crisis.

"The most important question in Pakistan's politics is how to overcome the menace of religious extremists who want to impose themselves on society by force," said journalism professor Mehdi Hasan. "Unless there is a consensus on that, holding elections and democracy cannot change the situation in Pakistan."

Musharraf's Western allies have supported his leadership as a stabilizing force because of his control of the powerful military and his willingness to take on Islamic extremists. But he is now a divisive figure among his countrymen, unlikely to achieve national reconciliation.

He has largely alienated mainstream secular parties, whose support he needs to fight militancy. And with violence skyrocketing, he has lost the confidence of the public.

His promises to restore democracy have little currency, particularly after he declared a state of emergency this fall and purged the Supreme Court when it challenged his dominance. A poll conducted by the International Republican Institute last month found 72 percent of respondents opposed Musharraf's recent re-election to the presidency for a new five-year term.

"He is deadlocked with the political forces, deadlocked with the judiciary and deadlocked with civil society. He is now a huge part of the problem," said analyst Shafqat Mahmood, who once served as a Bhutto spokesman.

Yet Musharraf has his supporters.

Many Pakistanis empathize with his moderate view of Islam — a counterpoint to the fundamentalism espoused by militants. Inflation has hit Pakistanis hard, but his government has pushed forward development projects and presided over strong economic growth.

Some rural dwellers say banditry in the countryside has been suppressed during his rule. Some Pakistanis also admire his bravery in confronting the al-Qaida militants who twice came close to killing him. And there is respect for his follow through on one major promise, giving up direct command of the army.

Yet after years of military rule and political meddling by Pakistan's secretive intelligence agencies, people instinctively disbelieve the government, whether on its promises to hold free and fair elections or over its explanations over how Bhutto was killed and by whom.

Above all, the vast majority of Pakistanis reject Musharraf's assertions that his alliance with the Bush administration is good for Pakistan. Most believe the government has only made things worse by launching offensives against Taliban and al-Qaida militants along the Afghan border, inviting a blizzard of retaliatory suicide attacks on security forces, their families and political leaders.

"After the killing of Benazir Bhutto, the future of Pakistan is in danger," said Baba Ali Asghar, a 60-year-old shop owner who closed his store in the central city of Multan because of the street violence following Bhutto's death.

"We beg President Pervez Musharraf to resign and give someone else the chance to run the government," he said. "It is the only solution."

12-29-2007, 09:08 PM
Bin Laden issues warning on Iraq, Israel
Osama Bin Laden Issues Warning on Iraq, Israel in New Audiotape to Unify al-Qaida


Dec 29, 2007 17:30 EST

Osama bin Laden warned Iraq's Sunni Arabs against fighting al-Qaida and vowed to expand the terror group's holy war to Israel in a new audiotape Saturday, threatening "blood for blood, destruction for destruction."

Most of the 56-minute tape dealt with Iraq, apparently al-Qaida's latest attempt to keep supporters in Iraq unified at a time when the U.S. military claims to have al-Qaida's Iraq branch on the run.

The tape did not mention Pakistan or the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, though Pakistan's government has blamed al-Qaida and the Taliban for her death on Thursday. That suggested the tape was made before the assassination.

Bin Laden's comments offered an unusually direct attack on Israel, stepping up al-Qaida's attempts to use the Israeli-Arab conflict to rally supporters. Israel has warned of growing al-Qaida activity in Palestinian territory, though terror network is not believed to have taken a strong role there so far.

"We intend to liberate Palestine, the whole of Palestine from the (Jordan) river to the sea," he said, threatening "blood for blood, destruction for destruction."

"We will not recognize even one inch for Jews in the land of Palestine as other Muslim leaders have," bin Laden said.

In Iraq, a number of Sunni Arab tribes in western Anbar province have formed a coalition fighting al-Qaida-linked insurgents that U.S. officials credit for deeply reducing violence in the province. The U.S. military has been working to form similar "Awakening Councils" in other areas of Iraq.

Bin Laden said Sunni Arabs who have joined the Awakening Councils "have betrayed the nation and brought disgrace and shame to their people. They will suffer in life and in the afterlife."

White House spokesman Tony Fratto said bin Laden's tape shows that al-Qaida's aim is to block democracy and freedom for all Iraqis.

"It also reminds us that the mission to defeat al-Qaida in Iraq is critically important and must succeed," Fratto said. "The Iraqi people — every day, and in increasing numbers — are choosing freedom and standing against the murderous, hateful ideology of AQI. And we stand with them."

Several hours before the tape was issued, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, said al-Qaida was becoming increasingly fearful of losing the support of Sunni Arabs and had begun targeting the leaders of the Awakening Councils.

Petraeus said al-Qaida attaches "enormous importance" to "these tribes that have turned against them, and to the general sense that Sunni Arab communities have rejected them more and more around Iraq."

"They are trying to counter this and they have done so by attacking them," which is increasingly turning Sunnis against al-Qaida, he said.

In the audiotape, bin Laden denounced Abdul-Sattar Abu Risha, the former leader of the Anbar Awakening Council, who was killed in a September bombing claimed by al-Qaida.

"The most evil of the traitors are those who trade away their religion for the sake of their mortal life," bin Laden said.

Bin Laden said U.S. and Iraqi officials are seeking to set up a "national unity government" joining the country's Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds.

"Our duty is to foil these dangerous schemes, which try to prevent the establishment of an Islamic state in Iraq, which would be a wall of resistance against American schemes to divide Iraq," he said.

He called on Iraq's Sunni Arabs to rally behind the Islamic State of Iraq, the insurgent umbrella group led by al-Qaida. Besides the Awakening Councils, some Sunni insurgent groups that continue to fight the Americans have rejected the Islamic State.

Bin Laden said Sunnis should pledge their allegiance to Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, the little known "emir" or leader of the Islamic State of Iraq. U.S. officials have claimed that al-Baghdadi does not exist, saying al-Qaida created the name to give its coalition the illusion of an Iraqi leadership.

"Failure to give allegiance to the emir after he has been endorsed leads to great evils," bin Laden warned. "Emir Abu Omar would rather have his neck severed than betray the Muslims ... Emir Abu Omar and his brothers are not one of those who accept compromise or meeting the enemy halfway."

The authenticity of the tape could not be independently confirmed. But the voice resembled that of bin Laden. The tape was posted on an Islamic militant Web site where al-Qaida's media arm, Al-Sahab, issues the group's messages.

The tape was the fifth message released by bin Laden this year, a flurry of activity after he went more than a year without issuing any tapes. The messages began with a Sept. 8 video that showed bin Laden for the first time in nearly three years. The other messages this year have been audiotapes.

In an October tape, bin Laden sought to patch up splits between Iraqi insurgent factions, urging them to unite with the Islamic State of Iraq — the insurgent coalition led by al-Qaida. He took a conciliatory stance, chiding even al-Qaida's followers for being too "extremist" in their positions toward other insurgents.

Bin Laden's deputy Ayman al-Zawahri took a sharper tone in a Dec. 16 video, branding as "traitors" those who work with the anti-Qaida tribal councils and calling for Sunnis to purge anyone cooperating with the Americans.

12-30-2007, 01:48 AM


THE warlord accused of ordering Benazir Bhutto’s death is also hiding Osama bin Laden from justice, intelligence experts believe.

Al-Qaida boss Baitullah Mehsud yesterday denied he was behind the assassination of Bhutto, which has plunged Pakistan into chaos.

But spy agencies say he is harbouring the September 11 mastermind in his home territory of South Waziristan.

Mehsud, 32, said he could not have ordered the death of Bhutto because he “respects women”.

Yet he had previously boasted that he would send a fleet of suicide bombers against the leader of the Pakistan People’s Party.

His spokesman Maulvi Omar said yesterday: “I strongly deny any involvement. Tribal people have their customs. We don’t strike women.”

As for Bin Laden, the world’s most wanted man, experts now believe the al-Qaida boss is holed up in the region that Mehsud rules with an iron fist.

And Mehsud, pictured below signing a controversial peace deal with President Musharraf’s government, is also thought to be behind attacks on British troops in southern Afghanistan.

I strongly deny any involvement. Tribal people have their customs. We don’t strike women
Maulvi Omar

Yesterday Pakistani authorities repeated their belief that Mehsud ordered Bhutto’s death. Interior ministry spokesman Javed Iqbal Cheema said: “We have the evidence that he is involved. Why should he accept that he has done it? It does not suit him to do so.

“I don’t think anybody else has the capacity to carry out such suicide attacks – except for these people.”

But many Pakistanis believe their own government had a hand in the slaying.

Official claims that Bhutto died after banging her head on a sunroof lever – rather than by bomb or bullet – is “a cover-up” say her supporters.

A PPP spokesman said: “The government is trying to cover up its own failure.”

At least 44 people have been killed in rioting following Bhutto’s death on Thursday and tens of millions of pounds of damage has been caused.

Three Bhutto supporters in a Karachi mob were shot dead by masked gunmen.

Rioters destroyed 176 banks, 72 train carriages and 18 railway stations and sprung more than 100 prisoners from jail – and January 8 elections are now thought likely to be postponed.

A million Brits have family links with Pakistan and the UK does business worth £1billion a year with the country.

Pakistan expert Professor Anatol Lieven said: “Pakistan is here in Britain and the consequences of that for British lives and the stability of British society could become extremely dangerous.”

12-30-2007, 12:43 PM
Does the assassination change the way anyone here views the timing of this announcement (http://www.yourbbsucks.com/forum/showthread.php?t=18023)?

12-30-2007, 07:33 PM
Video: 'The most conclusive evidence' Bhutto was shot

http://rawstory.com/news/2007/Video_The_most_conclusive_evidence_Bhutto_1230.htm l

David Edwards and Katie Baker
Published: Sunday December 30, 2007

On Sunday, UK's Channel 4 news broadcasted a new video of the Bhutto assassination which they say "provides the most conclusive evidence yet that Benazir Bhutto was shot."

Although the Pakistani government officially claims that Bhutto died from hitting her head on the sunroof as she ducked into her car, evidence in the video drastically contradicts that account.

The video shows a large crowd swarming around Bhutto's car. A clean-shaven man in sunglasses is visibly watching, concealing a gun; behind him stands the suspected suicide bomber dressed in white. As the video rolls, the man in sunglasses moves closer to Bhutto's car and fires three shots. Directly after, the suicide bomber detonates his device and chaos ensues.

Reporter Jonathan Rugman points out how, as the gunman fires, Bhutto's hair is lifted and her shawl seems to rise as she falls inside her car.

"These images ... apparently [contradict] the official version of events," Rugman asserts.

"As more such images come to light," he says, "they will fuel the anger of protesters both here at the scene of the crime and around the country who feel that they've been lied to by the government and that there's been a deliberate coverup of what amounts to a massive security failure to protect this country's best known politician."

Authorities initially said that Bhutto died from bullet wounds, and a surgeon who treated her said the impact from shrapnel on her skull killed her. But, Rugman points out, no blood was found on the bulletproof car -- and, every other passenger in the car survived. The video clearly shows three policeman to the left of the car, doing nothing to hold back the crowd. Was the government trying to cover-up a security lapse? Those close to the president say that was not the case.

"We do things here [quite differently]," says Senator Tarif Azeem, a friend of President Musharraf, citing Bhutto's want to "be amongst the crowd" as the reason why she stood through the sunroof without much security around her.

Officials have rejected calls for independent foreign inquiry, although they have offered to exhume her body if requested. According to Rugman, the government's actions suggest they may be hiding something.

"[The truth] really matters in a country where scores of people have died in protests against Mrs. Bhutto's death and indeed against the circumstances of Mrs. Bhutto's death," Rugman says, adding that the "great fear" in Pakistan is that the assassination will go unsolved.

This video is from Channel 4 News, broadcast on December 30, 2007.

Video At Source

12-30-2007, 07:34 PM
Her hair flung up as if it was shot.

12-30-2007, 10:39 PM
U.S. Strives to Keep Footing In Tangled Pakistan Situation


By Robin Wright and Glenn Kessler
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, December 30, 2007; A24

For the Bush administration, there is no Plan B for Pakistan.

The assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto dramatically altered Pakistani politics, forcing the largest opposition party to find new leadership on the eve of an election, jeopardizing a fragile transition to democracy, and leaving Washington even more dependent on the controversial President Pervez Musharraf as the lone pro-U.S. leader in a nation facing growing extremism.

Despite anxiety among intelligence officials and experts, however, the administration is only slightly tweaking a course charted over the past 18 months to support the creation of a political center revolving around Musharraf, according to U.S. officials.

"Plan A still has to work," said a senior administration official involved in Pakistan policy. "We all have to appeal to moderate forces to come together and carry the election and create a more solidly based government, then use that as a platform to fight the terrorists. "

U.S. policy remains wedded to Musharraf despite growing warnings from experts, presidential candidates and even a former U.S. ambassador to Pakistan that his dictatorial ways are untenable. Some contend that Pakistan would be better off without him.

"This administration has had a disastrous policy toward Pakistan, as bad as the Iraq policy," said Robert Templer of the International Crisis Group. "They are clinging to the wreckage of Musharraf, flailing around. . . . Musharraf has outlived all possible usage to Pakistan and the United States."

Templer contends that without Musharraf, moderate forces, coming from Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party, Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-N, the moderate Balochistan National Party and the mostly Pashtun Awami National Party, could create a new, more legitimate centrist political space.

But with Musharraf having won a five-year presidential term in October -- an election perceived by many as tainted and illegitimate -- the looming question centers on who will become prime minister. Bhutto was expected to assume that role after the January election, a move U.S. officials believed would have bolstered both Musharraf and U.S. interests. But now there are no obvious heirs.

"We have a room full of tigers in Pakistan," the senior U.S. official said. "This is a really complicated situation, and we have to use our influence in a lot of ways but also realize we can't determine the outcome. We're not dropping pixie dust on someone to anoint them as the next leader."

Washington's challenges now are far more daunting than they were in brokering a deal between Bhutto and Musharraf that produced her return from exile and the promise of free elections.

At the top of the list is getting former prime minister Sharif to reverse course on boycotting the Jan. 8 parliamentary election. The United States is in the awkward position of trying to coax a party leader with an anti-American platform and close ties to religious parties to cooperate with Musharraf, a secular former general and top U.S. ally in fighting extremism.

The two men are bitter rivals. Sharif has accused Musharraf of treason for toppling his democratically elected government in a military coup in 1999. Musharraf, in turn, believes Sharif tried to kill him, his wife and 200 other passengers when the Sharif government in 1999 initially refused to allow a commercial jetliner carrying Musharraf to land in Pakistan even though fuel was running low. In his autobiography, Musharraf alleges that the airliner had only seven minutes of fuel when it finally landed after the military intervened.

The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad reached out to Sharif's brother and other members of his party the day of Bhutto's assassination, U.S. officials said. "We would certainly encourage him, as well as all others . . . to participate in the process with an eye towards ensuring there is the broadest possible opportunity for the Pakistani people to choose among a variety of legitimate political actors," State Department spokesman Tom Casey said.

But U.S. officials also said Sharif's call for an election boycott on the day of Bhutto's death was unseemly and an obvious ploy to pressure Musharraf when the Pakistan Muslim League-Q -- loyal to Musharraf and a rival of Sharif's faction -- was increasingly isolated.

"Nawaz is not our nemesis. He is likely to be part of whatever political solution evolves out of the present situation," John Stuart Blackton, a former U.S. diplomat in Pakistan and Afghanistan, said. "Nawaz isn't fond of America, but he isn't anti-American."

The other U.S. priority is helping to hold Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party together, officials said.

Pakistan's largest opposition party, ruled by a family dynasty, now must reorganize without a Bhutto in charge, they said. Long divided by competing tendencies, some members wanted to boycott the election after Musharraf imposed emergency rule last month, while others favored running for parliament. When Bhutto opted to participate, the others fell in line. Without her, some experts expect the party to get bogged down in debate or to fragment.

On the day of Bhutto's death, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice telephoned PPP deputy leader Makhdoom Amin Fahim to offer condolences and express hope that the PPP would not change its plans to participate in the election, U.S. officials said.

The future of the PPP depends in part on what Bhutto's husband, Asif Ali Zardari, does and how the party "survives the machinations" of ISI, Pakistan's military intelligence service, Templer said. "For the past eight years, the military and the ISI have done everything to splinter the party, through violence and intimidation. Despite that, it has hung together in a disciplined way."

Zardari's future role is a big unknown, analysts said. The environment minister when his wife was prime minister, he is a controversial businessman imprisoned for 11 years on corruption and attempted murder charges, most of which were dismissed. After his release, he went into exile, where he stayed when Bhutto returned in October.

Two other immediate challenges, U.S. officials said, are encouraging Pakistani leaders to hold the elections on Jan. 8 or shortly thereafter and prodding Musharraf to ensure that they are fair. On timing, they say the PPP should have the greatest say, given its problems since Bhutto's death. "Everyone needs to give them a fair chance," the senior official said.

Longer-term, as part of its original plan, the administration next month will launch a five-year, $750 million development effort to bring education, jobs and better security to the volatile frontier areas.

But critics warn that Plan A -- from rushing into elections already widely viewed as rigged to relying on Musharraf -- is unsustainable without Bhutto.

"It's folly," said C. Christine Fair of the Rand Corp. Even before Bhutto's death, the elections were being questioned because of limited campaign time and Musharraf's manipulation of the Supreme Court, she said. "Pakistanis are going to read [elections] as a sham to prop up Musharraf as Washington's water boy." The Bush administration should instead encourage Musharraf to promote reconciliation across the parties, which would jointly decide the date for elections, and to restore the ousted members of the Supreme Court, she said.

A new round of "farcical elections" will produce a weak government that Musharraf will try to manipulate, warned Stephen P. Cohen of the Brookings Institution. And in an op-ed co-written for yesterday's Washington Post, Wendy Chamberlin, a former U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, warned that a vote without prior political reforms "would almost certainly provoke a violent backlash."

Analysts are also concerned that the administration does not appear to be developing alternatives in case something happens to Musharraf, who has faced several assassination attempts or plots, or growing public disdain makes him an untenable ally.

Democratic presidential candidates have issued harsh criticisms of Musharraf. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) has said there is little reason to trust the Pakistani government, while New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson has called for Musharraf to step down. Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) also questioned the wisdom of sticking with this ally. "As long as we are supporting somebody who the Pakistani people themselves believe has subverted democracy, that strengthens the hand of the Islamic militants," he said in Iowa.

U.S. officials acknowledge that Musharraf's party is more isolated than ever. "It will have to work harder for its own voters and to try and pick up others," the senior official said. Suspicions in Bhutto's party that the government in some way colluded with extremists to murder her will also make it harder for the PPP to cooperate with Musharraf, he added.

Others warn of a political implosion if violence continues and a flawed election is held. "In the best case for the Taliban and al-Qaeda, and the worst case for the world, Pakistan could fall into such turmoil that the very control of the state could fall into Islamist hands, or Pakistan could effectively fracture -- with its massive armaments, including dozens of nuclear weapons, falling into the wrong hands," said J. Alexander Thier, a former U.N. official now at the U.S. Institute of Peace.

12-30-2007, 10:52 PM
Bhutto's son, husband to succeed her
Benazir Bhutto's 19-Year-Old Son and Husband Chosen to Lead Her Party Into Upcoming Elections


Dec 30, 2007 17:41 EST

Benazir Bhutto's 19-year-old son — a student with no political experience — was named symbolic leader of her party Sunday, while her husband took effective control, extending Pakistan's most enduring political dynasty.

The major parties appeared to agree that the elections should take place as scheduled on Jan. 8 despite street violence and political turmoil triggered by the assassination of Bhutto. The Election Commission is to discuss the timing of the polls Monday.

A successful vote would bolster U.S.-backed plans to restore democracy to the nuclear-armed country as it battles rising Islamic extremism.

Rioting subsided Sunday after destruction that left at least 44 dead and caused ten of millions of dollars in damage, but bitterness remained over the government's response to the gun and suicide attack that killed Bhutto.

The appointment of Bhutto's husband, Asif Ali Zardari, was not without its own complications. A former Cabinet minister who spent eight years in prison on corruption accusations, he is known as "Mr. 10 Percent" for allegedly taking kickbacks and is viewed with suspicion by many Pakistanis.

At a news conference on Sunday, Zardari said the opposition party — Pakistan's largest — had no confidence in the government's ability to bring the killers to justice and urged the United Nations to establish a committee like the one investigating the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

The decisions on the future of Bhutto's Pakistan Peoples Party were made at a closed-door meeting in the sprawling family estate in the south of the country where the two-time former prime minister grew up.

The eldest of Bhutto's three children, Bilawal Zardari, accepted the party's leadership, but said he would remain at Oxford University.

He said his father, who was officially designated co-chairman, would be the effective party leader.

"The party's long struggle for democracy will continue with renewed vigor," Bilawal told a news conference that was repeatedly interrupted by emotional chants from Bhutto's supporters. "My mother always said democracy is the best revenge."

Bhutto's grandfather was a senior figure in the movement that helped Pakistan split from India and lead it to independence in 1947. Her father — Pakistan's first elected prime minister — founded the Pakistan Peoples Party in 1967 and its electoral success since then has largely depended on the Bhutto name.

Bilawal said that Zardari would "take care" of the party while he continued his studies. Zardari then told reporters to direct questions at him, saying his son was at a "tender age."

Zardari, who spent eight years under detention on corruption charges in Pakistan before his release in late 2004, is a power broker who served as investment minister in Bhutto's second government. He has denied the graft charges.

He immediately announced the party's participation in the elections, perhaps sensing sympathy for Bhutto and her family could translate into a strong performance in the polls, but said another party leader, Makhdoom Amin Fahim, would likely be their candidate for prime minister if they won.

He also appealed to the party of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to reverse an earlier decision to boycott the polls. Sharif's party later agreed.

"It is up to the political parties in Pakistan to choose their leaders," White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said from Crawford, Texas, where President Bush is vacationing.

"We believe it is important for Pakistan to confront extremists and continue on the path to democracy by holding free and fair elections," he said. "The timing of those elections will be up to the Pakistanis."

Tariq Azim, a spokesman for the pro-Musharraf Pakistan Muslim League-Q party, congratulated the decision to against seeking a delay in the vote.

"We welcome it, and we are also ready for the contest on Jan. 8," he said after earlier predicting the election may be delayed up to four months.

The British and U.S. governments had been pushing Bhutto, a moderate Muslim seen as friendly to the West, to form a power-sharing agreement with Musharraf after the election — a combination seen as the most effective in the fight against al-Qaida, which is believed to be regrouping in the country's lawless tribal areas.

But many of her supporters have alleged that political allies of Musharraf were behind her killing, which the government has blamed on Islamic militants with links to al-Qaida.

A statement from the British government said Musharraf had agreed to consider "potential international support" to the Pakistani investigation into the assassination, but gave no more details. It also urged Pakistan to go ahead with elections without any "significant delay."

Zardari rejected as "lies" the government's account of how his wife died, amid a dispute over whether she sustained fatal gunshot wounds or was killed by the force of the suicide blast that struck her vehicle as she left a campaign rally on Thursday.

At Zardari's insistence, Bhutto was buried without an autopsy and the debate over her cause of death has undermined confidence in the government and further angered her followers.

No fresh rioting was reported Sunday and Zardari urged supporters to show restraint.

"God willing, when it is the Peoples Party's reign, when the Peoples Party government is formed, then we would have taken revenge for Bibi's blood and that blood would not have gone waste," Zardari said, referring to his late wife by her nickname.

12-30-2007, 10:56 PM
Pakistan in crisis, awaits election decision


By Robert Birsel

ISLAMABAD, Dec 31 (Reuters) - Pakistani electoral officials hold an emergency meeting on Monday to decide whether to go ahead with a January poll in a nation plunged into crisis by the assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto.

Bhutto's party chose her son and husband on Sunday to succeed her, but doubts grew about whether the parliamentary election aiming to shift Pakistan from military to civilian rule would take place as planned on Jan.8.

Her 19-year-old son Bilawal, introduced at a news conference in Naudero in the south as Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, said the party's long struggle for democracy would avenge her death. "My mother always said, democracy is the best revenge," he said.

Bhutto's killing in a suicide attack on Thursday stoked bloodshed across the country and rage against President Pervez Musharraf, casting doubts on nuclear-armed Pakistan's stability and its transition to civilian rule.

Pakistan's stocks were expected to tumble on Monday when trading resumes after three days of mourning. The political turmoil and violence risk frightening off foreign investors and damaging the economy.

A former ruling party official said the election in Pakistan, a key U.S. ally against terrorism, was likely to be delayed for up to two months but Bhutto's party vowed to take part and another opposition party said it probably would too.

The Election Commission, which meets on Monday, said on Saturday its offices in 11 districts in Sindh province in the south of the country had been burned and voting material including electoral rolls destroyed.

Security fears in two northwestern regions also raised doubts about voting there, it said.

U.S. President George W. Bush urged Pakistanis to hold the vote but White House officials said it was up to Pakistan's authorities to determine the timing.

The U.S. State Department went further. "If there is a delay in the elections, we want to make sure a new date is named. We don't want to see an indefinite delay," said a State Department spokesman, declining to be further identified.

A promising investment story less than a year ago, Pakistan is now gripped by fears of capital flight if security worsens. The death toll from violence since Bhutto's killing has reached 47.

"Despite this dangerous situation, we will go for elections, according to her will and thinking," said Bhutto's widower Asif Ali Zardari, made co-chairman of the PPP party with their son Bilawal from the Bhutto home in Naudero, southern Pakistan.

However, an official of the former ruling party backing Musharraf said: "It seems more than likely that elections will be delayed."

The party of Pakistani opposition leader Nawaz Sharif, who like Bhutto is a former prime minister, said it was likely to abandon plans to boycott the poll after the PPP decision.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said he was planning to see Musharraf in the next 48 hours.

Kouchner said he hoped to "try ... to apply pressure for the election to take place -- on what date, I don't know, it's not up to us to say." But, voicing several diplomats' fears, he added: "But elections must take place in calm conditions."

Zadari rejected a government explanation that his wife was killed when the force of an explosion that engulfed her bullet-proof car smashed her head into a lever on the sunroof as she ducked when shots were fired.

The PPP, which says she was killed by a gunman, has said the government must also show hard evidence al Qaeda is to blame.

Accused al Qaeda-linked militants have denied any role but others issued threats against Bhutto when she returned in October. A suicide attack on her motorcade then killed at least 139 people.

A Pakistani television channel broadcast on Sunday grainy still pictures of what it said appeared to be two men who attacked and killed Bhutto, one firing a pistol.

Bhutto had hoped to win power for a third time in the January vote though analysts expected a three-way split between her, Sharif's party and the party that backs Musharraf.

Washington had encouraged Bhutto, relatively liberal by Pakistan's standards and an opponent of Islamic militancy. She returned home from self-imposed exile in October, hoping to become prime minister for the third time.

Her death wrecked U.S. hopes of a power-sharing deal between her and Musharraf, who took power in a military coup in 1999 but left the army last month to become a civilian president. (Additional reporting by Faisal Aziz in Naudero; Simon Gardner, Mark Bendeich and Simon Cameron-Moore in Karachi; Jeremy Pelofsky in Crawford, Texas, Charles Abbott in Washington; Anna Willard in Paris; writing by Peter Millership; Editing by Keith Weir)

12-31-2007, 01:57 PM
Video, Report Spur Bhutto Controversy


By RAVI NESSMAN – 8 hours ago

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) — A newly released video of Benazir Bhutto's assassination and an inconclusive medical report raised new doubts Monday about the official explanation of her death and were likely to intensify calls for an independent, international investigation.

The footage, obtained by Britain's Channel 4 television, showed a man firing a pistol at Bhutto from just feet away as she greeted supporters through the sunroof of her armored vehicle after a rally Thursday. Her hair and shawl then moved upward and she fell into the vehicle just before an explosion — apparently detonated by a second man — rocked the car.

Bhutto's aides, including one who rushed her to the hospital, said they were certain she was shot. She was buried Friday without an autopsy.

The government, citing a report from doctors at the hospital where she died, said she was not hit by any of the bullets, but was killed when the force of the blast slammed her head into a lever on the vehicle's sunroof.

However, a copy of the medical report sent to reporters by a prominent lawyer who is a board member of the hospital said the doctors had made no determination about whether she was shot.

It gave the cause of death as "open head injury with depressed skull fracture, leading to cardiopulmonary arrest."

The report, signed by seven doctors at the hospital, said that when Bhutto was brought in, she had no pulse and was not breathing. Blood trickled from a wound on the right side of her head and whitish material that appeared to be brain matter was visible. Her clothes were soaked with blood. The medical team worked for 41 minutes to try to resuscitate her before declaring her dead.

The report said her head wound was an irregular oval shape measuring about 2 inches by 1.2 inches. No surrounding wounds or blackening were seen.

"No foreign body was felt in the wound. Wound was not further explored," it said.

The report was released by prominent opposition lawyer Athar Minallah, who is a member of the board that oversees Rawalpindi General Hospital. He said that the doctors had called for an autopsy to definitively determine the cause of death, but that Rawalpindi police chief Saud Aziz refused.

"The wound might appear to be a bullet wound, but without an autopsy no doctor would ever be able to give a conclusive opinion that it was or it wasn't a bullet wound," Minallah said. "Without an autopsy there can be no investigation at all."

However, Aziz denied that he refused to authorize an autopsy.

"I have not told anyone about stopping the post-mortem," he told The Associated Press. "It is a legal requirement, but again it is dependent upon the legal heirs of the deceased."

In a news conference Sunday, Bhutto's widowed husband, Asif Ali Zardari, confirmed that he had refused a request to perform an autopsy, saying he did not trust the government of President Pervez Musharraf to carry out a credible investigation. He also rejected the government's account about his wife's death as "lies."

Interior Ministry spokesman Javed Iqbal Cheema said Bhutto's family was free to exhume her body for an autopsy if it wished.

The dispute undermined already shaky confidence in Musharraf, a former army chief who seized power here in a 1999 coup. Many of Bhutto's supporters have demanded a U.N. probe similar to the one investigating the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

"It's difficult to believe that they are so incompetent that they would handle this whole affair in such a shabby manner so as to create so much doubt," Minallah said.

Musharraf agreed to consider international support when he spoke by phone Sunday with Gordon Brown, the British prime minister's office said. But Rashid Qureshi, a spokesman for the Pakistani president, said Monday that Musharraf had made no such promises.

The government has blamed an Islamic militant leader for Bhutto's killing, an accusation the militant and Bhutto's party dismissed.

Talat Masood, a former army general and security analyst, said the government was "outright stupid" for coming out with firm conclusions about her death just one day later, saying a more thorough investigation was required.

"They should have waited at least a few days," he said.

12-31-2007, 11:33 PM

Bhutto report: Musharraf planned to fix elections

By Saeed Shah | McClatchy Newspapers

Posted on Monday, December 31, 2007

NAUDERO, Pakistan — The day she was assassinated last Thursday, Benazir Bhutto had planned to reveal new evidence alleging the involvement of Pakistan's intelligence agencies in rigging the country's upcoming elections, an aide said Monday.

Bhutto had been due to meet U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., and Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., to hand over a report charging that the military Inter-Services Intelligence agency was planning to fix the polls in the favor of President Pervez Musharraf.

Safraz Khan Lashari, a member of the Pakistan People's Party election monitoring unit, said the report was "very sensitive" and that the party wanted to initially share it with trusted American politicians rather than the Bush administration, which is seen here as strongly backing Musharraf.

"It was compiled from sources within the (intelligence) services who were working directly with Benazir Bhutto," Lashari said, speaking Monday at Bhutto's house in her ancestral village of Naudero, where her husband and children continued to mourn her death.

The ISI had no official comment. However, an agency official, speaking only on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak on the subject, dismissed the allegations as "a lot of talk but not much substance."

Musharraf has been highly critical of those who allege that his regime is involved in electoral manipulation. "Now when they lose, they'll have a good rationale: that it is all rigged, it is all fraud," he said in November. "In Pakistan, the loser always cries."

According to Lashari, the document includes information on a "safe house" allegedly being run by the ISI in a central neighborhood of Islamabad, the alleged headquarters of the rigging operation.

It names as the head of the unit a brigadier general recently retired from the ISI, who was secretly assigned to run the rigging operation, Lashari said. It charges that he was working in tandem with the head of a civilian intelligence agency. Before her return to Pakistan, Bhutto, in a letter to Musharraf, had named the intelligence official as one of the men she accused of plotting to kill her.

Lashari said the report claimed that U.S. aid money was being used to fix the elections. Ballots stamped in favor of the Pakistan Muslim League-Q, which supports Musharraf, were to be produced by the intelligence agencies in about 100 parliamentary constituencies.

"They diverted money from aid activities. We had evidence of where they were spending the money," Lashari said.

Lashari, who formerly taught environmental economics at Britain's Cranfield University, said the effort was directed at constituencies where the result was likely to be decided by a small margin, so it wouldn't be obvious.

Bhutto was due to meet Specter and Kennedy after dinner last Thursday. She was shot as she left an election rally in Rawalpindi early that evening. Pakistan's government claims instead that she was thrown against the lever of her car's sunroof, fracturing her skull.

(Shah is a McClatchy special correspondent.)

01-02-2008, 09:22 AM
Pakistani election delayed until Feb. 18
Pakistani Election Officials Delay Parliamentary Elections for 6 Weeks Until Feb. 18


Jan 02, 2008 07:33 EST

Pakistani election officials announced Wednesday that they were delaying parliamentary elections for six weeks until Feb. 18 because of the violence and chaos that followed the assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto.

The elections had been scheduled for Jan. 8, but Qazi Mohammed Farooq, head of the election commission, said it would be impossible to hold the polls on that day.

Election officials reported that rioters in Bhutto's home province of Sindh burned down 10 election offices, destroying the voter rolls and ballot boxes inside. The violence also halted the printing and distribution of ballots.

Because of the situation following Bhutto's death "for a few days the election process came to a complete halt," Farooq said.

The opposition had demanded the polls take place on time and some leaders had called for street protests if they were to be delayed.

01-02-2008, 09:22 AM
Ministry backtracks on Bhutto sunroof claims



ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- Pakistan's Interior Ministry backtracked Tuesday on its statement that Benazir Bhutto died because she hit her head on a sunroof latch during a shooting and bomb attack.

The government also published a reward offer in several national newspapers to anyone who could identify two suspects from the killing.

Interior Ministry spokesman Javed Iqbal Cheema told CNN the ministry will wait for the findings from forensic investigators before making a conclusion about her cause of death.

Cheema said he based his statement Friday about the sunroof latch "on the initial investigations and the reports by the medical doctors" who treated her at Rawalpindi General Hospital.

"I was just narrating the facts, you know, and nothing less nothing more," Cheema said.

"There's no intention to conceal anything from the people of Pakistan," an Interior Ministry news release said.

The reward offer, which appeared with photographs of the dead suspects, said that "the person identifying these terrorists will be awarded a cash prize of 5 million rupees (about $81,400) and his identity will also be kept confidential" -- a total reward available of 10 million.

"The response from the public has been nil so far," Punjab spokesman Ashfaq Gondal said Tuesday afternoon.

Athar Minallah, a lawyer on the board that manages Rawalpindi General Hospital, told CNN Monday that doctors did not make the statements attributed to them by the government.

The medical report -- obtained by CNN from Minallah -- made no mention of the sunroof latch and listed the cause of death as "Open head injury with depressed skull fracture, leading to Cardiopulmonary arrest." Read Bhutto's full medical report

Pakistan's Interior Ministry said Thursday it was from a bullet or shrapnel wound, but then it announced a day later that Bhutto died from a skull fracture suffered when she fell or ducked into the car as a result of the shots or the explosion and crashed her head into a sunroof latch.

Bhutto's family and political party maintain that the government is lying, and insist she died from gunshot wounds.

Several videos show a gunman firing a pistol toward her just moments before a bomb detonated nearby as she left a rally.

The U-turn on the sunroof claims will only heighten speculation as to the exact cause of Bhutto's death.

Minallah issued an open letter Monday and released the doctors' clinical notes to distance them from the government statement.

In the letter, Minallah said the doctors "suggested to the officials to perform an autopsy," but that Saud "did not agree." He noted that under the law, police investigators have "exclusive responsibility" in deciding to have an autopsy.

Minallah told CNN that he was speaking out because the doctors at the hospital were "threatened."

"They are government servants who cannot speak; I am not," he said. He did not elaborate on the threats against the doctors.

He said the lack of an autopsy has created "a perception that there is some kind of cover-up, though I might not believe in that theory."

"There is a state within the state, and that state within the state does not want itself to be held accountable," Minallah said.

The three-page medical report, which was signed by seven doctors, described Bhutto's head wound, but it did not conclude what caused it. It noted that X-ray images were made after she was declared dead.

The wound was described as an irregular oval of about 5 centimeters by 3 centimeters above her right ear. "Sharp bones edges were felt in the wound," it read. "No foreign body was felt in the wound."

Rawalpindi's police chief was accused Monday of stopping doctors at the hospital where Bhutto died from conducting an autopsy.

It was a violation of Pakistani criminal law and prevented a medical conclusion about what killed the former prime minister, said Minallah.

However, the police chief involved, Aziz Saud, told CNN that he suggested an autopsy be done -- but that Bhutto's husband objected.

Cheema said the government had no objection to Bhutto's body being exhumed for an autopsy if the family requested it.

Her widower,Asif Ali Zardari, has said the family was against exhumation because it did not trust the government.

Minallah said the family could not have prevented an autopsy at the hospital without getting an order from a judge.

The revelations about the exact cause of Bhutto's death came after new videotape of her assassination emerged, showing her slumping just after gunshots rang out.

The tape provided the clearest view yet of the attack and appeared to show that Bhutto was shot. That would contradict the Pakistan government's account.

A previously released videotape showed a man at the right of her vehicle raising a gun, pointing it toward Bhutto, who was standing in her car with her upper body through the sunroof. He fired three shots, then there was an explosion.

In the video that emerged on Sunday, Bhutto was standing, and her hair and scarf appeared to move, perhaps from the bullet. Bhutto fell into the car, then came the blast. Watch new tape showing apparent gunman »

These images seem to support the theory that Bhutto died at the hands of a shooter before a bomb was detonated, killing another 23 people.

Bhutto's husband, in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer Monday, called for an international investigation into his wife's death, saying the new video proves the Pakistani government "has been trying to muddy the water from the first day." See the likely sequence of events »

"Everything is now very clear that she was shot," Asif Ali Zardari said.

Zardari also called on the U.S. government to push for an international probe. "I want them to help me find out who killed my wife, the mother of my children," he said of the Bush administration.

The reward offer announced: "The public is hereby informed that the two individuals in the above photograph are the accused terrorists involved in the Liaqat Bagh, Rawalpindi Terror Attack, which resulted in the death of the Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and others." 'Mohtarma' is a title of respect in the Urdu language.

"The person identifying these terrorists will be awarded a cash prize of 5 million rupees (about $81,400) and his identity will also be kept confidential," said Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi -- a total reward available of 10 million.

"The response from the public has been nil so far," Punjab spokesman Ashfaq Gondal said Tuesday afternoon.

01-04-2008, 04:42 PM

Will We Ever Know Who Killed Benazir Bhutto?

Posted January 4, 2008 | 02:24 PM (EST)

If Pakistani history is any guide: probably not.

As the latest video report from Channel 4 of the United Kingdom now streaming across the internet and numerous eyewitness accounts attest, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was shot by a seemingly professional, cool, clean-shaven young assassin in dark glasses standing within a few feet of her car, as she emerged from a successful rally in Liaquat Bagh, Rawalpindi on December 27, 2007. The video shows him calmly moving in her direction, accompanied by another man whose head was shrouded in a white sheet: the suspected suicide bomber. The film shows her head jerk suddenly as if hit by a bullet and then shows her fall inside her vehicle before the suicide bomb explosion that killed and injured scores around her car.

Yet the Pakistan government, which presented its "initial investigation" findings last week, insisted she had died as a result of a skull fracture -- one that was caused as her head hit the lever of her car's sunroof after the bomb explosion. This government presentation was made by the same spokesman who was reportedly quoted in the immediate aftermath of the attack as saying she was unhurt and had been driven away from the scene.

There will be calls for investigations, domestic and foreign. Now President Pervez Musharraf has said that Scotland Yard will be helping Pakistan's investigation and the team has actually arrived in Pakistan. While there is no a priori reason to doubt that Musharraf wishes to solve this murder, history indicates that Pakistan's governments have evaded or mishandled the search for truth in all major terrorist attacks and subsequent deaths, including those of heads of government and state and the Pakistan army.

Take the case of Pakistan's first Prime Minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, who was shot dead by a lone assassin on 16 October 1951 in Company Bagh, Rawalpindi. This was the same location where Ms. Bhutto was killed last month, renamed in memory of the first assassinated prime minister. The killer -- a Pashtun named Said Akbar- was immediately shot and killed by a police officer, even as the crowd tried to subdue him. The government appointed a high level judicial commission to inquire into the assassination. The investigation team was headed by a senior police officer and assisted by Britain's Scotland Yard. It took ten months to produce a report that did little but produce various conspiracy theories. The main focus appeared to be on the "insiders", Punjabi politicians who resented the supremacy of the "outsider" prime minister, an émigré from India to the new Muslim state. Further investigations were being conducted when the senior police officer in charge of the case was asked to bring all the documents to the new prime minister. The plane he was taking to his meeting with the prime minister crashed en route, killing him and destroying all the documents. Liaquat's death was never solved.

On August 17, 1988, Pakistan's dictator and army chief President General Zia ul Haq, who had ruled the country after overthrowing Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in July 1977, took off from Bahawalpur, southern Punjab, for Rawalpindi in a US-supplied C-130. Within minutes, the plane went into a series of fatal "phugoid" or yo-yo like movements and then crashed into the desert Zia was killed instantly, as were several high-ranking officials, including the US ambassador Arnold Raphael, military attaché Brigadier General Herbert M. Wassom, the chairman of the Pakistan Joint Chiefs of Staff General Akhtar Abdur Rahman and a score of senior army officers plus the crew. Two crates of mangoes had been loaded onto the heavily guarded plane before it took off. My research and those of others indicates that a nerve agent was released from timed devices in the aircraft rapidly immobilizing its crew and passengers. Some of the nerve agents may have been hidden in those exploding mangoes. No mayday call was issued. Zia's vice chief and successor General Mirza Aslam Beg told his army colleagues a few days later in a speech at army headquarters that he suspected insiders and would pursue and catch them to bring them to justice. But nothing definitive happened. The FBI involvement in the investigation, mandated by law at that time, was brought to a halt by the Centcom Commander at the time General George Crist, according to Beth Jones, the acting ambassador of the US embassy. No FBI agents were allowed into the country till seven months after the crash. Key pieces of evidence disappeared from the crash site and the hangar where parts of the crashed C-130 were kept.

The Pakistan military did not even put the investigation on the agenda of the first meeting in October 1988 of the joint chiefs after Zia's death. The US did not wish to create further instability in Pakistan. It found allies in the Pakistani army's higher command. The sons of Zia and Abdur Rahman wished to pursue the case but apparently were dissuaded by their US intelligence contacts, who had worked closely with Zia and Rahman in the prosecution of the Afghan jihad against the Soviet Union. To this day, the public does not know who killed Zia nor why.

On January 8, 1993, the Pakistan army chief, General Asif Nawaz, my elder brother, suffered a massive heart attack while exercising at his home in Rawalpindi and died shortly afterward in the military hospital. Two months earlier he had become nauseous, sweating profusely after imbibing something at the Joint Chiefs of Staff Headquarters. He told me that Army doctors told him that he had food poisoning. Later at a judicial inquiry into his death they changed their diagnosis to an inner ear infection. General Nawaz's wife received anonymous letters claiming that people in then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's office had conspired to poison him over time. They did not provide any tangible proof of those charges. Tests on his hair samples conducted on my behalf by an independent laboratory in the United States that summer showed lethal traces of arsenic. A foreign investigation was requested by his wife. But the three-person team from the US, UK, and France that conducted the exhumation and subsequent tests came up with a delayed report that indicated that there was no arsenic in his system! That report was never released to the public. No attempt was made subsequently to determine the huge discrepancy in these results. The mystery remains till someone comes forward from within the US government at that time or from Pakistan. A freedom of information request by me for information from the Department of State is still pending.

On September 20, 1996, Mir Murtaza Bhutto, the estranged brother of then Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and leader of a breakaway faction of his father's party, and six of his supporters were shot to death by police on a darkened street in front of his home in Karachi's tiny neighborhood of Clifton. A large police contingent was posted to the area. Yet his bleeding body lay for some time before it was taken to a hospital. No one knew why the lights had been switched off on that road that night. Accusations were leveled against Prime Minister Bhutto's husband Asif Ali Zardari, whom Murtaza Bhutto had reportedly insulted by shaving off half his mustache, and separately against President Farooq Leghari, seen at odds with Ms. Bhutto at that time. Both denied involvement. Zardari was charged with the murder after Bhutto's government was removed. But nothing was proven. The crime scene had been washed of all evidence. And a Scotland Yard team that was brought in could shed no light on what happened or why.

Now, another Prime Minister of Pakistan is dead at the hand of an assassin. There are calls for an independent inquiry. Zardari is asking for a UN inquiry along the lines of the Hariri Commission that investigated the death of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. The Government of Pakistan may mount its own judicial inquiry. It is in its own interest for the government of President Pervez Musharraf to reach the bottom of the truth in this latest death. But in the best of circumstances, most governmental efforts of this kind in Pakistan's history have been marked by either incompetence or mal-intent, or both. If the past is any indicator, this death too will remain a mystery.

Within hours of the death, the firemen were in action hosing down the crime scene and washing away whatever key evidence might have been available in the aftermath of the death of Ms. Bhutto. Neither the Government of Pakistan nor the US Administration seemed to favor an independent inquiry. Scotland Yard's belated arrival and their uncertain ability to work independently of the Pakistani authorities will mar their findings. Latest reports indicate that Pakistani authorities say they were unable to get fingerprints from the pistol used by the assassin. The people of Pakistan's desire to reach the truth behind a major leader's death will likely be short changed once again. They deserve better.

This year more than 3,350 deaths have been linked to terrorist attacks in Pakistan, more than twice the number in 2006 and five times the number killed in 2005. In 2002, there were two suicide attacks in Pakistan. In 2007, there have been at least 45. A recent Gallup Poll indicated that roughly half of all Pakistanis polled were fearful of walking alone in their areas at night, a drop from 71 per cent in 2005. Against this evidence, the government will have a hard time to make its case that it is winning the fight against terrorism or that it will get to the bottom of Benazir Bhutto's murder.

Shuja Nawaz is the author of Crossed Swords: Pakistan, its army, and the wars within (forthcoming) from Oxford University Press which covers the issues covered in this article in greater detail. He regularly appears as a commentator on television, radio, and at think tanks.

01-04-2008, 07:40 PM
The Benazir Bhutto dossier: ‘secret service was diverting US aid for fighting militants to rig the elections’


Pakistani former premier Benazir Bhutto
Jeremy Page in Naudero

On the day she was assassinated, Benazir Bhutto was due to meet two senior American politicians to show them a confidential report alleging that Pakistan’s intelligence service was using US money to rig parliamentary elections, officials in her party said yesterday.

The report was compiled by the former Prime Minister’s own contacts within the security services and alleged that the Inter-Services Intelligence agency was running the election operation from a safe house in the capital, Islamabad, they said. The operation’s aim was to undermine Ms Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and to ensure victory for the Pakistan Muslim League (Q) party, which supports President Musharraf, in the elections scheduled for January 8.

Patrick Kennedy, a Democratic congressman for Rhode Island, and Arlen Specter, a Republican member of the Senate sub-committe on foreign operations, have confirmed that they were planning to have dinner with Ms Bhutto on Thursday evening but were not available for comment yesterday.

Sarfraz Ali Lashari, a senior PPP official who works in its election monitoring cell, told The Times that he had helped to compile a 200-page report on the Government’s efforts to rig the poll, which Ms Bhutto planned to give to the Americans and to the press the day she was killed.

“But there is another report relating to the ISI and she was going to discuss it with them,” said Mr Lashari, an envi-ronmental economist who taught at Cranfield University for several years.

The second report, which Ms Bhutto did not plan to release to the media, alleged that the ISI was using some of the $10 billion (£5 billion) in US military aid that Pakistan has received since 2001 to run a covert election operation from a safe house in G5, a central district of Islamabad, he said.

“The report was done by some people who we’ve got in the services. They directly dealt with Benazir Bhutto,” he continued, adding that Ms Bhutto was planning to share the contents of the report with the British Ambassador as well as the US lawmakers.

Asif Ali Zardari, Ms Bhutto’s widower and the new co-chairman of the PPP, confirmed the existence of the report, its basic contents and Ms Bhutto’s plans to meet the US lawmakers last Thursday. Asked if such a report was in his possession, he said: “Something to that effect.” Asked if Ms Bhutto was planning to share its contents with the American legislators, he said: “I am not in a position to make an answer to that.” Asked if the report contained evidence that the ISI was using US funds to rig the elections, he said: “Possibly so.” He declined to give further details, but said the confidential report could have been one of several motives for killing Ms Bhutto, who died after a suicide-bomb and gun attack on an election rally near Islamabad. “It was a general combination of all of these things. The fact that she’s on the ground exposing everybody, I guess, would have been one reason. There are many views and many reasons one can think of for her assassination.”

The allegation is likely to fuel the already intense speculation surrounding the death, which triggered nationwide riots and raised fears that President Musharraf could reimpose emergency rule and postpone the elections.

Electoral fraud is nothing new in Pakistan, which has been led by military rulers for more than half of its 60-year history, and whose politics is dominated by feudal and tribal loyalties. In 1996 a former army chief called Mirza Aslam Baig alleged in court that he had been aware of a secret ISI political cell that distributed funds to antiPPP candidates in the run-up to the 1990-1991 elections.

Ms Bhutto had often accused President Musharraf, who seized power in a coup in 1999, of rigging elections and there have been reports that foreign financial aid to Pakistan’s Central Election Commission was being used to fix the result of next month’s poll.

However, the report that Ms Bhutto allegedly planned to share with the US politicians made the more serious allegation that the ISI was directly involved in rigging the coming parliamentary elections – and was using American money to do it. The United States has given Pakistan at least $10 billion in military aid since President Musharraf agreed to back the War on Terror after the September 11 attacks.

The money was supposed to be used to help Pakistan’s armed forces to fight al-Qaeda and Taleban militants sheltering in northwestern tribal areas near the porous border with Afghan-istan. But there has been almost no accounting for the funds, most of which have been transferred in cash directly to the Defence Ministry, and critics of President Musharraf say that much has been diverted towards other aims, such as upgrading forces on the border with India, or into private pockets.

This month the US Congress ordered the Government to withhold a portion of military aid to Pakistan until President Musharraf demonstrated progress in the campaign against the militants and in a transition towards civilian, democratic rule.

Mr Lashari, the PPP official, said that Ms Bhutto wanted to share the report with them because she did not entirely trust the US Government, which still regards President Musharraf as a key ally in the War on Terror. “The idea was to discuss it with all the international stakeholders, mainly including Britain and the United States, but we didn’t want to share it with anyone who could use it against us,” he said.

“It would be unwise to do anything that would annoy Musharraf, and the international stakeholders. Everything could collapse if the Army comes to know that there is something substantial against them. It’s dangerous to name people in Pakistan.” Pakistani media reports have alleged the existence of an ISI safe house used to rig the elections and identified Ijaz Hussain Shah, a retired general who heads the civilian Intelligence Bureau, as one of those involved.

Mr Lashari also said that Ms Bhutto was planning to show the report with the British Ambassador, Robert Brin-kley. A spokesman for the British Embassy denied any knowledge of the report. The ISI does not have a spokes-person, but a government official dismissed the allegations as baseless.

01-04-2008, 07:42 PM
Bhutto 'was about to spill the beans'


5:00AM Thursday January 03, 2008

KARACHI - Benazir Bhutto was poised to offer proof that Pakistan's election commission and shadowy spy agency were seeking to rig an upcoming general election the night she was assassinated, a top aide said.

Senator Latif Khosa, who authored a 160-page dossier with Bhutto documenting rigging tactics, said they ranged from intimidation to fake ballots, and were in some cases unwittingly funded by US aid.

Bhutto had been due to give the report to two visiting US legislators over dinner on the day she was killed in a suicide bombing.

"The state agencies are manipulating the whole process," said Khosa, head of Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party election monitoring unit.

"There is rigging by the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence), the election commission and the previous government ... They were on the rampage."

President Pervez Musharraf's spokesman Rashid Qureshi dismissed the claim as ridiculous.

"It makes one laugh," he said. "The President has said a free, fair, transparent and peaceful election is essential, which forms part of his overall strategy for transforming Pakistan into a fully democratic [nation].

"Take it from me, it's going to be perhaps the best election that Pakistan has ever had."

Khosa said the report, entitled "Yet another stain on the face of democracy", detailed how the spy agency was planning to issue 25,000 pre-stamped ballots for each of 108 candidates for national assembly seats in Punjab from the party that backs President Musharraf.

He said the ISI also had a "mega computer" which could hack into any computer and was connected to the Election Commission's system.

An initial draft list of voters published in June put the electorate at 52 million people, more than 20 million short, triggering a backlash from Musharraf's political opponents.

The Supreme Court ordered the commission to revise the list, and in October it raised the total to 80 million.

"Benazir was supposed to hold a press conference. It was going to be distributed to everyone, but unfortunately that did not arise because she was assassinated," Khosa said.

01-04-2008, 07:47 PM
CBS, CNN obtain secret dossier alleging Pakistani vote-rigging scheme


David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Published: Wednesday January 2, 2008

At the time she was assassinated, Pakistani opposition leader Benezir Bhutto was just hours away from meeting with two US lawmakers to hand them a dossier alleging that Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) was plotting with its Election Commission to rig the upcoming elections.

According to CBS News, which has obtained a copy of the report, it "alleges widespread plans to stuff ballot boxes, rig voting lists, and intimidate, even kill, opposition voters."

CNN quotes the document more specifically as saying, "Where an opposing candidate is strong in an area, they have planned to create a conflict at the polling station, even killing people if necessary, to stop polls at least three to four hours."

The report, titled "Another Stain on the Face of Democracy," was compiled from Bhutto's own sources within the police and intelligence services. It was to be given to Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), because Bhutto did not trust the Bush administration, which is seen in Pakistan as strongly backing Musharraf.

The dossier also accuses Musharraf's regime of diverting US aid into political dirty tricks, charging that "ninety percent of the equipment that the USA gave the government of Pakistan to fight terrorism ... is being used to monitor and to keep a check on political opponents."

Pakistani Senator Latif Khosa told CBS, "The ISI has set up a mega-computer system which has the capacity to hack any of the computers in Pakistan, and it is connected with the Election Commission of Pakistan's computers and therefore they will overturn the results." Khosa also charged that computers are being used to change the voter rolls.

Pakistan's government has called the allegations "ludicrous." Musharraf's top spokesman told CNN that he had never heard of the dossier but that the allegations were "just a pack of lies ... laughable ... ridiculous."

CNN analyst Peter Bergen noted, "There's no reason to believe that she was killed because of this dossier, because the people behind her killing almost certainly are al Qaeda and the Taliban, and they've got nothing to do with this election." That is the official Pakistani position, based primarily on allegations of intercepted phone calls from a pro-Taliban warlord who has denied any involvement.

Bhutto herself had accused Gen. Ijaz Hussain Shah, who has been named in the Pakistani media as part of the vote-rigging effort, of plotting to kill her. Shah, described as a close personal friend of President Musharraf, is a former ISI official who now heads the civilian Intelligence Bureau, which supplied many of the guards surrounding Bhutto's vehicle at the time of an earlier attempt on her life in October.

This video is from CBS's Early Show, broadcast on January 1, 2008.

Video At Source

01-04-2008, 07:50 PM
You'll remember the report about Osama's "handling officer" being in charge of Benazir Bhutto's security at the time of the first bombing in October:


"Brig Ejaz Shah has been strongly criticised by Benazir and her supporters for the security failure and they have demanded his removal and arrest."

Now it's found that Benazir Bhutto was going to deliver a report to Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), "because Bhutto did not trust the Bush administration, which is seen in Pakistan as strongly backing Musharraf" that accuses Osama's "handling officer" of taking part in "an ISI safe house used to rig the elections" the night she was assassinated.

01-04-2008, 08:01 PM

01-04-2008, 08:07 PM


01-04-2008, 08:12 PM

If I remember correctly, Ijaz Shah was also Omar Sheikh's handling officer. Sheikh turned himself in to Ijaz Shah for Pearl's murder. I wonder if Shah had any contact with U.S. officials prior to 9/11.

01-06-2008, 11:48 AM
Musharraf: Bhutto To Blame For Own Death
Pakistan President Tells "60 Minutes" His Government Provided All Possible Security



(CBS) The assassination of his chief political rival was her own fault, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf tells Lara Logan in his first one-on-one interview since the death of Benazir Bhutto.

The exclusive interview will be broadcast on 60 Minutes, Sunday, Jan. 6, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

In the interview that took place in Pakistan Saturday morning, Musharraf tells Logan, "For standing up outside the car, I think it was she to blame alone. Nobody else. Responsibility is hers." Bhutto was killed in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi last week while standing up in a moving car with her head through the roof hatch.

A suicide bomber blew himself up near her car at the time of her death and the government of Pakistan initially said the concussion of the blast caused her to hit her head on the roof hatch. There was also a gunman present, but it's not known whether his shots hit Bhutto.

Asked by Logan if he believes a gunshot could be the cause of Bhutto's head injury, he replies, "Yes, yes."

"So she may have been shot?" asks Logan.

"Yes, absolutely, yes. Possibility," says Musharraf.

Some also speculate that Bhutto, who was campaigning for prime minister in Musharraf's government, had inadequate security.

"Even with the benefit of hindsight, you feel that you and your government did everything possible to give Benazir Bhutto the security she needed?" asks Logan.

Musharraf insists he did. "Yes, yes absolutely. And you have to…remember…she had the threat. So she was given more security than any other person."

01-06-2008, 11:49 AM
Bhutto's Husband Calls for UN Probe


By RAVI NESSMAN Associated Press Writer
2008-01-05 15:35:43

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) — Benazir Bhutto's widowed husband accused members of Pakistan's ruling regime of involvement in his wife's killing and called Saturday for a U.N. investigation, as British officers aiding Pakistan's own probe pored over the crime scene.

"An investigation conducted by the government of Pakistan will have no credibility, in my country or anywhere else," Asif Ali Zardari, the effective leader of Bhutto's opposition party, said in a commentary published in The Washington Post. "One does not put the fox in charge of the hen house."

Calls for an independent, international investigation have intensified since the former prime minister was killed Dec. 27 in a shooting and bombing attack after a campaign rally. Opposition activists denounced the government's initial assessment that an Islamic militant was behind the attack and that Bhutto died, not from gunshot wounds, but from the force of the blast.

President Pervez Musharraf acknowledged that investigators may have drawn conclusions too quickly and mishandled evidence, including hosing down the site hours after the attack. But he insisted the government was competent to run the investigation with the help of forensic experts from Britain's Scotland Yard. The United States said it did not believe a U.N. investigation was needed.

The British investigators arrived at the site of the attack in the city of Rawalpindi under heavy police guard in a convoy of sports utility vehicles. They spoke to local security officials and repeatedly walked from the park where Bhutto held her final campaign rally to the spot outside where her departing vehicle was attacked.

Local police parked a truck where Bhutto's had been, and the British investigators took photographs of it and filmed it from different angles, including from a nearby rooftop.

Zardari said no government investigation would satisfy him. He reiterated his demand for a U.N. probe modeled on the investigation into the death of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and urged "friends of democracy in the West, in particular the United States and Britain, to endorse the call for such and independent investigation."

"Those responsible — within and outside of government — must be held accountable," he wrote.

Also Saturday, the government accused a leading international think tank of "promoting sedition" for urging Musharraf, a key U.S. ally in the war on terror, to resign.

The report by the Brussels-based International Crisis Group called Musharraf "a serious liability, seen as complicit" in Bhutto's death.

In a statement, the government said the report "amounts to promoting sedition" and the group "neither has the credentials, nor the credibility and lacks representational standing specially on Pakistan's national affairs" to comment on Pakistan.

Also Saturday, gunmen shot and killed one paramilitary soldier and wounded two others in the southwestern city of Quetta, said Rahmatullah Niazi, a senior police official. The motive behind the attack was not known, he said.

01-09-2008, 08:16 AM
US intelligence suggests coverup in Bhutto assassination
Suicide bomber may have been inserted to eliminate evidence

http://rawstory.com/news/2007/US_intelligence_suggests_coverup_in_Bhutto_0107.ht ml

Larisa Alexandrovna
Published: Monday January 7, 2008

The assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto on Dec. 27, 2007 has created concerns for US intelligence officials, who see US policy toward Pakistan as being held hostage by President Pervez Musharraf and factions of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

Mrs. Bhutto was shot when she stood up through the sunroof of her vehicle after a campaign rally for her Pakistan Peoples Party in Rawalpindi. Immediately after the shooting, a suicide bomber detonated an explosive, killing 25 people as well as himself.

The Musharraf government's initial reaction was to blame either al Qaeda or other terrorists closely linked to al Qaeda. However, contradictions in official statements, as well as the behavior of police – who hosed down the streets in Rawalpindi just an hour after Mrs. Bhutto was assassinated – quickly began to cast doubt on the official version of what happened, leaving serious questions surrounding Musharraf and the ISI and putting more pressure on the United States to pull back its support for Pakistani leadership.

While President Musharraf initially declined help from the British in investigating the assassination of Mrs. Bhutto, pressure from a distrusting public and a crumbling explanation caused a turnaround this week. An agreement was reached allowing the British to conduct their own investigation, and police from Scotland Yard arrived over the weekend.

US intelligence officials say, however, that very little evidence will be found, especially if investigators are looking for the suspected shooter. Three former US intelligence officials have told Raw Story that not only is the gunman dead, he was likely the actual target of the suicide bomber.

According to a former high ranking US intelligence official, who wishes to remain anonymous due to the delicate nature of the information, the US intelligence community understands the gunman to have been killed in the blast following Mrs. Bhutto's assassination.

"He was killed, probably not knowing that the suicide bomber was there," said this source. "We don't know for sure if the two men arrived together. We do know that the assassin died in the explosion, and was probably meant to."

Several other US intelligence officials concur that the bomber was likely "inserted" to "clean up" evidence of the shooting, including eliminating the gunman.

When asked why it was important to determine the relationship between the gunman and the suicide bomber, one former CIA officer explained that such details are the key to understanding what happened, how it happened, and who was ultimately responsible. Such details also enable investigators to document patterns and methods used, in order to determine if a terrorist attack has indeed taken place or something else has occurred.

Not terrorism
On Thursday evening, just hours after Mrs. Bhutto was assassinated, the FBI and DHS issued a bulletin indicating that the attack had originated from the terrorist group al Qaeda and was carried out by a suicide bomber. That information, which the US acquired from Pakistani intelligence and government officials, came originally from an Italian news agency which claimed to have received a phone call from an al Qaeda representative and was never substantiated.

On Friday, the Pakistani Interior Ministry offered a slightly different version, saying the suicide bomber was associated with Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a terrorist group linked to al Qaeda. This initial belief that an act of terrorism was responsible for the tragedy that killed Mrs. Bhutto and 25 of her supporters caused a great deal of confusion.

Intelligence sources say that it is precisely these kinds of unsubstantiated claims that create the impression that it is "all al Qaeda, all the time," as one former official noted.

The reports that an al Qaeda suicide bomber had killed Mrs. Bhutto disappeared as quickly as they had surfaced, when footage showing a gunman and an audio capture which clearly indicated several shots fired prior to the explosion began to circulate online and in news accounts.

According to a former high ranking US intelligence official, the involvement of a gunman undercuts the official story that a terrorist attack was responsible for the murder of Mrs. Bhutto.

"Traditionally, al Qaeda coordinates multiple targets and suicide bombers," said the source during a Wednesday conversation. "While it is possible that al Qaeda was behind the assassination, it is not likely, given the operational elements."

A former CIA officer agreed that employing gunmen to assassinate targets is not the way al Qaeda generally operates, saying, "[shooting] at close range is not a traditional al Qaeda technique."

Both sources agreed that it is the general belief within the US intelligence community that the gunman was killed in the attack.

A current US official, who wishes to not be identified for this article, confirmed that the gunman died in the blast but was unable to say whether the suicide bomber was targeting the gunman as suggested by the intelligence officials. "The working assumption is that the gunman [is] dead. But it's by no means clear that the gunman was ignorant of the bomber. I can't confirm that at all."

The CIA declined to comment for this article.

Other Pakistani candidate also a target
On the same day that Mrs. Bhutto was targeted, supporters of Nawaz Sharif – former prime minister and head of the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) party – were shot at as they readied a welcome procession to greet their candidate, who was also scheduled to give a speech in Rawalpindi. That shooting resulted in four dead and 16 injured, putting the total death count of Thursday's violence at 30, including Mrs. Bhutto.

Mr. Sharif did not respond to requests for comment, but in statements to the foreign press he has blamed President Musharraf for both the attack on his supporters and the assassination of Mrs. Bhutto.

"The Pakistani people are disgusted and disappointed to see Bush support one man against 160 million of its citizens," Sharif told the Hindustan Times. "I always worked well with the US when I was prime minister. But today I am disappointed."

Contradictory claims, likely cover-up
While no officials interviewed for this article would explicitly say that Pakistani military or ISI officials played a role in the assassination of Mrs. Bhutto and the shooting attack on Sharif supporters, that possibility was not discounted. The evidence thus far does raise many questions about what role, if any, President Musharraf or someone in his administration might have played in the double attack at Rawalpindi.

"I won't say Musharraf was responsible [for the assassination of Mrs. Bhutto] on the record," said the former high ranking CIA official. "At the very least he was responsible for not providing adequate security.”

Originally a suicide bomber on a motorcycle was blamed for the attack on Bhutto, and shortly thereafter the suicide bomber was said to have ties to al Qaeda. However, by late on Friday, December 28th, Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud was fingered as the mastermind behind Mrs. Bhutto's assassination. By Saturday morning, spokespeople for Mehsud had issued a formal denial of his involvement.

The former high ranking CIA official says that the US has gotten the "Mehsud intelligence" from Pakistan, but has not been able to independently confirm it. "The intelligence is in the form of intercepts that are attributed to Mehsud," said the source. "He is said to be sending a congratulatory message, but we have no independent intelligence to confirm this."

A current US official, who was not comfortable being identified in any form due to the delicate situation between the US and Pakistan, confirmed that Mehsud is all the US has in terms of any leads in the assassination.

"In terms of responsibility, there are indications that point to militants, including Beitullah Mehsud. But that's not a firm, final, definitive conclusion. There's more work to be done."

By Sunday, the Guardian was reporting that "The Pakistani authorities are reported to have drafted a plan to 'eliminate' Baitullah Mehsud ... despite widespread suspicion within Pakistan that he is being used as a scapegoat."

However, two former CIA officials say that there is far too much evidence pointing away from militants being behind the attack.

Indeed, the changing official position as to the cause of death indicates that someone was very interested in making it appear that Mrs. Bhutto had died in a suicide bombing, with initial medical reports out of Rawalpindi on Thursday claiming she had died as the result of the explosion.

By Friday morning, as audio of the gun shots surfaced, state-run media in Pakistan reported that Mrs. Bhutto died as a result of a gunshot wound to the neck, combined with shrapnel from the explosion. It was said the suicide bomber had first fired on Mrs. Bhutto and then detonated his explosives.

By Friday evening, however, the official story had changed yet again, with reports coming out that although bullets were fired, none had hit Mrs. Bhutto. On Saturday morning, the story changed once more, with an official medical report ruling that Mrs. Bhutto died from shrapnel received to the head as a result of the suicide bombing.

Yet also on Saturday, General Javed Iqbal Cheema, a spokesman for Pakistan's Interior Ministry – who cited the same medical report – said Mrs. Bhutto had died as a result of a skull fracture sustained when she either fell against the sunroof lever after the explosion or attempted to hide from the explosion inside the vehicle. Medical examiners admitted that no autopsy was done.

As footage of the gunman began to appear in the press, the official story changed again, to the cause of death being two gunshot wounds to the head and one to the neck. The changing versions of what happened, who had committed the crime, and the rising violence in Pakistan as protestors demanded answers, caused Musharref to finally agree to allow a foreign body to investigate the assassination.

US foreign policy held hostage
"The investigation will be opaque and less effective than what happened in Lebanon," said Larry Johnson, former CIA officer and Deputy Director for Transportation Security, Antiterrorism Assistance Training, and Special Operations for the office of Counterterrorism in the US State Department.

Others interviewed for this article share Johnson's skepticism and believe that the Bush administration will likely look the other way should any connection between Musharraf and the assassination be discovered, because, they say, at this point, the US has "no workable solution" and cannot discontinue support for Musharraf, given the options.

"We are being held hostage to Musharraf's whim," said one former intelligence official.

"What options do we have now? None. Under Musharraf, al Qaeda has grown. The tribal sheiks have also grown. It is a mess and there is not a damn thing we can do about it."

Pakistan's possession of nuclear weapons, close ties to both al Qaeda and the Taliban, and funding from Saudi Arabia make Musharraf and his military dictatorship formidable. The only thing that US officials fear more than the Musharraf dictatorship is its alternative, a civil war and violence in a country which possess both WMD and terrorists.

The Bush administration is, however, feeling a great deal of pressure to pull back support for Musharraf. Many believe this will be handled by the US not asking too many questions about what happened to Mrs. Bhutto and why.

When asked why the West was even bothering with an investigation that would surely neither help alleviate pressure for any of the parties nor ease diplomatic tension when there is already no viable political solution, one US intelligence official responded that "This investigation is not being done for [the United States]. We are not the audience. The Pakistani people are."

Update: In a comment on the implications if Musharraf were found to be complicit in Bhutto's killing, Hady Amr, a fellow at the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution and director of the Brookings Doha Center, writes:

"It would be a tragedy for the people of Pakistan if someone in the current government was in any way complicit in either of the two assassination attempts. I met with Mrs. Bhutto this past fall and can attest that she was a strong-minded person who felt she was on a mission, as a candidate, to improve things in her country. I would hope that the current government was in no way complicit in these two assassination attempts. There are too many factors to suggest in advance what the US response should be. However, with many billions of dollars of US aid spent in Pakistan, the US Government certainly has significant leverage over – and significant interest in – what happens in Pakistan, the only Muslim-majority country with nuclear weapons."

01-09-2008, 10:26 PM
The Destabilization of Pakistan


by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, December 30, 2007

The assassination of Benazir Bhutto has created conditions which contribute to the ongoing destabilization and fragmentation of Pakistan as a Nation.

The process of US sponsored "regime change", which normally consists in the re-formation of a fresh proxy government under new leaders has been broken. Discredited in the eyes of Pakistani public opinion, General Pervez Musharaf cannot remain in the seat of political power. But at the same time, the fake elections supported by the "international community" scheduled for January 2008, even if they were to be carried out, would not be accepted as legitimate, thereby creating a political impasse.

There are indications that the assassination of Benazir Bhutto was anticipated by US officials:
"It has been known for months that the Bush-Cheney administration and its allies have been maneuvering to strengthen their political control of Pakistan, paving the way for the expansion and deepening of the “war on terrorism” across the region.

Various American destabilization plans, known for months by officials and analysts, proposed the toppling of Pakistan's military...

The assassination of Bhutto appears to have been anticipated. There were even reports of “chatter” among US officials about the possible assassinations of either Pervez Musharraf or Benazir Bhutto, well before the actual attempts took place. (Larry Chin, Global Research, 29 December 2007)
Political Impasse
"Regime change" with a view to ensuring continuity under military rule is no longer the main thrust of US foreign policy. The regime of Pervez Musharraf cannot prevail. Washington's foreign policy course is to actively promote the political fragmentation and balkanization of Pakistan as a nation.

A new political leadership is anticipated but in all likelihood it will take on a very different shape, in relation to previous US sponsored regimes. One can expect that Washington will push for a compliant political leadership, with no commitment to the national interest, a leadership which will serve US imperial interests, while concurrently contributing under the disguise of "decentralization", to the weakening of the central government and the fracture of Pakistan's fragile federal structure.

The political impasse is deliberate. It is part of an evolving US foreign policy agenda, which favors disruption and disarray in the structures of the Pakistani State. Indirect rule by the Pakistani military and intelligence apparatus is to be replaced by more direct forms of US interference, including an expanded US military presence inside Pakistan.

This expanded military presence is also dictated by the Middle East-Central Asia geopolitical situation and Washington's ongoing plans to extend the Middle East war to a much broader area.

The US has several military bases in Pakistan. It controls the country's air space. According to a recent report: "U.S. Special Forces are expected to vastly expand their presence in Pakistan, as part of an effort to train and support indigenous counter-insurgency forces and clandestine counterterrorism units" (William Arkin, Washington Post, December 2007).

The official justification and pretext for an increased military presence in Pakistan is to extend the "war on terrorism". Concurrently, to justify its counterrorism program, Washington is also beefing up its covert support to the "terrorists."

The Balkanization of Pakistan
Already in 2005, a report by the US National Intelligence Council and the CIA forecast a "Yugoslav-like fate" for Pakistan "in a decade with the country riven by civil war, bloodshed and inter-provincial rivalries, as seen recently in Balochistan." (Energy Compass, 2 March 2005). According to the NIC-CIA, Pakistan is slated to become a "failed state" by 2015, "as it would be affected by civil war, complete Talibanisation and struggle for control of its nuclear weapons". (Quoted by former Pakistan High Commissioner to UK, Wajid Shamsul Hasan, Times of India, 13 February 2005):
"Nascent democratic reforms will produce little change in the face of opposition from an entrenched political elite and radical Islamic parties. In a climate of continuing domestic turmoil, the Central government's control probably will be reduced to the Punjabi heartland and the economic hub of Karachi," the former diplomat quoted the NIC-CIA report as saying.

Expressing apprehension, Hasan asked, "are our military rulers working on a similar agenda or something that has been laid out for them in the various assessment reports over the years by the National Intelligence Council in joint collaboration with CIA?" (Ibid)
Continuity, characterized by the dominant role of the Pakistani military and intelligence has been scrapped in favor of political breakup and balkanization.

According to the NIC-CIA scenario, which Washington intends to carry out: "Pakistan will not recover easily from decades of political and economic mismanagement, divisive policies, lawlessness, corruption and ethnic friction," (Ibid) .

The US course consists in fomenting social, ethnic and factional divisions and political fragmentation, including the territorial breakup of Pakistan. This course of action is also dictated by US war plans in relation to both Afghanistan and Iran.

This US agenda for Pakistan is similar to that applied throughout the broader Middle East Central Asian region. US strategy, supported by covert intelligence operations, consists in triggering ethnic and religious strife, abetting and financing secessionist movements while also weakening the institutions of the central government.

The broader objective is to fracture the Nation State and redraw the borders of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Pakistan's Oil and Gas reserves
Pakistan's extensive oil and gas reserves, largely located in Balochistan province, as well as its pipeline corridors are considered strategic by the Anglo-American alliance, requiring the concurrent militarization of Pakistani territory.

Balochistan comprises more than 40 percent of Pakistan's land mass, possesses important reserves of oil and natural gas as well as extensive mineral resources.

The Iran-India pipeline corridor is slated to transit through Balochistan. Balochistan also possesses a deap sea port largely financed by China located at Gwadar, on the Arabian Sea, not far from the Straits of Hormuz where 30 % of the world's daily oil supply moves by ship or pipeline. (Asia News.it, 29 December 2007)

Pakistan has an estimated 25.1 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of proven gas reserves of which 19 trillion are located in Balochistan. Among foreign oil and gas contractors in Balochistan are BP, Italy's ENI, Austria's OMV, and Australia's BHP. It is worth noting that Pakistan's State oil and gas companies, including PPL which has the largest stake in the Sui oil fields of Balochistan are up for privatization under IMF-World Bank supervision.

According to the Oil and Gas Journal (OGJ), Pakistan had proven oil reserves of 300 million barrels, most of which are located in Balochistan. Other estimates place Balochistan oil reserves at an estimated six trillion barrels of oil reserves both on-shore and off-shore (Environment News Service, 27 October 2006) .

Covert Support to Balochistan Separatists
Balochistan's strategic energy reserves have a bearing on the separatist agenda. Following a familiar pattern, there are indications that the Baloch insurgency is being supported and abetted by Britain and the US.

The Baloch national resistance movement dates back to the late 1940s, when Balochistan was invaded by Pakistan. In the current geopolitical context, the separatist movement is in the process of being hijacked by foreign powers.

British intelligence is allegedly providing covert support to Balochistan separatists (which from the outset have been repressed by Pakistan's military). In June 2006, Pakistan's Senate Committee on Defence accused British intelligence of "abetting the insurgency in the province bordering Iran" ..(Press Trust of India, 9 August 2006). Ten British MPs were involved in a closed door session of the Senate Committee on Defence regarding the alleged support of Britain's Secret Service to Baloch separatists (Ibid). Also of relevance are reports of CIA and Mossad support to Baloch rebels in Iran and Southern Afghanistan.

It would appear that Britain and the US are supporting both sides. The US is providing American F-16 jets to the Pakistani military, which are being used to bomb Baloch villages in Balochistan. Meanwhile, British alleged covert support to the separatist movement (according to the Pakistani Senate Committee) contributes to weakening the central government.

The stated purpose of US counter-terrorism is to provide covert support as well as as training to "Liberation Armies" ultimately with a view to destabilizing sovereign governments. In Kosovo, the training of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in the 1990s had been entrusted to a private mercenary company, Military Professional Resources Inc (MPRI), on contract to the Pentagon.

The BLA bears a canny resemblance to Kosovo's KLA, which was financed by the drug trade and supported by the CIA and Germany's Bundes Nachrichten Dienst (BND).

The BLA emerged shortly after the 1999 military coup. It has no tangible links to the Baloch resistance movement, which developed since the late 1940s. An aura of mystery surrounds the leadership of the BLA.


Distribution of Balochs is marked in pink.

Baloch population in Pink: In Iran, Pakistan and Southern Afghanistan

Washington favors the creation of a "Greater Balochistan" which would integrate the Baloch areas of Pakistan with those of Iran and possibly the Southern tip of Afghanistan (See Map above), thereby leading to a process of political fracturing in both Iran and Pakistan.
"The US is using Balochi nationalism for staging an insurgency inside Iran's Sistan-Balochistan province. The 'war on terror' in Afghanistan gives a useful political backdrop for the ascendancy of Balochi militancy" (See Global Research, 6 March 2007).
Military scholar Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters writing in the June 2006 issue of The Armed Forces Journal, suggests, in no uncertain terms that Pakistan should be broken up, leading to the formation of a separate country: "Greater Balochistan" or "Free Balochistan" (see Map below). The latter would incorporate the Pakistani and Iranian Baloch provinces into a single political entity.

In turn, according to Peters, Pakistan's North West Frontier Province (NWFP) should be incorporated into Afghanistan "because of its linguistic and ethnic affinity". This proposed fragmentation, which broadly reflects US foreign policy, would reduce Pakistani territory to approximately 50 percent of its present land area. (See map). Pakistan would also loose a large part of its coastline on the Arabian Sea.

Although the map does not officially reflect Pentagon doctrine, it has been used in a training program at NATO's Defense College for senior military officers. This map, as well as other similar maps, have most probably been used at the National War Academy as well as in military planning circles. (See Mahdi D. Nazemroaya, Global Research, 18 November 2006)

"Lieutenant-Colonel Peters was last posted, before he retired to the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, within the U.S. Defence Department, and has been one of the Pentagon’s foremost authors with numerous essays on strategy for military journals and U.S. foreign policy." (Ibid)


It is worth noting that secessionist tendencies are not limited to Balochistan. There are separatist groups in Sindh province, which are largely based on opposition to the Punjabi-dominated military regime of General Pervez Musharraf (For Further details see Selig Harrisson, Le Monde diplomatique, October 2006)

[b]"Strong Economic Medicine": Weakening Pakistan's Central Government
Pakistan has a federal structure based on federal provincial transfers. Under a federal fiscal structure, the central government transfers financial resources to the provinces, with a view to supporting provincial based programs. When these transfers are frozen as occurred in Yugoslavia in January 1990, on orders of the IMF, the federal fiscal structure collapses:
"State revenues that should have gone as transfer payments to the republics [of the Yugoslav federation] went instead to service Belgrade's debt ... . The republics were largely left to their own devices. ... The budget cuts requiring the redirection of federal revenues towards debt servicing, were conducive to the suspension of transfer payments by Belgrade to the governments of the Republics and Autonomous Provinces.

In one fell swoop, the reformers had engineered the final collapse of Yugoslavia's federal fiscal structure and mortally wounded its federal political institutions. By cutting the financial arteries between Belgrade and the republics, the reforms fueled secessionist tendencies that fed on economic factors as well as ethnic divisions, virtually ensuring the de facto secession of the republics. (Michel Chossudovsky, The Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order, Second Edition, Global Research, Montreal, 2003, Chapter 17.)
It is by no means accidental that the 2005 National Intelligence Council- CIA report had predicted a "Yugoslav-like fate" for Pakistan pointing to the impacts of "economic mismanagement" as one of the causes of political break-up and balkanization.

"Economic mismanagement" is a term used by the Washington based international financial institutions to describe the chaos which results from not fully abiding by the IMF's Structural Adjustment Program. In actual fact, the "economic mismanagement" and chaos is the outcome of IMF-World Bank prescriptions, which invariably trigger hyperinflation and precipitate indebted countries into extreme poverty.

Pakistan has been subjected to the same deadly IMF "economic medicine" as Yugoslavia: In 1999, in the immediate wake of the coup d'Etat which brought General Pervez Musharaf to the helm of the military government, an IMF economic package, which included currency devaluation and drastic austerity measures, was imposed on Pakistan. Pakistan's external debt is of the order of US$40 billion. The IMF's "debt reduction" under the package was conditional upon the sell-off to foreign capital of the most profitable State owned enterprises (including the oil and gas facilities in Balochistan) at rockbottom prices .

Musharaf's Finance Minister was chosen by Wall Street, which is not an unusual practice. The military rulers appointed at Wall Street's behest, a vice-president of Citigroup, Shaukat Aziz, who at the time was head of CitiGroup's Global Private Banking. (See WSWS.org, 30 October 1999). CitiGroup is among the largest commercial foreign banking institutions in Pakistan.

There are obvious similarities in the nature of US covert intelligence operations applied in country after country in different parts of the so-called "developing World". These covert operation, including the organisation of military coups, are often synchronized with the imposition of IMF-World Bank macro-economic reforms. In this regard, Yugoslavia's federal fiscal structure collapsed in 1990 leading to mass poverty and heightened ethnic and social divisions. The US and NATO sponsored "civil war" launched in mid-1991 consisted in coveting Islamic groups as well as channeling covert support to separatist paramilitary armies in Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia.

A similar "civil war" scenario has been envisaged for Pakistan by the National Intelligence Council and the CIA: From the point of view of US intelligence, which has a longstanding experience in abetting separatist "liberation armies", "Greater Albania" is to Kosovo what "Greater Balochistan" is to Pakistan's Southeastern Balochistan province. Similarly, the KLA is Washington's chosen model, to be replicated in Balochistan province.

The Assassination of Benazir Bhutto
Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in Rawalpindi, no ordinary city. Rawalpindi is a military city host to the headquarters of the Pakistani Armed Forces and Military Intelligence (ISI). Ironically Bhutto was assassinated in an urban area tightly controlled and guarded by the military police and the country's elite forces. Rawalpindi is swarming with ISI intelligence officials, which invariably infiltrate political rallies. Her assassination was not a haphazard event.

Without evidence, quoting Pakistan government sources, the Western media in chorus has highlighted the role of Al-Qaeda, while also focusing on the the possible involvement of the ISI.

What these interpretations do not mention is that the ISI continues to play a key role in overseeing Al Qaeda on behalf of US intelligence. The press reports fail to mention two important and well documented facts:
1) the ISI maintains close ties to the CIA. The ISI is virtually an appendage of the CIA.

2) Al Qaeda is a creation of the CIA. The ISI provides covert support to Al Qaeda, acting on behalf of US intelligence.
The involvement of either Al Qaeda and/or the ISI would suggest that US intelligence was cognizant and/or implicated in the assassination plot.

01-09-2008, 10:31 PM
I would very much like the allegation that the CIA and the ISI work hand in hand, or that the CIA is in control of the ISI investigated. How much evidence exists with regard to that allegation?

01-11-2008, 09:00 PM
Mysterious crowd suddenly stopped Bhutto's car, officer says


By Saeed Shah and Jonathan S. Landay | McClatchy Newspapers
Posted on Friday, January 11, 2008

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Two new reports on the assassination last month of Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto suggest that the killing may have been an ambitious plot rather than an isolated act of violence and that the government of President Pervez Musharraf knows far more than it's admitted about the murder.

A police officer who witnessed the assassination said that a mysterious crowd stopped Bhutto's car that day, moving her to emerge through the sunroof. And a document has surfaced in the Pakistani news media that contradicts the government's version of her death and contains details on the pistol and the suicide bomb used in the murder.

The witness was Ishtiaq Hussain Shah of the Rawalpindi police. As Bhutto's car headed onto Rawalpindi's Liaquat Road after an election rally Dec. 27, a crowd appeared from nowhere and stopped the motorcade, shouting slogans of her Pakistan Peoples Party and waving party banners, according to his account.

Bhutto, apparently thinking she was greeting her supporters, emerged through the sunroof of the bulletproof car to wave.

It was Shah's job to clear the way for the motorcade. But 10 feet from where he was standing, a man in the crowd wearing a jacket and sunglasses raised his arm and shot at the former prime minister. "I jumped to overpower him," the deputy police superintendent said later. "A mighty explosion took place soon afterwards."

Shah suffered multiple injuries and is recuperating in a Rawalpindi military hospital, guarded by agents of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence directorate.

Who organized the crowd is only one of the mysteries two weeks after the assassination. "I don't know who they were or from where they came," the Rawalpindi officer told Dawn newspaper. "They just appeared on the road."

The second report emerged in the Pakistani daily newspaper The News, with detailed information about the pistol and bomb. It rejects the government's conclusion that Bhutto died when the force of the suicide blast threw her head against the sunroof lever of her car. Such an impact couldn't have fractured her skull, it said. The government refused to confirm the report's authenticity, but a security official verified it to McClatchy. He spoke only on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.

According to the document, which the paper described as a "top agency" preliminary report, a pistol made by Norinco, a Chinese brand, was recovered from the scene, with the lot number 311-90. An MUV-2 triggering mechanism for the bomb also was found, as had been used in 15 previous suicide bombings in Pakistan, with the same lot number and factory code.

"It is a clear indicator that the same terrorist group is involved in almost all these incidents," concluded the report, which the paper quoted at length.

Another mystery of the case is why so valuable a report has been buried. Among its other conclusions: Bhutto's assassin, after shooting her, detonated his own suicide belt. No ambulance was called, and it took 25 minutes to get her to the hospital, only two miles from the scene.

Bhutto, and her security adviser Rehman Malik, had complained repeatedly that she was given inadequate official security, including mobile phone jammers that didn't work and less than the four-vehicle escort that she thought was needed to protect the four corners of her car. In an e-mail to her U.S. lobbyist, Mark Siegel, in late October, Bhutto wrote that if anything happened to her "I would hold Musharraf responsible," in addition to four individuals she named as plotting to kill her in a letter sent to Musharraf on Oct. 16.

There was no security cordon around Bhutto — who'd escaped a suicide bombing attack Oct. 18, the day she returned to Pakistan from self-imposed exile abroad — as she left the park in Rawalpindi. The crime scene was cleared immediately and hosed down, destroying vital evidence. Doctors at the hospital where she was taken, who announced the night it happened that she'd died of bullet wounds to the head and neck, changed their story the next day. There was no autopsy.

Musharraf's government has stuck to its explanation that Bhutto died when she hit her head on the sunroof's lever after the bomb went off, despite the emergence of several videos that show the gunman firing, then Bhutto disappearing into her vehicle before the blast. Officials also turned up what they said was a transcript of a telephone conversation between the supposed masterminds — militant Islamists allied with the Taliban — congratulating each other, the next day.

Scotland Yard detectives, whom Musharraf called in under pressure from home and abroad, have been told that they're to investigate only the cause of death, not the killer's identity. "Providing clarity regarding 'The precise cause of Ms. Bhutto's death' is said to be the principal purpose of the deployment," said Aidan Liddle, a spokesman for the British High Commission in Islamabad.

To many in Pakistan, it all raises questions about whether the government was complicit in the assassination. To others, it points at the very least to a concerted attempt to hide the massive extent of a security failure.

Bhutto's own private-security arrangements seemed poor, chaotic and amateurish. Armored cars are not fitted with sunroofs. Hers was modified in Karachi against all safety advice, according to a security company that operates in that city but spoke only on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject. After Bhutto's death, her husband made the startling revelation that she'd been guarded by men he'd met in prison.

"Both the state and the internal security of the Pakistan Peoples Party failed miserably," said Masood Sharif Khattak, who was the head of the Intelligence Bureau, Pakistan's top civilian intelligence agency, while Bhutto was prime minister and now is retired. "But state responsibility (for her security) stands first and foremost."

"The fact that there are so many suicide bombings taking place in the country, and the security and intelligence apparatus is unable to prevent them, only leads to one conclusion: The jihadists have enablers within the system that allow them to do their stuff," said Kamran Bokhari of Strategic Forecasting, a consultancy based in Austin, Texas.

"We're not talking high-level officials, just people at midlevel, but mostly junior, who could provide them with logistics to operate."

Musharraf has denied that government agencies are involved at any level.

One of the most widely suspected forces behind Bhutto's assassination, al Qaida, hasn't claimed responsibility. The Pakistani militant whom the government has blamed, Baitullah Mehsud, has denied it. Mehsud is a 34-year-old tribal leader in the lawless Waziristan region, in the northwest, who's emerged as the leader of Pakistan's version of the Taliban.

Dr. Farzana Shaikh, associate fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London, said: "If they (al Qaida) are intent on weakening Musharraf and his regime, they could do no better than this. For them to simply leave room open for speculation, much of which has centered on government complicity, would be a very clever move."

"That people are willing to believe this is a very telling reflection of the declining credibility of the Musharraf regime."

01-12-2008, 02:45 PM

Truth is a casualty of blast that killed Bhutto

As eyewitness goes silent and a key report is suppressed, conspiracy theorists point to a government cover-up


Special to The Globe and Mail

January 12, 2008

ISLAMABAD -- An eyewitness is muzzled. A leaked report contradicts the official version of the crime. A body is buried before an autopsy can be conducted. A crime scene is hastily cleansed of evidence.

What may sound like a standard plot from pulp fiction is playing itself out in Pakistan, where it is widely believed that an active effort to cover up the truth behind the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto is under way. Many of the theories swirling around conspiracy-obsessed Pakistan point back to the government, whose missteps and inconsistencies have fuelled the mystery around the killing.

Ishtiaq Hussain Shah, the Deputy Superintendent of Police who was alongside Ms. Bhutto's vehicle and gave an account of the assassination to a local newspaper from his hospital bed, has been silenced. Burly intelligence agents now posted in his ward stop anyone from talking to him.

An official report has surfaced in the local media containing detailed information on the pistol and bomb used in the highly sophisticated attack on Ms. Bhutto on Dec. 27. The report rejects the government's version that Ms. Bhutto died when the force of the blast threw her head against the sunroof lever of her car, fracturing her skull. However, it seems the document has been buried.

There was no security cordon around Ms. Bhutto, a known target for suicide attacks, as she left the park in Rawalpindi where she was killed. The doctors at the hospital, who on the night of her death said she died of bullet wounds to the head and neck, mysteriously changed their story the next day.

The government put forward its sunroof theory, which it has not abandoned despite the emergence of several videos that show Ms. Bhutto disappearing into her vehicle before the blast. Officials also conveniently turned up a transcript of a telephone conversation between the supposed terrorist masterminds, congratulating each other the very next day.

Scotland Yard detectives - who were called in by President Pervez Musharraf after the strong international outcry over the killing - have a limited scope to their inquiry, looking only at the cause of death, not who killed Ms. Bhutto.

To many in Pakistan, it all smacks of state complicity in the assassination. To others, it points, at the very least, to a concerted attempt to hide the extent of the security failure. Ms. Bhutto told her U.S. lobbyist Mark Siegel in an October e-mail that if anything happened to her, "I would hold Musharraf responsible."

Ms. Bhutto's own private security arrangements seemed poor and chaotic. Armoured cars are not typically fitted with sunroofs; Ms. Bhutto's vehicle was reportedly modified against all safety advice. After her death, her husband made the startling revelation that she was guarded by men he had met in prison.

"Both the state and the internal security of the Pakistan Peoples Party failed miserably," said Masood Sharif Khattak, a retired former head of the Intelligence Bureau, Pakistan's top civilian intelligence agency. "But state responsibility [for security] stands first and foremost."

According to that suppressed report on the assassination, the authenticity of which could not be verified, a pistol made by the Chinese company Norinco was recovered from the scene, with lot No. 311-90. An MUV-2 triggering mechanism for the bomb was found, similar to the ones used in 15 previous suicide bombings, and with the same lot number and factory code.

"It is a clear indicator that the same terrorist group is involved in almost all these incidents," the report concluded.

Why would such a valuable report be blocked?

Though it looks bad for Mr. Musharraf, most experts do not believe that the spate of bombings seen in Pakistan over the past year is being orchestrated from the top of the regime.

But the scale and complexity of the attacks - many have hit military targets - lends credence to the theory that rogue intelligence agents are involved.

"The fact that there are so many suicide bombings taking place in the country, and the security and intelligence apparatus is unable to prevent them, only leads to one conclusion. The jihadists have enablers within the system that allow them to do their stuff," said Kamran Bokhari of Strategic Forecasting, a U.S.-based consulting firm.

"We're not talking high-level officials, just people at mid-level but mostly junior, who could provide them with logistics to operate."

Mr. Musharraf has vehemently denied that any government agencies are involved at any level.

The obvious suspect behind the assassination of the pro-American Ms. Bhutto is al-Qaeda, but it has not claimed responsibility, though the group is usually not shy about taking credit. This event would appear to have presented the terrorist organization with a huge propaganda prize. But the Pakistani militant blamed by the country's government, tribal chief Baitullah Mehsud, has flatly denied it.

Some have pointed to the MQM, an ethnically based political party that was openly in conflict with Ms. Bhutto's government in the 1990s in the city of Karachi. While the MQM has history of violence, including allegations of political assassination, it has cleaned up its operations and the group has never been involved in anything of the scale of Ms. Bhutto's killing.

Accusations and innuendo have even extended to Ms. Bhutto's husband, Asif Zardari, who after her death produced a will that named him as her political successor. He has defended himself and, in turn, charged "the establishment" with killing his wife.

One theory has it that it is the United States that is behind the bombings, aiming to show that Pakistan is ungovernable and thus providing the excuse to seize its nuclear weapons.

Al-Qaeda's strange silence on the killing of Ms. Bhutto has everyone looking in other directions, which may be a deliberate tactic because suspicion has fallen mostly on Mr. Musharraf and the state.

The likely aim of the terrorists is to destabilize Pakistan, undermining the rule of government and any sense of security, as they did in Iraq.

One way for extremists to sink Pakistan is to let the administration take the blame for the violence, alienating the people from the state and opening the way for the chaos in which terrorism can thrive.

01-13-2008, 06:11 PM
Musharraf rejects UN probe into assassination of Pakistani opposition leader Bhutto

http://rawstory.com/news/2007/Musharraf_rejects_UN_probe_into_assassination_0112 .html

Nick Langewis
Published: Saturday January 12, 2008

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has rejected a United Nations inquiry into the assassination of former Prime Minister and opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, who he has publicly held personally responsible for her own death.

Pakistan, in addition to help from Scotland Yard, seeks to investigate internally. Blaming al-Qaeda for the assassination in an attempt to "destabilize Pakistan," Musharraf assures, in an interview with France's Le Figaro published Friday.

"If the Americans don't want to pay any more, they should ask other people to help them," adds Musharraf in response to calls to halt American aid, amid growing sentiment that funds for fighting al-Qaeda and the Taliban have been misused. "But the fight against terrorism would suffer."

Members of the Bhutto family do not trust the current Pakistani government to conduct the investigation, though Musharraf says there is no indication of another country's involvement, and he says that results of the inquiry should be made available to the public before the February elections, originally scheduled for January 8.

01-13-2008, 07:33 PM

Scotland Yard “agrees” Al-Qaeda killed Benazir
Hasan Suroor LONDON: Scotland Yard detectives helping with the investigation into the assassination of the former Pakistani Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto, reportedly agree with the official claim that she was killed by Al-Qaeda.

The Sunday Times has quoted British officials as saying that the “evidence” collected by the Yard team points towards Al-Qaeda’s involvement in the murder.

The Scotland Yard team, which includes experts in forensic science, video evidence and explosives, does not have the brief to establish who killed Benazir but simply to help with the analysis of evidence.

However, the British media has been full of speculation, quoting unnamed officials as lending credence to the Pakistan government’s version of Benazir’s assassination.

The Sunday Times report from Christina Lamb, Benazir’s personal friend and biographer, said: “British officials have revealed that evidence amassed by Scotland Yard detectives points towards Al-Qaeda militants being responsible for the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.”

It also claimed that the disputed transcript of a supposed conversation between Baitullah Mehsud, the tribal militant leader with Al-Qaeda links, and an extremist associate in which he admits to his group’s involvement in the killing is “genuine”, according to British and American officials in Pakistan.

The newspaper said that according to “diplomats”, Mehsud had dispatched teams of suicide bombers to “follow Bhutto to rallies and seize an opportunity to kill her”. Asked why Pakistani forces had not captured Mehsud, one official was reported as saying that it was not easy go into tribal areas. Benazir’s family has dismissed the Scotland Yard inquiry as a whitewash.

01-13-2008, 07:34 PM

01-18-2008, 08:48 AM
CIA Places Blame for Bhutto Assassination
Hayden Cites Al-Qaeda, Pakistani Fighters


By Joby Warrick
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 18, 2008; Page A01

The CIA has concluded that members of al-Qaeda and allies of Pakistani tribal leader Baitullah Mehsud were responsible for last month's assassination of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto, and that they also stand behind a new wave of violence threatening that country's stability, the agency's director, Michael V. Hayden, said in an interview.

Offering the most definitive public assessment by a U.S. intelligence official, Hayden said Bhutto was killed by fighters allied with Mehsud, a tribal leader in northwestern Pakistan, with support from al-Qaeda's terrorist network. That view mirrors the Pakistani government's assertions.

The same alliance between local and international terrorists poses a grave risk to the government of President Pervez Musharraf, a close U.S. ally in the fight against terrorism, Hayden said in 45-minute interview with The Washington Post. "What you see is, I think, a change in the character of what's going on there," he said. "You've got this nexus now that probably was always there in latency but is now active: a nexus between al-Qaeda and various extremist and separatist groups."

Hayden added, "It is clear that their intention is to continue to try to do harm to the Pakistani state as it currently exists."

Days after Bhutto's Dec. 27 assassination in the city of Rawalpindi, Pakistani officials released intercepted communications between Mehsud and his supporters in which the tribal leader praised the killing and, according to the officials, appeared to take credit for it. Pakistani and U.S. officials have declined to comment on the origin of that intercept, but the administration has until now been cautious about publicly embracing the Pakistani assessment.

Many Pakistanis have voiced suspicions that Musharraf's government played a role in Bhutto's assassination, and Bhutto's family has alleged a wide conspiracy involving government officials. Hayden declined to discuss the intelligence behind the CIA's assessment, which is at odds with that view and supports Musharraf's assertions.

"This was done by that network around Baitullah Mehsud. We have no reason to question that," Hayden said. He described the killing as "part of an organized campaign" that has included suicide bombings and other attacks on Pakistani leaders.

Some administration officials outside the agency who deal with Pakistani issues were less conclusive, with one calling the assertion "a very good assumption."

One of the officials said there was no "incontrovertible" evidence to prove or rebut the assessment.

Hayden made his statement shortly before a series of attacks occurred this week on Pakistani political figures and army units. Pakistani officials have blamed them on Mehsud's forces and other militants. On Wednesday, a group of several hundred insurgents overran a military outpost in the province of South Waziristan, killing 22 government paramilitary troops. The daring daylight raid was carried out by rebels loyal to Mehsud, Pakistani authorities said.

For more than a year, U.S. officials have been nervously watching as al-Qaeda rebuilt its infrastructure in the rugged tribal regions along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, often with the help of local sympathizers.

In recent months, U.S. intelligence officials have said, the relationship between al-Qaeda and local insurgents has been strengthened by a common antipathy toward the pro-Western Musharraf government. The groups now share resources and training facilities and sometimes even plan attacks together, they said.

"We've always viewed that to be an ultimate danger to the United States," Hayden said, "but now it appears that it is a serious base of danger to the current well-being of Pakistan."

Hayden's anxieties about Pakistan's stability are echoed by other U.S. officials who have visited Pakistan since Bhutto's assassination. White House, intelligence and Defense Department officials have held a series of meetings to discuss U.S. options in the event that the current crisis deepens, including the possibility of covert action involving Special Forces.

Hayden declined to comment on the policy meetings but said that the CIA already was heavily engaged in the region and has not shifted its officers or changed its operations significantly since the crisis began.

"The Afghan-Pakistan border region has been an area of focus for this agency since about 11 o'clock in the morning of September 11, [2001], and I really mean this," Hayden said. "We haven't done a whole lot of retooling there in the last one week, one month, three months, six months and so on. This has been up there among our very highest priorities."

Hayden said that the United States has "not had a better partner in the war on terrorism than the Pakistanis." The turmoil of the past few weeks has only deepened that cooperation, he said, by highlighting "what are now even more clearly mutual and common interests."

Hayden also acknowledged the difficulties -- diplomatic and practical -- involved in helping combat extremism in a country divided by ethnic, religious and cultural allegiances. "This looks simpler the further away you get from it," he said. "And the closer you get to it, geography, history, culture all begin to intertwine and make it more complex."

Regarding the public controversy over the CIA's harsh interrogation of detainees at secret prisons, Hayden reiterated previous agency statements that lives were saved and attacks were prevented as a result of those interrogations.

He said he does not support proposals, put forward by some lawmakers in recent weeks, to require the CIA to abide by the Army Field Manual in conducting interrogations. The manual, adopted by the Defense Department, prohibits the use of many aggressive methods, including a simulated-drowning technique known as waterboarding.

"I would offer my professional judgment that that will make us less capable in gaining the information we need," he said.

01-18-2008, 02:40 PM
Intelligence officials on both sides of the Atlantic question al Qaeda role in Bhutto killing
Scotland Yard says they’re not investigating assassin


Larisa Alexandrovna
Published: Friday January 18, 2008

The assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto last December may never be solved, because Pakistani officials refused to demand an autopsy and hosed away evidence at the scene of her killing.

Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf, President Bush, CIA Director Michael Hayden, and news reports have all claimed that al Qaeda was responsible. However, some current and former US and British intelligence officials now say the evidence points instead to Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence Agency (ISI), the country’s security services.

Moreover, both Scotland Yard and a spokesman for MI6 told RAW STORY this week that British investigators are not examining the question of who killed Benazir Bhutto. They were only charged with identifying the cause of her death.

“The investigation is primarily a matter for the Pakistan authorities,” said Nev Johnson, the Press Officer for the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office, which oversees security and the MI6 intelligence service.

Bhutto, the leader of the opposition Pakistan People’s Party, was shot in Rawalpindi, Pakistan on Dec. 27, 2007. Following her death, a bomb detonated, killing 25 people.

Almost immediately, differences emerged in the official story of her death, with a Musharraf spokesman saying she had been killed as a result of hitting her head against a lever on the sunroof of her bulletproof LandRover.

In a 45-minute interview given exclusively to the Washington Post Friday, CIA Director Hayden blamed members of al Qaeda and Baitullah Mehsud, a Pakistani tribal leader.

However, when asked about the allegations that Mehsud, and thus al Qaeda, is behind the assassination, one former high-ranking CIA case officer replied, “That is total bullshit.”

“Mehsud is an ISI asset. It is ridiculous to think he acted unilaterally. What [the Pakistanis] have [as evidence] is an intercepted conversation, but it is not conclusive that Mehsud is speaking or that he is admitting a role in the assassination. There is some sort of congratulations, but that call could have been made at any time about any topic.”

Another US intelligence source said that it would be impossible to determine who was behind the attacks because the crime scene was “hosed down and there was no autopsy.”

The role of Scotland Yard
Pakistani President Musharraf initially declined the serves of the famed Metropolitan Police Services (MPS) – or, as they are more commonly known, Scotland Yard – when they were offered by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown However, with public pressure mounting, Musharraf agreed. The MPS team, which arrived in Pakistan Jan. 3, concluded Thursday that Bhutto was killed by a bullet wound to the head.

US intelligence officials were concerned from the outset that the MPS investigation would be limited and kept in line with the official Musharraf position, because of the delicate diplomatic relationship that both Britain and the US have with Pakistan. Musharraf has publicly stated that Taliban tribal leader Baitullah Mehsud was the mastermind of the attack and that Mehsud's close relationship to al Qaeda implicates the terrorist group.

A current US official, who wishes to remain anonymous due to the sensitive nature of the subject, told RAW STORY Wednesday that “[Mehsud] is not formally part of the Taliban or al Qaeda, but he’s linked to both, and it is, at times, difficult to say where one organization ends and the other begins.”

Sources close to Scotland Yard say their role is not to identify who killed Mrs. Bhutto, but only to determine how she was killed. According to British intelligence, they are not directing their investigation to point to any single group or person.

Reached early Thursday, a Scotland Yard spokeswoman said that the role of MPS investigators is to “assist the local authorities” in Pakistan.

"At the request of the Pakistan Government, New Scotland Yard's Counter Terrorism Command (SO15) [has deployed] a team of investigators to support the Pakistan Law Enforcement Agencies responsible for investigating the death of Benazir Bhutto,” the spokeswoman said.

“The principal purpose of the SO15 deployment is to assist the local authorities in providing clarity regarding the precise cause of Ms Bhutto's death… The primacy and responsibility for the investigation remains with the Pakistan authorities.”

Asked about recent news reports that Scotland Yard investigators have concluded al Qaeda was behind the murder of Mrs. Bhutto, Nev Johnson, the Press Officer for the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office said that “as the investigation is still underway, it would not be appropriate for the Metropolitan Police to comment. The same thing applies to the FCO.”

“The investigation is primarily a matter for the Pakistan authorities,” he added.

While neither the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office nor Scotland Yard is publicly discussing the investigation, someone appears to be leaking information suggesting that al Qaeda is behind the assassination of Mrs. Bhutto. A recent article, “Scotland Yard believes al Qaeda assassinated Benazir Bhutto,” claims that Mehsud had associations with al Qaeda but quotes no one from the service actually fingering al Qaeda in the attack.

US intelligence officials and some foreign intelligence officers are concerned that leaking anything about the case could ignite a firestorm in the region. Some privately take issue with Scotland Yard’s decision to be part of the investigation to begin with, as it puts the British in an untenable position.

Shootings atypical for al Qaeda
US intelligence officials believe that the use of guns against multiple targets distinctly points away from al Qaeda, whose standard methods of operation are designed to minimize the cost to the organization by causing the most damage possible from a single resource. Typically, that would mean either a suicide bomber or multiple bombings at the same time, using single assets for each attack.

Although there have been several attempts on Mrs. Bhutto’s life, the most recent prior to the fatal shooting was on December 8, 2007, when gunmen attacked a PPP office and killed three Bhutto supporters.

Late on the morning of Dec. 27, 2007, just hours before Mrs. Bhutto was assassinated in Rawalpindi, snipers attacked the followers of another opposition leader – former Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, head of the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) party, who was also scheduled to speak in Rawalpindi – injuring 16 and killing 4.

The use of snipers and gunmen as assassins, say intelligence sources, does not support the theory that al Qaeda was behind the attacks. These sources added that if Mehsud was involved, it could have only been on contract through the ISI.

One US official concluded that if “Mehsud is in fact behind this, then it would be more of an indictment against the ISI than against al Qaeda.”

The ISI, the Taliban, and al Qaeda all have strong ties to one another. It is this complex relationship that confuses the players and the issues and prevents what many professional intelligence officers believe to be a much needed public understanding of what is terrorism and what is not.

In the case of the Bhutto assassination, these sources view the shooting as an act of murder, not an act of terrorism. As previously reported by Raw Story, they believe that the bombing that followed the shooting was aimed at eliminating the shooter and removing evidence of the assassination.
[i]According to a former high ranking US intelligence official, who wishes to remain anonymous due to the delicate nature of the information, the US intelligence community understands the gunman to have been killed in the blast following Mrs. Bhutto's assassination.

“He was killed, probably not knowing that the suicide bomber was there,” said this source. “We don't know for sure if the two men arrived together. We do know that the assassin died in the explosion, and was probably meant to.”

Several other US intelligence officials concur that the bomber was likely “inserted” to “clean up” evidence of the shooting, including eliminating the gunman.

The real question for most of these sources is not “who,” but rather “how.” All of them are inclined to believe that factions of the ISI, either with or without the knowledge and backing of Musharraf, were involved in the assassination at the management level. It is those people who pose a continued danger, say US intelligence officials, to the Pakistani people and to nations in the region, as well as to the US.

A state within a state
The Pakistan Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence has been described as the shadow government of Pakistan or as “a state within a state.”

Although the ISI has existed since the 1940s, it became truly a world player during the Afghan-Soviet war, when many groups of foreign fighters – the Mujahedeen – worked as proxy warriors for Western nations against the Russians and were managed through the ISI. The ISI recruited, trained, and even housed many of these young fighters as they were readied for battle. For its efforts, the ISI was paid by the West as well, as by other nations in the region, including Saudi Arabia and Israel.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, some of the Mujahedeen went home, some were absorbed into the ISI, and others splintered off to become al Qaeda and the Taliban, with the direct help of both elements within the ISI and Saudi Arabia. Although it remains a matter of debate just how much influence the ISI continues to exert over its al Qaeda and Taliban offspring, there is no question that there are certain individuals – and even small but powerful factions – within the ISI that have a very close relationship with terrorists and militants.

01-19-2008, 12:21 PM

January 19, 2008
C.I.A. Sees Qaeda Link in the Death of Bhutto

By MARK MAZZETTI (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/mark_mazzetti/index.html?inline=nyt-per)
WASHINGTON — The Central Intelligence Agency (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/c/central_intelligence_agency/index.html?inline=nyt-org) has concluded that the assassins of Benazir Bhutto (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/b/benazir_bhutto/index.html?inline=nyt-per), the former Pakistani prime minister, were directed by Baitullah Mehsud, a Pakistani militant leader in hiding, and that some of them had ties to Al Qaeda (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/a/al_qaeda/index.html?inline=nyt-org).

The C.I.A.’s judgment is the first formal assessment by the American government about who was responsible for Ms. Bhutto’s Dec. 27 assassination, which took place during a political rally in the garrison city of Rawalpindi.

“There are powerful reasons to believe that terror networks around Baitullah Mehsud were responsible,” said one American intelligence official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

The official said that “different pieces of information” had pointed toward Mr. Mehsud’s responsibility, but he would not provide any details.

Gen. Michael V. Hayden (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/h/michael_v_hayden/index.html?inline=nyt-per), the C.I.A. director, discussed the agency’s conclusion in an interview with The Washington Post published Friday.

Some friends and supporters of Ms. Bhutto questioned the C.I.A. conclusions, especially since the former leader was buried before a full forensic investigation had been conducted. The British government has since sent a team from Scotland Yard to participate in the investigation into the assassination.

“The C.I.A. appears too eager to bail out its liaison services in Pakistan, who are being blamed by most Pakistanis,” said Husain Haqqani, a former adviser to Ms. Bhutto and a professor at Boston University (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/b/boston_university/index.html?inline=nyt-org).

“Given the division inside Pakistan on this issue, it might be better to have an international investigation under the aegis of the U.N. (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/u/united_nations/index.html?inline=nyt-org),” Mr. Haqqani said.

Within days of Ms. Bhutto’s assassination, Pakistani authorities announced they had intercepted communications between Mr. Mehsud and militant supporters in which they said the leader had congratulated his followers for the assassination and appeared to take responsibility for it.

Mr. Mehsud, through a spokesman, has denied responsibility for the killing and suggested that the assassins were directed by Pervez Musharraf (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/pervez_musharraf/index.html?inline=nyt-per), Pakistan’s president and a longtime rival of Ms. Bhutto’s.

Members of Ms. Bhutto’s political party, along with some of her family members, have also challenged Pakistani government accounts of the attack. They have blamed Mr. Musharraf for failing to provide Ms. Bhutto with adequate protection as she campaigned around the country, and some have hinted that elements of Pakistan’s government may have been behind the assassination.

American and Pakistani officials have blamed Mr. Mehsud’s followers for many recent suicide attacks against government, military and intelligence targets in Pakistan. Based in the South Waziristan tribal areas along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, Mr. Mehsud runs training camps and dispatches suicide bombers beyond the border areas in both countries, the officials say. He is also believed to have links to the Arab and Central Asian militants who have established a stronghold in the tribal areas.

Government officials in Pakistan and independent security analysts say they believe that the Qaeda network in Pakistan is increasingly made up of homegrown militants who have made destabilizing the government a top priority.

American intelligence officials say they believe that Al Qaeda has steadily built a safe haven in the mountainous tribal areas of western Pakistan, constructing a band of makeshift compounds where both Pakistani militants and foreign fighters conduct training and planning for terrorist attacks.

This has led to mounting frustration among intelligence and counterterrorism officials, many of whom believe that the United States should take more aggressive unilateral steps to dismantle terrorist networks in the tribal areas. The Bush administration is currently considering proposals to step up covert actions in Pakistan against the Qaeda network.

01-19-2008, 06:04 PM
Teen arrested over Bhutto assassination

Article from: Agence France-Presse
From correspondents in Islamabad

January 19, 2008 10:25pm

PAKISTANI police have arrested a teenager who was allegedly part of a five-man squad assigned to kill opposition leader Benazir Bhutto last month, security officials said.

The suspect, 15-year-old Aitezaz Shah, was arrested in the north-western city of Dera Ismail Khan while planning a suicide bombing during the Muslim festival of Ashura.

Shah told interrogators he had been part of a back-up team of three bombers who were tasked with killing the former premier if the original December 27 attack by two men had failed.

Interior ministry spokesman Iqbal Cheema could not confirm the arrest.

Ms Bhutto was assassinated in a gun and suicide bomb attack at an election rally in Rawalpindi. The government and CIA have blamed al-Qaeda and tribal warlord Baitullah Mehsud for her killing.
Shah, originally from the southern city of Karachi, went for training last year at a camp run by one of Mehsud's commanders in the tribal border region of Waziristan, security officials quoted him as telling investigators.

He allegedly said the attackers in the team that killed Ms Bhutto were called Bilal and Ikramullah - the same names mentioned in an alleged telephone conversation between Mehsud and another militant the day after Ms Bhutto's death.

The tape was released the day after her killing by Pakistan's interior ministry.

Shah's whereabouts at the time of the attack were not immediately clear. One security official said he was in Rawalpindi, the city where Ms Bhutto was killed, while another said he was in the tribal area of Waziristan.

One of the officials said Shah was arrested during a security check when he arrived in Dera Ismail Khan by taxi from the North Waziristan tribal area, which borders Afghanistan.

He allegedly told officials that he came to collect a suicide jacket for an attack at the US consulate in Karachi, but the plan had been changed because of tight security for Ashura, which takes place tomorrow.

Instead, he was ordered to launch an attack during an Ashura procession by the minority Shi'ite sect tomorrow, the officials said.

02-02-2008, 07:53 PM

Benazir Bhutto accuses Osama Bin Laden's son from beyond the grave

Dean Nelson and Ghulam Hasnain IN A POSTHUMOUS autobiography excerpted in The Sunday Times today, Benazir Bhutto names the 16-year-old son of Osama Bin Laden as the leader of one of four gangs of “designated assassins” sent to kill her.

The former Pakistan prime minister, who was assassinated as she left a rally in Rawalpindi in December, reveals she was warned by both President Pervez Musharraf and a “friendly Muslim government” that Hamza Bin Laden was planning her murder.

The naming of Bin Laden’s teenage son appears to bolster intelligence claims that Hamza is being groomed as a future leader of Al-Qaeda.

In her new autobiography, Bhutto writes: “I was told by both the Musharraf regime and the foreign Muslim government that four suicide bomber squads would attempt to kill me. These included, the reports said, the squads sent by the Taliban warlord Baitullah Mehsud; Hamza Bin Laden, a son of Osama Bin Laden; Red Mosque militants; and a Karachi-based militant group.”

Little has been heard of Hamza since he featured in a joint Taliban and Al-Qaeda video, shot in 2001, of a militant attack on a Pakistan army camp in South Waziristan, a militant stronghold near the Afghan border.

Last September Hamza was described in reports as a senior Al-Qaeda leader who had been waging jihad in the lawless tribal areas along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

Bhutto’s book also describes how a suicide bomb attack on her motorcade in Karachi when she returned home last October may have been carried out by a would-be assassin who lined the clothes of a toddler with plastic explosive to turn the child into a bomb.

She says a man gestured to her to hold the child, before trying to hand it to police in a nearby van, which exploded soon afterwards.

02-07-2008, 02:35 PM

2 held over Bhutto assassination

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- Pakistani police have arrested two suspects over the assassination of former prime minister and leading opposition figure Benazir Bhutto.

The two suspects, named only as Rafaqat and Hasnain, were arrested in Rawalpindi, were arrested in Rawalpindi -- a garrison city outside Islamabad where Bhutto was killed -- the police official said.

No other details on their arrests were immediately available.

Pakistani investigators looking into Bhutto's December 27 killing are being assisted by a small team from Britain's Scotland Yard.

Police are still holding Aitzaz Shah, 15, and a man named Sher Zaman, who were detained last month in Dera Ismail Khan in Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province.

Pakistani officials have been vague on Shan and Zaman's links to Bhutto's killing, and said they have not been named official suspects.

Pakistan (http://topics.cnn.com/topics/pakistan)'s government has concluded that Bhutto's assassination was orchestrated by Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban who has ties to al Qaeda -- a conclusion that the CIA came to as well.

Bhutto was killed while standing in an moving armored car after rallying supporters for parliamentary elections. The vote, originally scheduled for early January, was postponed until Feb. 18 in the wake of her death.

Her head was above the sunroof and unprotected at the time of the attack.

The cause of her death is not clear: a bomber blew himself up near Bhutto's limousine, and videotape showed a gunman apparently firing shots toward her -- but no autopsy was carried out at the family's request.

Bhutto's family and party have accused Musharraf's government of having a role in her death, and have criticized the security provided to her by the government. Musharraf has denied any involvement in her death.

02-08-2008, 01:09 AM

February 8, 2008
Head Injury Killed Bhutto, Report Said to Find

By ERIC SCHMITT (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/s/eric_schmitt/index.html?inline=nyt-per) and SALMAN MASOOD
WASHINGTON — Investigators from Scotland Yard have concluded that Benazir Bhutto (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/b/benazir_bhutto/index.html?inline=nyt-per), the Pakistani opposition leader, died after hitting her head as she was tossed by the force of a suicide blast, not from an assassin’s bullet, officials who have been briefed on the inquiry said Thursday.

The findings support the Pakistani government’s explanation of Ms. Bhutto’s death in December, an account that had been greeted with disbelief by Ms. Bhutto’s supporters, other Pakistanis and medical experts.

Also on Thursday, the Pakistani government announced the arrest of two more suspects in connection with the assassination plot but gave few other details.

Thousands of Ms. Bhutto’s supporters gathered in her hometown in southern Pakistan (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/pakistan/index.html?inline=nyt-geo), marking the end of a 40-day mourning period.

It is unclear how the Scotland Yard investigators reached such conclusive findings absent autopsy results or other potentially important evidence that was washed away by cleanup crews in the immediate aftermath of the blast, which also killed more than 20 other people.

The British inquiry also determined that a lone gunman, whose image was captured in numerous photographs at the scene, also caused the explosion, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the report has not been made public. Pakistani authorities originally said there were two assailants, based partly on photographs splashed across the front pages of the nation’s leading newspapers.

Scotland Yard investigators relayed their key findings to the government of President Pervez Musharraf (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/pervez_musharraf/index.html?inline=nyt-per) on Thursday, according to the officials.

The investigators are expected to present a formal report to the Pakistani government on Friday, as well as to Ms. Bhutto’s widower, Asif Ali Zardari (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/z/asif_ali_zardari/index.html?inline=nyt-per), now co-chairman of her Pakistan Peoples Party, and the couple’s 19-year-old son, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, who is a student in London.

Scotland Yard said through a spokesman in London that it would have no comment on the Bhutto report until after it was made public. The British team is to present its report on Friday to the additional inspector general of police, Abdul Majid, who is leading the Pakistani investigation team.

Scotland Yard’s report will be presented just days before the country’s parliamentary elections on Feb. 18.

The findings are certain to be met with widespread skepticism, especially from Mrs. Bhutto’s supporters who blame the government for her death, in particular Mr. Musharraf and the leading politician of the party that backs him, Pervez Elahi. They also are unlikely to calm the turmoil in the country now that the 40 days of mourning has ended.

Mr. Zardari and his party’s supporters say they believe she was shot, as do people who were riding with Ms. Bhutto when she died on Dec. 27 after her vehicle came under attack as she left a political rally in Rawalpindi.

The doctors who treated Ms. Bhutto told a member of the hospital board, an eminent lawyer, Athar Minallah, that she had most likely been shot. Ms. Bhutto’s brazen killing set off days of violent protests and rioting across Pakistan. To allay public anger and to lend credibility to the investigations into the assassination plot, Mr. Musharraf invited a team of Scotland Yard forensic experts to assist Pakistani investigators in early January.

But the British investigators have faced several hurdles, including the compromise of the crime scene by cleanup crews and Mr. Zardari’s refusal to allow an examination of Ms. Bhutto’s body.

Mr. Musharraf has said that among the pieces of evidence potentially available to investigators was an X-ray taken by hospital technicians of Ms. Bhutto’s wounded skull. Investigators pored over hundreds of photographs taken at the scene, many by people with cellphone cameras.

The question of an autopsy became central to the circumstances of Ms. Bhutto’s death because of conflicting versions of the critical events put forward by the Pakistani government.

Ms. Bhutto was standing in an open-roofed vehicle at the time of the attack. On the night she was killed, an unidentified Interior Ministry spokesman was quoted by the official Pakistani news agency as saying that she had died of a “bullet wound in the neck by a suicide bomber.”

But the official account later released by Pakistan’s government said that she had not been shot, but had instead died as a result of a skull fracture caused when her head struck a lever on her vehicle’s sunroof as she ducked back into the vehicle during the attacks.

Even as the authorities in Islamabad prepared to receive the report, the government on Thursday announced the arrests of the two additional suspects in Ms. Bhutto’s death. Pakistani officials said that they were arrested Thursday morning in Rawalpindi, a city about seven miles from the capital that is home to the army’s headquarters. They gave few other details.

“All I can say is that two persons by the name of Husnain and Rafaqat were arrested today in the morning,” said Javed Iqbal Cheema, a retired brigadier who is the spokesman for the Interior Ministry, in a telephone interview Thursday evening.

The government officials described the arrests as an “important breakthrough,” but they did not say what role they believed the two arrested played in Ms. Bhutto’s death.

Mr. Cheema denied reports that one of the arrested men was the brother of the man said to have been the suicide bomber. Pakistani officials consider Baitullah Mehsud (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/baitullah_mehsud/index.html?inline=nyt-per), the militant leader of the South Waziristan region, as one of the prime suspects in the Bhutto case.

Last month, the authorities arrested a teenager from North-West Frontier Province in connection with the case and later made an additional arrest. Both suspects are now under investigation, according to the Interior Ministry.

In Garhi Khuda Baksh in southern Sindh Province, where Ms. Bhutto is buried at her family mausoleum, caravans of supporters started gathering Thursday morning, according to the local news media. Prayer services were also held in other cities.

Eric Schmitt reported from Washington, and Salman Masood from Islamabad, Pakistan. Carlotta Gall contributed reporting from Islamabad.

02-09-2008, 02:25 PM
New Bhutto Assassination Video


06-08-2008, 08:50 AM
Pakistan asks U.N. to investigate Bhutto assassination



ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) -- Pakistan said Saturday that it had asked the U.N. to investigate the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammed Sadiq said Pakistan's ambassador to the U.N. handed the request to the world body's secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, in New York on Friday.

It was unclear when Ban would make a decision and whether he would refer the matter to the U.N. Security Council.

Bhutto died in a gun-and-suicide bomb attack December 27 as she left an election rally in Rawalpindi.

Her death shocked the world and Pakistan, fanning revulsion at rising militant violence as well as conspiracy theories that Pakistan's powerful spy agencies were involved.

It also helped carry her Pakistan People's Party to victory in February elections. The party leads a seven-week-old coalition government that has made a U.N. investigation into who was behind the killing a top priority.

The previous government and the CIA quickly accused Baitullah Mehsud, a Pakistani militant commander often blamed for suicide attacks, of orchestrating the killing.

Pakistan's Interior Ministry released a wiretap in which Mehsud associates purportedly congratulated each other for her death. Bhutto had called for Pakistan to redouble its efforts against Islamic extremism.

President Pervez Musharraf and the U.S. have opposed a U.N. investigation.

But Bhutto's party argues that the world body should look into the killing because of Mehsud's alleged links to al Qaeda and because of the huge political controversy that surrounds the case in Pakistan.

Sadiq said Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi would soon travel to New York for talks with Ban and members of the Security Council. He said he was confident the U.N. would accept the request.

A U.N. spokeswoman said last month that Ban was likely to refer the matter to the Security Council.

03-30-2010, 08:54 PM
U.N. Bhutto assassination inquiry report delayed


7 hours 26 mins ago

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has accepted an urgent request from Pakistan to delay presentation of a U.N. report on the 2007 assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, the world body said on Tuesday.

The report on a nine-month inquiry by a three-person U.N. panel, was originally due to be presented by Wednesday, but Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari requested it be delayed until April 15, U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said.

Nesirky gave no reason for the Pakistani request.

The panel, headed by Chile's U.N. Ambassador Heraldo Munoz, looked into the circumstances surrounding the attack that killed Bhutto after an election campaign rally in Rawalpindi city on December 27, 2007.

Nesirky told reporters that the report was completed and was ready for delivery. But he said neither Secretary-General Ban nor the Pakistani government had seen it.

Ban set up the panel at the request of Pakistan's coalition government, led by Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party.

The previous government, headed by allies of former president and army chief Pervez Musharraf, blamed then Pakistani Taliban leader and al Qaeda ally Baitullah Mehsud for Bhutto's murder. Mehsud was killed in a U.S. drone strike last August.

04-15-2010, 10:53 PM
UN slams deliberate failure to adequately probe Bhutto assassination


By Agence France-Presse
Thursday, April 15th, 2010 -- 9:05 pm

bhutto horizontal UN slams deliberate failure to adequately probe Bhutto assassinationPakistani police deliberately failed to properly probe the 2007 murder of ex-premier Benazir Bhutto which could have been averted if there had been adequate security, a UN-appointed independent panel said Thursday.

"Ms Bhutto's assassination could have been prevented if adequate security measures had been taken," said the report by a three-member panel headed by Chile's UN ambassador Heraldo Munoz.

The panel said responsibility for Bhutto's security on the day of her assassination rested with "the federal government, the government of Punjab and the Rawalpindi district police."

"None of these entities took the necessary measures to respond to the extraordinary, fresh, urgent security risks that they knew she faced," it added.

The panel said it believed that Pakistani police's failure to probe the slaying effectively "was deliberate."

"These officials, in part fearing intelligence agencies' involvement, were unsure of how vigorously they ought to pursue actions, which they knew, as professionals, they should have taken," it added.

The panel said the Pakistani probe "lacked direction, was ineffective and suffered from a lack of commitment to identify and bring all of the perpetrators to justice."

It added it was up to Pakistani authorities to carry out a "serious, credible criminal investigation that determines who conceived, ordered and executed this heinous crime... and brings those responsible to justice."

The Munoz-led panel was tasked with establishing the facts and circumstances of the slaying and was not empowered to identify culprits.

Bhutto, the first woman to become prime minister of a Muslim country, was killed on December 27, 2007 in a gun and suicide attack after addressing an election rally in Rawalpindi, a garrison city near the capital Islamabad.

Bhutto's supporters have cast doubt on an initial Pakistani probe into her death, questioning whether she was killed by a gunshot or the blast and criticizing authorities for hosing down the scene of the attack within minutes.

Munoz earlier Thursday turned over the report to UN chief Ban Ki-moon.

Pakistan's UN Ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon, who was to have addressed the press after receiving a copy of the report, canceled the press encounter and was to take the report back to Islamabad.

The panel unwrapped the long-awaited, sensitive report after complying with Islamabad's request for a two-week delay.

Pakistan said last week it had asked that the release, initially scheduled for March 30, be delayed so that input from Afghanistan, the United States and Saudi Arabia could be included.

Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik said he had asked the UN-appointed, three-member panel to include input from former US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Saudi Arabia in its report.

He did not elaborate further on what information he wanted to be included.

04-30-2010, 09:02 PM
Govt to file murder case against Musharraf: Badar


Updated at: 2200 PST, Wednesday, April 28, 2010

KARACHI: Central Secretary of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Jehangir Badar has said that a case will be lodged against Pervez Musharraf by the state in the wake of UN Report on the assassination of Ms Benazir Bhutto.

He was addressing a press conference on the occasion of launching membership campaign of the party in the province. He was accompanied by PPP Sindh President and Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah besides other PPP leaders here on Wednesday.

Jehangir Badar said the assassins of Benazir Bhutto’s will not be identified on the basis of personal enmity but by acting within the parameters of justice and rule of law.

In his remarks on the 18th amendment of the Constitution, the PPP’s senior leader said it has now become part of the Constitution and implementation on the same will soon be ensured.

He, however, said although the concurrent list has been abolished the devolution of powers from the Federation to provinces cannot be made overnight.

05-02-2010, 07:03 PM
Be nice to me if you want protection, Mush told Benazir



Former military ruler Pervez Musharraf had warned Benazair Bhutto that if she wanted protection in Pakistan she should be "nice" to him, a top ex-aide of the assassinated leader has claimed.

According to the Sunday Times report, former premier Benazir had called Musharraf, then the President of Pakistan, seeking additional security for her. "He told her, 'I warned you not to come back until after the elections,' and threatened her, 'I'll only protect you if you're nice to me,'" said Husain Haqqani, a former Bhutto aide who was living in the US and is now Pakistan's ambassador in Washington. "Instead of stepping up her security, it was reduced," he said.

She was even told not to travel in vehicles with tinted windows, as this was against the law of the local government. She appealed to the US and British officials who had helped negotiate her return. "I called everyone" said Haqqani. "I even got the US ambassador in Pakistan, Anne Patterson, to visit her."

"Patterson wasn't nice to her," said Bhutto's cousin Tariq Islam. "She harped on, 'You must not talk against Musharraf.' The Americans never trusted her."

The Sunday Times wrote, "Benazir Bhutto was brought back to Pakistan from exile as part of an international deal. Then she was killed — and all traces of evidence were immediately swept away."

12-05-2010, 10:27 AM
Pakistan court issues warrants over Bhutto's death
Pakistan court issues warrants for 2 police officers accused of negligence in Bhutto's killing


Dec 05, 2010 05:26 EST

A Pakistani court has issued arrest warrants for two police officials accused of failing to provide proper security for former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto on the day she was assassinated. They are also accused of cleaning the crime scene before evidence could be collected.

Prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali identified the men Sunday as former Rawalpindi police chief Saud Aziz and Superintendent Khurram Shahzad.

Ali said the two could be arrested at any time. The officials could not be reached for comment.

Bhutto was killed in 2007 just weeks after returning to the country from self-imposed exile.

A U.N. commission in April said her assassination could have been prevented. It blamed all levels of government for failing to provide adequate security.

02-07-2011, 06:15 PM
Pakistani investigators name Musharraf accused in Benazir's murder case


English.news.cn 2011-02-07 19:19:14

ISLAMABAD, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- Investigators Monday requested an Anti-Terrorism Court to declare former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf absconder in the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, prosecutors said.

Benazir Bhutto, the two times Prime Minister of Pakistan, was killed in firing and suicide attack in the garrison city of Rawalpindi in Dec. 2007 when Musharraf was ruling the country.

The Musharraf government had blamed the then Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsood for Benazir's killing, a charge denied by Pakistani Taliban.

No group has so far claimed responsibility for the killing of Benazir Bhutto.

The investigators Monday presented a report in the court in Rawalpindi, listing Musharraf as one of the accused in the case. The documents said that Pervez Musharraf had been issuing instructions to then two senior police officers, responsible for the security of Benazir Bhutto.

Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar told the court that Musharraf had been named as an "absconding accused" as he has shown lack of cooperation.

A United Nation inquiry report said last year that the attack on Benazir Bhutto could be averted if tight security measures had been taken.

The anti-terrorism court is conducting the trial of five suspects, including members of the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, who have been charged with planning and facilitating the assassination. All have denied any involvement.

A prosecutor for the FIA told the court that Musharraf had been called several times in connection with the investigation but he did not appear and he has been declared absconder.

The prosecutor requested the court to declare Musharraf as absconder until the next hearing on Feb. 12, and if he failed to appear at the court, he should be declared proclaimed offender.

The investigators also produced forensic report of Benazir Bhutto's BlackBerry phone, she had used on the day of her murder.

A spokesman for Musharraf dismissed the FIA report as a politically motivated move and said it is aimed at hiding the real causes of the murder of Benazir Bhutto.

Musharraf, who has been living in self-exile in Britain since April 2009, has said that he intended to return to Pakistan before the next general election in 2013. He formed a new party, the All Pakistan Muslim League, with an eye to the next polls.

02-08-2011, 09:07 PM
Hearing of pleas for extradition, trial of Musharraf put off


Staff Report

LAHORE: Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed of the Lahore High Court on Tuesday deferred until February 24 the hearing of two identical petitions seeking extradition and trial of former president Pervez Musharraf on high treason charges.

The judge postponed the hearing until February 24 as the counsels for the petitioners and respondent did not appear before the court. 

Justice Saeed had directed the attorney general of Pakistan (AGP) to personally appear before the court on January 27.

The petitioners, Aziz Ahmed Awan and Ghazi Illmuddin advocate, had levelled 15 allegations of different nature against Musharraf.

They submitted that the former military dictator had manhandled lawyers and booked several of them on false charges while they were protesting against his November 3, 2007 acts.

They alleged that he had killed thousands of seminary students during the Jamia Hafsa operation in Islamabad, compelled nuclear scientist Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan to accept a false charge of selling nuclear technology.

They also alleged that Musharraf had ordered killing of Nawab Muhammad Akbar Khan Bugti and was also involved in the Karsaz incident in Karachi.

The petitioners’ counsel submitted that Musharraf had joined the United States in its war against terror after the 9/11 without the nation’s consent and also handed over innocent citizens to it.

Illmuddin, one of the petitioners, alleged that the retired general had also prepared a plot to kill Benazir Bhutto.

The petitioners requested the court to direct the federal government to lodge a case against Musharraf under Article 6 of the constitution.

They also sought his extradition and issuance of red warrants against him.

02-09-2011, 04:09 PM
Benazir was promised she would be PM: Forensic report


Indo-Asian News Service
Islamabad, February 09, 2011
First Published: 11:39 IST(9/2/2011)

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Benazir Bhutto had been assured that she would be the prime minister after the 2007 general elections, revealed a forensic report that was compiled after retrieving data from her personal BlackBerry phones. An email begins by calling her "Respected Prime Minister".

The Express Tribune said that one of her close associates informed Benazir through an email that the then US secretary of state and the then head of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) had also given the nod.

A team of experts of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) have managed to retrieve five dozen e-mails from the two BlackBerry phones of the slain leader.

An e-mail sent by a leading PPP leader Oct 23, 2007, to Benazir Bhutto said: "Respected Prime Minister (Benazir Bhutto), the United States confirmed that a crucial message had been sent to intelligence agencies of Pakistan, specifically not to interfere in party affairs and stay away from the electoral process. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and director-general Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) have done a secret deal for your (Benazir Bhutto) premiership."

"Congratulations Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and warm regards.”

The e-mails are going to provide crucial help in the probe into her unsolved killing.
Bhutto was assassinated Dec 27, 2007, as she was leaving Liaquat Bagh in a motorcade after addressing an election rally in Rawalpindi.

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 Taliban of plotting to kill Bhutto while the doctors said as she was standing in her vehicle "her head banged against the lever of the sunroof of her vehicle, which caused her death".

A few days prior to her killing, Benazir sent an email to American journalist Ron Suskind. While referring to then president Pervez Musharraf, she said that Musharraf had given an alarming message: “You (Benazir) should understand that your security is based on the state of relations between you and me (Benazir and Musharraf).”

Benazir expressed dissatisfaction over her security in an e-mail Oct 26, 2007 sent to her advisor in Washington DC, Mark Siegel.

She wrote: “Nothing will happen, just wanted you to know. If it does, in addition to the names in my letter to President Musharraf, I would hold Musharraf responsible. I have been made to feel insecure by his minions and there is no way what is happening in terms of stopping me from taking private security or using tinted windows of four police mobiles to cover all sides could happen without him (Musharraf).”

Bhutto also sent an SMS message to noted interviewer Daphne Barak. In reply to an SMS message, Barak wrote: “Bibi, you are going to Pakistan. It’s a trap for you now. But you are insisting to go back.”

The FIA's Forensics Lab has retrieved the crucial data from the BlackBerry phones. Nearly 400 hundred contact numbers have been saved.

FIA's latest investigation report, compiled by head of investigation team Khalid Qureshi, said: “Musharraf was equally responsible for facilitation and abetment of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto through his government and justified failure in providing her the requisite security protection that her status demanded twice. There was a security lapse.”

Former president Pervez Musharraf's name was Monday included in the list of accused in the Benazir Bhutto assassination case.

Musharraf's name was added to the list following a statement of former Rawalpindi city police chief Saud Aziz.

Aziz claimed that Musharraf had given the order to change Benazir's security in-charge. He also claimed that the murder scene was immediately washed on Musharraf's orders.

Musharraf ruled Pakistan for nine years after taking power in a bloodless coup in 1999. He stepped down in 2008 and left Pakistan. He now lives in London.

In December last year, Pervez Musharraf was sent a questionnaire by the interior ministry regarding Bhutto's assassination during his presidency.

02-12-2011, 11:39 AM
Warrant For Musharraf Over Bhutto Murder

http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/World-News/Pakistan-Court-Issues-Pervez-Musharraf-Arrest-Warrant-Over-Benazir-Bhutto-Assassination/Article/201102215929045?lpos=World_News_First_Home_Article _Teaser_Region_2&lid=ARTICLE_15929045_Pakistan_Court_Issues_Pervez_ Musharraf_Arrest_Warrant_Over_Benazir_Bhutto_Assas sination

11:38am UK, Saturday February 12, 2011

A court in Pakistan has issued an arrest warrant for London-based former president Pervez Musharraf over the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

Pervez Musharraf is farewelled by the Pakistan army

Pervez Musharraf is not expected to comply with the court's ruling

Pakistani Television says anti-terrorism court judge Rana Nisar Ahmad issued the warrant and ordered Mr Musharraf to appear before the court on February 19.

Mr Musharraf's spokesman Saif Ali Khan has said the former president will not comply with the request.

Ms Bhutto was killed on December 27, 2007, in a gun and suicide bomb attack as she was travelling in a car while campaigning in Rawalpindi for forthcoming elections.

Her death, which came just weeks after she had returned to her home country following eight years of self-imposed exile, sparked international outrage.

Many of Ms Bhutto's supporters accused former military leader Mr Musharraf - who was president at the time - of not doing enough to ensure her protection.

He left Pakistan for London more than two years ago.

Last April a UN report said that Pakistan intentionally failed to investigate Ms Bhutto's assassination properly, and hampered a United Nations inquiry.

"While she died when a 15-and-a-half-year-old suicide bomber detonated his explosives near her vehicle, no one believes that this boy acted alone," the report said.

"The commission was mystified by the efforts of certain high-ranking Pakistani government authorities to obstruct access to military and intelligence sources."

The report said Mr Musharraf was aware of and tracking the many threats against Ms Bhutto.

But his government "did little more than pass on those threats to her and to provincial authorities", it said.

Ms Bhutto's husband, Asif Ali Zardari, is the current president of Pakistan.

02-12-2011, 11:39 AM
Pakistan Issues Arrest Warrant for Musharraf



Pakistani officials say an anti-terrorism court has issued an arrest warrant for former President Pervez Musharraf in connection with the assassination of ex-Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

Authorities say Judge Rana Nisar Ahmad issued the warrant Saturday, ordering Mr. Musharraf to appear in court on February 19.

Mr. Musharraf has been in exile in London for more than two years.

Ms. Bhutto was assassinated in a gun and suicide bomb attack on December 27, 2007, while campaigning in the city of Rawalpindi. Ms. Bhutto was running as leader of the opposition Pakistan People's Party in national elections.

Her widower, Ali Zardari, led the Pakistan People's Party to victory, and is now president.

02-12-2011, 11:39 AM
Musharraf will not comply with Pakistan warrant


Posted Saturday, February 12 2011 at 13:52

Former president Pervez Musharraf will not comply with a warrant for his arrest issued by a court in Pakistan over the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, his spokesman in London said Saturday.

"No, he won't be going back for this hearing," Fawad Chaudhry, a spokesman for Musharraf's All Pakistan Muslim League party, told AFP, adding that the warrant was "totally ridiculous."

A Pakistani anti-terrorism court earlier Saturday ordered Musharraf, who is currently in self-imposed exile in London, to appear for a hearing on February 19 over claims about the assassination of ex-premier Bhutto in 2007.

02-12-2011, 11:46 AM
Arrest Warrant for Pakistan's Ex-President


February 12, 2011 8:13 AM

ISLAMABAD - An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan has issued a warrant for the arrest of the country's former president, General Pervez Musharraf in connection with the 2007 killing of the late Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, in a move that potentially reopens a bitter chapter from the country's troubled political history.

Musharraf, a close ally of former U.S. President George W Bush, has lived in exile since 2008, dividing his time between the U.K. and Dubai, after he resigned to avoid a parliamentary impeachment by newly-elected politicians.

Bhutto, a westernized liberal politician, was killed in a 2007 gun and grenade attack, right after she emerged from a high profile political rally in Rawalpindi, the main suburb of Islamabad, ahead of the country's national elections.

Mohammad Ali Saif, a Pakistani barrister and a member of Musharraf's All Pakistan Muslim League (APML,) confirmed the arrest warrant to CBS News, and said that it appeared to be built on a political vendetta launched by President Asif Ali Zardari, Bhutto's husband, and Pakistan's prime minister Yusuf Raza Gilani.

"The case has no legal basis. It is just a political drama, a vendetta," Saif said.

A senior Pakistan government official said the warrant was issued on the basis of findings by the main federal police, known as the FIA or Federal Investigation Agency.

"The FIA found enough evidence to recommend General Musharraf's arrest so that he is presented in court" said the government official who spoke to CBS News on condition of anonymity.

An initial investigation right after Bhutto's killing noted the involvement of Baitullah Mehsud, a notorious Taliban militant, for having put together a conspiracy to carry out the attack.

"In the past, our leaders have been telling us, the killing of Benazir Bhutto was done by Baitullah Mehsud. Suddenly, where does President Musharraf fit in to the picture? This sounds quite questionable," Saif told CBS News.

Musharraf himself has repeatedly refuted claims that either he or the army or the intelligence services had any involvement in Bhutto's killing. But a report by a United Nations appointed commission of inquiry made public last year said the possibility of the involvement of Pakistan's military and security establishment could not be ruled out.

While the case surrounding Musharraf will have little immediate bearing on Pakistan's relations with the outside world, notably the U.S., western diplomats in Islamabad warned that any further acrimony surrounding the country's politics will be looked at with further concern by the Obama administration.

"Bitter political infighting in Pakistan will of course be of concern to the US, just at a time when the US is trying to establish closer relations with Pakistan" said one senior western diplomat who spoke to CBS News on condition of anonymity. "Every time the matter of President Musharraf becomes a high profile issue, there are some in Pakistan who remember the undemocratic character of his military regime and the backing he received from the U.S. Ultimately, this feeds in to anti-U.S. sentiment which is already strong in Pakistan."

Meanwhile, in a case related to anti-US sentiment in Pakistan, watched with interest from Washington, a second Pakistan government official on Saturday confirmed that Shah Mehmood Qureshi, the former foreign minister, dropped on Friday from a newly-appointed cabinet, left the government "amid irreconcilable differences on relations with the U.S."

Speaking to CBS News on condition of anonymity, the official revealed that differences between Qureshi and key leaders (notably Zardari and Gilani) widened when Qureshi refused to allow the foreign ministry to certify that Raymond Davis, a U.S. official arrested in Pakistan following his killing of two Pakistani men last month, was a serving US diplomat.

While U.S. officials have claimed that Davis was a serving diplomat and therefore armed with diplomatic immunity from prosecution, Pakistani officials refuse to accept the U.S. view. On Friday, a Pakistani judge in the city of Lahore ordered Davis to be sent to prison for two weeks to await a trial.

02-12-2011, 11:47 AM
Pakistan court issues a non-bailable warrant for Pervez Musharraf



Days after former president Pervez Musharraf was made an accused in the assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto, a non-bailable arrest warrant was today issued against him to secure his presence in the court to stand trial.

Judge Rana Nisar Ahmed Khan of the Pakistani anti-terrorism court, conducting the trial of five suspects charged with involvement in Benazir's assassination, issued the warrant Musharraf.

The court made the move after Chaudhry Zulfiqar, the prosecutor for the Federal Investigation Agency, argued that Musharraf should be declared an absconder for failing to cooperate in the investigation into the assassination.

The court directed Musharaf to appear before it at the next hearing on February 19.

But, Musharraf's legal advisor Muhammad Ali Saif told PTI there was "no possibility" of the former President appearing in court and said the court's decision to issue a warrant was "politically-motivated".

Prosecutors told the court that further progress in investigating Bhutto's assassination was not possible without Musharraf's presence.

They said they had tried repeatedly to contact Musharraf but he had refused to cooperate.

They also said he should be declared a wanted fugitive if he did not appear for the next hearing.

The judge also considered statements by former Interior Ministry spokesman Javed Iqbal Cheema and former Intelligence Bureau chief Ejaz Shah, who said they had acted on Musharraf's instructions in matters related to the

Cheema has told investigators that he was acting on Musharraf's instructions when he announced at a news conference shortly after the assassination that the Taliban were behind the killing.

The FIA had named Musharraf as an "absconder" earlier this week for failing to cooperate with investigators.

Talking to reporters shortly after the court issued the warrant, Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan said the government would provide any sort of cooperation that was requested by the court.

"We will provide whatever help the court wants. We can even contact the Interpol (regarding Musharraf)," she said.

"It is up to the court to decide what sort of intervention or support it wants," Awan added.

05-22-2011, 04:22 PM
US ignored Bhutto's plea for evaluation of security: WikiLeaks


21 May, 2011, 11.24PM IST,PTI

NEW DELHI: Just two months before she was killed in a terror attack, former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto had approached then US Ambassador in Islamabad asking for help to evaluate her personal security but it was ignored, latest WikiLeaks cables have revealed.

Bhutto handed over a written request to US Ambassador Anne W Patterson two months before she was killed asking her to carry out an evaluation of the security because she feared for her life, say the WikiLeaks cables, accessed by news channel NDTV.

The cables reveal that the US chose to look the other way, suggesting that Benazir should work constructively with General Pervez Musharraf's government -- the same organisation that Benazir insisted was out to kill her.

Benazir made the request to the US Ambassador immediately after a terror strike killed more than 130 people at a rally organized by the Pakistan Peoples Party on October 18, 2007 in Karachi. The rally was organised to welcome her after her eight years' exile in Dubai and London.

According to the cables, Bhutto told the US Ambassador that she did not believe that the Pakistan Government was giving the security that she needed and she was under severe threat.

Suspecting Musharraf administration's hand in Karachi attack, Bhutto also complained of shoddy Pakistan Government probe into Karachi terror strike, it said.

But Anne Patterson , whatever reasons, decided not to do that, it said.

Bhutto was assassinated on December 27, 2007, after departing a party rally in Rawalpindi , two weeks before the scheduled Pakistani general election of 2008.

08-21-2011, 07:06 PM
Benazir Bhutto assassination case: Anti-terrorism court to indict seven offenders


By Mudassir Raja
Published: August 21, 2011

An anti-terrorism court is likely to formally indict seven accused men in the Benazir Bhutto assassination case on August 27, the next date of hearing.

The court will formally initiate the trial of Hasnain Gul, Rafaqat Hussain, Abdul Rasheed, Aitzaz Shah, Sher Zaman affiliated with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, former city police officer Rawalpindi Saud Aziz, and former SP Khurram Shahzad for their alleged role in the murder of the former premier outside the historic Liaquatabad Bagh on December 27, 2007.

Special Judge Shahid Rafique was informed on Saturday that the prosecution had provided certified copies of investigation reports, legal documents and incriminating evidence to the lawyers of the seven accused facing the trial. The two police officers’ lawyers had been demanding copies of the statements of all police officers and politicians accompanying Bhutto to prepare their defence.

The court directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) reinvestigating the case in the light of the UN commission inquiry report to send a last rejoinder to the GHQ and DHA authorities for details of former president Pervez Musharraf’s property, who is cited as a proclaimed offender in the case. The court will formally attach Musharraf’s movable and immovable assets and issue perpetual warrants for his arrest.

The FIA has accused Hasnain and Rafaqat with providing residence and transport to the suicide bomber, Rasheed Ahmed for being a part of the conspiracy and Aitzaz Shah, a minor and Sher Zaman for concealing the murder plot. Saud Aziz is accused of destroying vital evidence after the terror attack by hosing down the crime scene and not allowing Bhutto’s postmortem. SP Khurram is also accused of destroying evidence at the crime scene. Musharraf is accused of threatening Bhutto with dire consequences if she returned to Pakistan and of trying to influence the post murder investigation by arranging a premature press conference.

The court has already declared former TTP chief Baitullah Mehsud and six other activists as proclaimed offenders.

In a related development, the court directed the administration of the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE) to award Rasheed Ahmed with the medal and certificate on the next date of hearing in Adiala jail for his performance in the secondary school certificate examination.

Rasheed alias Abdul Rasheed Turabi had obtained 848 out of 1050 marks. His lawyer informed the court that he stood third in the BISE among the boys in the humanities group but the jail authorities did not allow him to go to the BISE office to receive his award.

An official appeared in the court on Saturday and said the boy was formally invited but he was not taken to the ceremony for security reasons.

08-27-2011, 10:07 AM
Musharraf's assets' seizure ordered



RAWALPINDI: Anti-terrorist court (ATC) in Rawalpindi has ordered authorities to take control of former president Pervez Musharraf’s tangible assets i.e. property, bank accounts, etc. in Benazir Bhutto murder case, Geo News reported Saturday.

The decision was made after a FIA report containing information regarding the assets of the former president was presented before the court.

FIA officials informed the court that Musharraf owned a farmhouse in Chak Shahzad, Islamabad and a plot in the Gwadar Housing Society, while his bank accounts are worth Rs80.90 million at the moment.

08-27-2011, 10:07 AM
Pakistani court orders confiscation of Musharraf's assets


English.news.cn 2011-08-27 21:55:51

ISLAMABAD, Aug. 27 (Xinhua) -- An Anti-Terrorism Court in Pakistan Saturday ordered confiscation of property of former President Pervez Musharraf for his failure to appear before the court in the 2007 murder case of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, court officials said.

The court has already declared Pervez Musharraf as an " absconder" in the assassination case of Benazir Bhutto as he has not agreed to clarify his position in court despite several notices.

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had requested the court to summon Pervez Musharraf who was President at the time of the assassination, but he had refused a request to cooperate in the investigation into Bhutto's death.

Following the lack of cooperation by Musharraf, he was named as an "absconding accused", FIA prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar said.

The FIA on Saturday presented a final report in the court about Pervez Musharraf's refusal to appear and the court issued orders to confiscate property of the former president. Local media reported that the court has also ordered to freeze Musharraf's bank accounts.

The court ruled that the trial of Musharraf will be started separately from other accused and after he is arrested.

The anti-terrorism court is conducting the trial of five terror suspects including alleged members of the Tehrik-e- Taliban Pakistan who have been charged with planning and facilitating the assassination.

Bhutto was killed by a suicide bomber shortly after she addressed an election rally in Rawalpindi on December 27, 2007.

The chargesheet further said that former Rawalpindi Police chief Saud Aziz and former Superintendent of Police Khurram Shahzad, who were arrested this year by the FIA on charges of negligence in providing security to Bhutto, were acting on the orders of Musharraf. Both former police officers were bailed out and are now being tried in the case.

The FIA's charge against Musharraf is one of a long list of legal and criminal cases against the former president who resigned in August 2008 and it could cause problems for his planned return to Pakistani politics.

Musharraf, who has been living in self-exile in Britain since April 2009, said that he planned to return to Pakistan before the next general election in 2013.

He has also formed a new party, the All Pakistan Muslim League, with an eye to the next polls.

01-14-2012, 09:20 AM
Beating around the bush


by Irfan Waheed on January 13th, 2012

Soon after President Pervez Musharraf was forced out of office in August 2008, he went into self-imposed exile. Since then, the government has had abundant time to build a case against him. They had an embarrassment of riches to choose from in terms of preparing a case against him. Despite all that, all they have to show for their efforts is this:

In May 2011, a Rawalpindi court declared former military ruler Pervez Musharraf a Proclaimed Offender in the Benazir Bhutto assassination case.

In October 2011, a Quetta court issued an arrest warrant for Pervez Musharraf over the killing of Akbar Bugti.

Hardly something to strike fear in the heart of a former commando.

As Musharraf muses over his homecoming date, Interior minister Rehman Malik has attempted to deter him from returning with the threat of a ‘possible arrest’. Sindh Home Minister Manzoor Wassan has been more direct, stating that Musharraf will be arrested from the airport when he returns.

Even if he is jailed on arrival, there is a good chance he would be released. Mrs Musharraf has already challenged the court order declaring him a proclaimed offender.

One gets the feeling that Musharraf is not losing any sleep over these threats.

In fact, in a sign of the political savvy he has acquired in his exile years, he has declared that the cases against him don’t “stand on any solid legs at all.” He also added that “these are politicised cases and I have no responsibility in the two major cases.”

This rhetoric rings a bell. Both the PPP and PML (N) have consistently dismissed all cases against them as being political in nature. Not only have these parties thrived, they have also entered the corridors of power. In mimicking their rhetoric, Musharraf has taken a leaf out of their book. Perhaps he is holding out hope to mirror their political fortunes as well.

Government officials whose views are of any consequence at all seem to be conveniently ignoring the 500 pound gorilla in the room: Article 6. Musharraf suspended the constitution twice; and even though he got legal cover for his first indiscretion, the second offence has been conveniently deposited in the dustbin of history.

All this despite the fact that in July 2009, the Supreme Court had declared Musharraf’s Proclamation of Emergency (issued November 3. 2007) as being “un-constitutional, ultra-vires of the Constitution and consequently being illegal.” Mindful of the limits of its jurisdiction, the Supreme Court turned down a request to try Musharraf for treason, as the responsibility lies with parliament to decide whether to lay such charges.

In the presence of the aforementioned Supreme Court judgment, one wonders why the government does not develop a consensus to hold Musharraf to account for his actions in the fateful fall of 2007. Musharraf himself has admitted to the fact that his act was unconstitutional. In an interview with the BBC in November 2007, he is quoted as saying:

“Have I done anything constitutionally illegal? Yes, I did it on 3 November.”

The disturbing reality is that the Pakistani state has degenerated to the point that the power brokers use the law only to settle scores. But even if one assumes that the powers-that-be are adopting such a diabolical approach, it still stands to reason that one should (mis)use the law which gives the best chance to pin down one’s opponent. In the light of the July 2009 judgment and Musharraf’s statement quoted above, the government’s reluctance to initiate Article 6 proceedings against him defies logic.

Perhaps there is more to this saga than meets the eye. Or maybe we are seeing a manifestation of a theory put forth by Benjamin Franklin when he said: “Laws too gentle, are seldom obeyed; too severe, seldom executed.”

Democracy is not a guarantee for justice nor is it a substitute for it. But we have been told that ‘democracy is the best revenge’. This is little solace for the masses who have had revenge exacted on them for crimes unknown, but I digress.

Then again, there are nations who don’t even have this opportunity afforded to them. In the case of Musharraf, it seems like his fate will have to be decided by the people. With everything else that is brewing, the mother of all elections is looming on the horizon.

01-19-2012, 09:55 AM
Pakistan 'will arrest Musharraf if he returns'

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5ilgc2WXg9o1gcoB2rs4oMYt3ljfg?docId=CNG.45807 57baf91bd9343cc5b7e43af0aeb.231

By Sajjad Tarakzai (AFP) – 22 hours ago

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan will arrest former military ruler Pervez Musharraf should he return as announced at the end of the month from three years of self-imposed exile, the interior minister said Wednesday.

"I assure this house that if he lands in Pakistan, he will be arrested because he is a PO (proclaimed offender)," Rehman Malik told the upper house of parliament.

"There are three registered cases against him. He has been named in these cases, so ultimately he will be arrested."

In a telephone address to a political rally in Pakistan's largest city of Karachi on January 8, Musharraf promised to fly home between January 27-30 to contest general elections now widely expected later this year.

"I'll land in Karachi despite all sorts of dangers to my life," he said.

"I can sacrifice my life if need be for the people of Pakistan."

Musharraf seized power in 1999 in Pakistan's third military coup, becoming the country's fourth military ruler.

He was forced to step down as president in August 2008 after the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) formed a government following elections. Since then, he has divided his time between London and Dubai.

But in October a Pakistani court issued a warrant for his arrest over the killing of Akbar Bugti, a Baluch rebel leader in the insurgency-torn southwest who died in a cave hideout during an army raid in August 2006.

In February 2011, another court issued a warrant for his arrest over the 2007 assassination of ex-prime minister Benazir Bhutto, saying he failed to provide adequate security to protect her.

In 2009, a criminal case was registered against him over his 2007 state of emergency and detention of judges as he attempted to cling onto power.

Few in Pakistan are thought to want Musharraf to return and the army has stopped short of publicly guaranteeing his safety against the arrest warrants.

A spokesman for Musharraf's All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) on Wednesday left the door open to the retired general changing his mind on returning.

"We are not afraid of arrests," party official Mohammad Ali Saif told AFP.

"We are in consultation with party leaders in this regard and Pervez Musharraf will take the final decision."

The authorities in Karachi stood by the threat of arrest.

"We'll go by the order of the court," provincial home minister Manzoor Wassan told AFP in Karachi, capital of the southern province.

"We have made arrangements for him in prison," he added.

A security official said forces had been ordered to tighten security from January 27-30 in Karachi "to avoid any untoward incident".

On October 19, a suicide attack targeting Bhutto's homecoming killed at least 139 people in Karachi, to date Pakistan's deadliest militant attack.

01-27-2012, 08:00 PM
Pervez Musharraf postpones Pakistan return, aide says
Pervez Musharraf addressing Karachi rally via video link from Dubai Gen


Former President Pervez Musharraf has decided to postpone his return to Pakistan, one of his aides says.

Mr Musharraf had previously vowed to end his self-imposed exile and fly back to Pakistan by the end of this month to revive his political career.

He faces arrest on arrival as he is accused of failing to provide adequate security for former PM Benazir Bhutto ahead of her assassination in 2007.

The former military ruler, who stepped down in 2008, denies wrongdoing.

On Friday Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani repeated that Mr Musharraf would be arrested if he did return.

Mohammad Saif, general secretary of Mr Musharraf's All Pakistan Muslim League, told journalists in Dubai: "Gen Musharraf will return to Pakistan, that's for sure.

"But we are waiting for the tension between the government and the Supreme Court to subside.

He told journalists in Dubai that the government would seek to use Mr Musharraf's return to divert attention from its failures.

Mr Saif gave no date for Mr Musharraf's return.

In early January, Mr Musharraf had told a Karachi rally via video link from Dubai that he would be in Pakistan from 27 to 30 January and planned to participate in parliamentary elections, which are due by 2013.

"I've been threatened and warned but I'm not one of those who gets scared or backs down," he told supporters. "I've fought wars. I'll come to Pakistan."

The former president has described the case against him as "baseless" and politically led.

Little support
Correspondents say few people in Pakistan believe the country's former military ruler is the answer to its many problems.

The government is currently locked in a three-way struggle with the judiciary and Pakistan's powerful military establishment.

Relations with the US have hit new lows in recent months, principally over concerns about Pakistan's role in the fight against the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

Gen Musharraf led a military government which ruled Pakistan from 1999.

His supporters were defeated in parliamentary elections in February 2008, and Gen Musharraf resigned in August that year under threat of impeachment.

Pakistan's current president is Asif Ali Zardari, who is the widower of Benazir Bhutto.

02-21-2012, 09:33 AM
Pakistan to ask Interpol to arrest ex-president



(AP) ISLAMABAD — Pakistan's interior minister says the government will ask Interpol to arrest ex-President Pervez Musharraf in connection with the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

Rehman Malik said Tuesday that Pakistan was seeking Musharraf's arrest because he allegedly failed to provide adequate security for Bhutto.

Legal expert Hashmat Habib said Interpol, an international police organization, has the right to detain Musharraf and hand him over to Pakistan if it chooses to issue a warrant.

Bhutto was killed in a gun and bomb attack on Dec. 27, 2007, near Pakistan's capital, Islamabad.

Musharraf has been living in London and Dubai since he resigned in 2008.

Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party controls the current government.

02-22-2012, 09:42 AM
Zardari knows who killed Benazir: Musharraf Denies involvement


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

RAWALPINDI: Former president Pervez Musharraf has said that President Asif Ali Zardari knows well who are the killers of former premier Benazir Bhutto and that Interpol will not get involved.

Musharraf on Tuesday reacted strongly to Rehman Malik’s briefing to lawmakers in the Sindh Assembly in which the interior minister flagrantly accused the former president of having involvement in the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

Talking to various TV channels, Musharraf vehemently denied the allegations, saying that he had responsibly informed the the threats to her life before the first attack.

He slammed the report of the assassination probe as being unfounded, saying: “The UN report on Benazir’s killing is baseless”. “I was not in contact with the slain PPP chairperson after October 18,” he further affirmed. He said it was by no means the duty of the president to provide security to the former prime minister, who had returned to the country voluntarily.

03-02-2012, 10:04 AM
Pakistan moves Interpol for Musharraf's arrest


PTI | Mar 1, 2012, 02.44PM IST

Pakistani authorities have sent a formal request to Interpol to issue a Red Corner Notice for former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, currently living outside the country in self-exile.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani authorities have sent a formal request to Interpol to issue a Red Corner Notice for former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, currently living outside the country in self-exile.

The move was taken so that he can be arrested and brought back to the country to face trial in connection with the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

The Federal Investigation Agency yesterday sent the request to the Director of Interpol in Pakistan, official sources said today.

FIA Special Prosecutor Mohammad Azhar Chaudhry confirmed to the media that the process to bring Musharraf back to Pakistan had begun.

Interior minister Rehman Malik last week announced that the government would bring Musharraf back to face trial for his alleged failure to provide security to former premier Benazir Bhutto at the time of her assassination in 2007 despite being aware of threats to her life.

Musharraf has been declared a "proclaimed offender" or fugitive by an anti-terrorism court conducting the trial of seven persons accused of involvement in the assassination.

The court also directed authorities to seize Musharraf's assets and to freeze his bank accounts.

Special Prosecutor Chaudhry said an officer of the FIA's joint investigation team probing the assassination had handed over an application for the Red Corner Notice to Interpol's representative in Pakistan.

After scrutinising the application, the Interpol representative will forward it to Interpol headquarters in France, he said.

Once the Red Corner Notice is issued, Musharraf can be detained anywhere in the world and brought back to Pakistan so that he can be produced in court, official sources said.

Musharraf has been living in London and Dubai since he left Pakistan in early 2009 after several criminal and civil cases were filed against him across the country.

Meanwhile, a media report today said the British government may not extradite Musharraf even if Pakistan obtains a Red Corner Notice against him as the two countries do not have an extradition treaty.

The News daily, quoting a senior unnamed British diplomatic source said that not only Musharraf but a number of people from various countries living in Britain are wanted by their governments on different counts.

As long as they obey the law in Britain, they are not deported, the source claimed.

Musharraf has not sought asylum in Britain but is staying as a guest who respects "British laws faithfully", the daily quoted its sources as saying.

"We have no problem with his staying in the United Kingdom," a source said.

Musharraf recently put off his plans to return to Pakistan in March after the government warned that he would be arrested on arrival.

The former dictator had planned to return to the country to lead his All Pakistan Muslim League party in the next general election.

He has denied allegations that he was in any way involved in Bhutto's assassination and said he is willing to face Pakistani courts.

03-06-2012, 09:25 AM
Pakistan posts Musharraf summons for March 22

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hh5PegfLdqalds7Qw0GNCUIXv6zg?docId=CNG.cb10f 0d0d9e1040731189773f7f0cf95.831

(AFP) – 5 hours ago

ISLAMABAD — Pakistani authorities on Tuesday posted a summons demanding that former military ruler Pervez Musharraf return from exile and appear before the country's top court on March 22.

The notice was glued to the gate of Musharraf's farm house on the outskirts of Islamabad after he failed to respond to repeated calls to appear over the December 27, 2007 murder of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

Musharraf, who has lived in self-imposed exile in London and Dubai since stepping down in 2008, delayed plans to return home this year indefinitely after the government warned he would be arrested upon arrival.

"Yes, I can confirm that a notice has been pasted on the main gate of Musharraf's farm house," Sheikh Naeem, a senior police official, told AFP.

The notice asks Musharraf to appear in the Supreme Court on March 22 with documents proving his identity as a Pakistani citizen.

Bhutto was killed in a gun and suicide attack after an election rally in Rawalpindi, the headquarters of Pakistan's army. Her party won elections two months later and her widower, Asif Ali Zardari, is president of Pakistan.

In 2010, a UN report said the murder could have been prevented and accused Musharraf's government of failing to provide Bhutto with adequate protection.

Pakistani investigators accused him of being part of a "broad conspiracy" to have his political rival killed before elections.

But at the time, Musharraf's government blamed the assassination on Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud, who denied any involvement and was killed in a US drone attack in August 2009.

03-06-2012, 09:25 AM
Summons pasted on Musharraf’s farm house


ISLAMABAD: Authorities on Tuesday posted a summons demanding that former military ruler Pervez Musharraf return from exile and appear before the country’s top court on March 22.

The notice was glued to the gate of Musharraf’s farm house on the outskirts of Islamabad after he failed to respond to repeated calls to appear over the December 27, 2007 murder of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

Musharraf, who has lived in self-imposed exile in London and Dubai since stepping down in 2008, delayed plans to return home this year indefinitely after the government warned he would be arrested upon arrival.

“Yes, I can confirm that a notice has been pasted on the main gate of Musharraf’s farm house,” Sheikh Naeem, a senior police official, told AFP.

The notice asks Musharraf to appear in the Supreme Court on March 22 with documents proving his identity as a Pakistani citizen.

03-22-2012, 08:53 AM
‘Musharraf knew of Benazir’s assasination plot’



KARACHI: A report by the United Nations and a Pakistani Joint Investigation Team (JIT), probing former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s murder, says former President Gen (Retd) Pervez Musharraf was aware of the Benazir assassination plot and personally ordered the destruction of evidence, Mark Siegel alleged in a New York Daily News article on Thursday.

Siegel was an adviser and friend of late Benazir Bhutto, and was also a collaborator on her book “Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy and the West,” which completed days before her murder.

Siegel claims he was with the former prime minister on September 25, 2007, when she had received a call from Musharraf “threatening her with dire consequences if she returned to Pakistan.”

“She was visibly shaken when she hung up the phone,” writes Siegel.

Soon after her arrival to Pakistan, and following the first failed assassination attempt on her life, Siegel claims she wrote an email to him saying “if anything happened to her, she would hold Musharraf responsible.”

The JIT report concludes that Musharraf, working with two police officers who reported back to him, knew of the plotting of the assassination, was aware of the timing and personally ordered the destruction of evidence, writes Siegel.

He adds: “Bhutto had believed that Musharraf was complicit in the attempt to take her life in Karachi by not providing her enough security. In fact, his involvement in the Karachi and Rawalpindi attacks was much more direct and insidious.”

03-22-2012, 08:54 AM
Musharraf was aware of BB's murder plot



KARACHI: The reports issued by the United Nations (UN) and Joint Investigation Team (JIT), formed by the government of Pakistan to probe Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Benazir Bhutto’s (BB) murder, blame the Musharraf government for her assassination, Mark Siegel wrote in New York Daily News.

The government has begun criminal proceedings against the seven accused, including Musharraf and requested Interpol to issue an international warrant for the arrest of Musharraf after a four-year investigation.

If and when Interpol issues a red warrant against Musharraf, the police of all 190 Interpol member countries will have the authority to arrest him. He has been summoned before the Supreme Court of Pakistan today, March 22.

A United Nations tribunal issued a blistering 70-page report essentially holding the Musharraf government responsible for Bhutto’s murder. The UN concluded that the failure of the police to effectively investigate Bhutto’s assassination, and the destruction of evidence, was deliberate and ordered from above. The UN also found that the assassination would have been prevented if the authorities had provided adequate security.

Picking up the mantle of the UN report, the government of Pakistan formed a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to investigate the assassination. The JIT concluded its report last month, and its conclusions are not ambiguous: Musharraf, working with two police officers who reported back to him, knew of the plotting of the assassination, was aware of the timing and personally ordered the destruction of evidence.

Those officers facilitated the terrorists who devised the multifaceted elements of the conspiracy, from conception to execution to coverup. Musharraf’s failure to provide security to Bhutto, despite his full knowledge that an assassination would be attempted, all but ensured that the conspiracy would succeed.

BB was assassinated on Dec. 27, 2007 as she left a campaign event in Rawalpindi. Despite the fact that Musharraf had ordered intense security teams to guard two other former prime ministers who were his political supporters, Bhutto was provided with virtually no security at all.

The crime scene in Rawalpindi was almost immediately washed down, with forensic evidence hosed away by the police. No witnesses were interrogated. No autopsies took place. Nor did an investigation.

Mark Siegel wrote that Musharraf had threatened BB with dire consequences if she returned to Pakistan to lead her Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in the upcoming elections, where she was the major threat to defeat him. Bhutto quoted Musharraf as saying that she would be responsible for what happened to her.

Afterward, she emailed her adviser and friend Mark Siegel to say that if anything happened to her, she would hold Musharraf responsible.

03-22-2012, 08:54 AM
'Musharraf was aware of timing of Bhutto’ murder'



Karachi: Both the United Nations and Joint Investigation Team reports blame former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf for former prime minister Benazir Bhutto’s assassination, an article in an American daily has said.

The reports come in the wake of criminal proceedings against the seven accused in the case, including Musharraf, and the Pakistan government requesting Interpol to issue an international warrant for Musharraf’s arrest.

According to Mark Siegel’s article in the New York Daily News, the United Nations’ 70-page report concludes that the failure of the police to effectively probe Bhutto’s assassination, and the destruction of evidence, was deliberate and ordered from above.

The UN also found that the assassination would have been averted had the Pakistan authorities made adequate security arrangements, The News reports.

The JIT report said Musharraf, working along with two police officers, was aware of the assassination plot against Bhutto and its timing and personally ordered the destruction of evidence.

The police officers facilitated the terrorists, who devised various phases of the plot, from conception to execution and cover-up operations, it added.

Despite the fact that Musharraf had ordered security teams to guard two other former prime ministers who were his political supporters, Bhutto was provided with virtually no security.

She was assassinated on December 27, 2007 as she left a campaign event in Rawalpindi.

Siegel’s article said Musharraf had threatened Bhutto with dire consequences if she returned to Pakistan to lead her Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) in the upcoming elections.

Bhutto had, subsequently, e-mailed her adviser and friend Siegel to say that Musharraf was to be blamed if happened to her.

04-10-2012, 09:47 AM
Benazir Bhutto murder case: SC refuses ‘special favours’ for Pervez Musharraf


By Azam Khan
Published: April 10, 2012

ISLAMABAD: In the Benazir Bhutto assassination case, the apex court has refused to extend any favour to former military ruler Pervez Musharraf.

The Federal Investigation Agency prosecutor, Azhar Chaudhry, submitted before a three-judge bench that an anti-terrorism court of Rawalpindi has issued arrest warrants against Musharraf and declared him a proclaimed offender.

The bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, observed that Musharraf has lost his right to be heard until he returns to Pakistan and surrender before the law.

“If a court declares you a fugitive, you are no longer entitled to discretionary treatment,” said Justice Chaudhry.

Pakistan’s interior ministry has formally requested the France-based Interpol Secretariat for the issuance of ‘red warrants’ against Musharraf seeking his arrest and subsequent extradition to Pakistan.

Shehryar, who had filed a statement on behalf of Musharraf on last hearing, appeared before the court and sought time to convey the court’s concern to the former president.

He also informed the court that he was not an attorney for Musharraf nor the former military ruler had authorised him to plead his case.

Justice Chaudhry observed that instead of seeking time for an appearance, “(Musharraf) should appear before the court today and surrender first.”

In its written order the court mentioned that “he (Musharraf) has opted not to appear before the court according to law.”

Furthermore, Interior Minister Rehman Malik’s lawyer sought additional time from the court to file a reply regarding the registration of a second FIR in the Benazir Bhutto murder case.

Raja Amir Abbas, the counsel for Malik, said the interior minister was engaged in official duties, adding that allegations against Malik needed to be rebutted.

The chief justice observed that the court would restrict itself and leave the probe of allegations to an investigation agency. “We will not prejudice ourselves; at this stage everyone is respectable for us,” the court observed.

Justice Khilji Arif Hussain asked Malik’s counsel to avoid any delays to ensure that the court is not held responsible for the delay. The case was adjourned till April 16.

04-23-2012, 10:00 AM
Treaty on hold: Musharraf’s expulsion hits capital roadblock


By Zahid Gishkori
Published: April 23, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Efforts to have former President Pervez Musharraf extradited to Pakistan from the United Kingdom have hit a roadblock as the possibility of capital punishment impedes the formulation of an agreement between the two countries.

Officials from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the foreign ministry revealed on Sunday that an extradition treaty between Pakistan and the UK remains ambivalent because the joint judicial team assigned to finalise the accord differed over the likelihood of the ‘death sentence’.

“Capital punishment is the main hurdle now. It is difficult to bring back Musharraf without signing an extradition treaty with the UK,” FIA’s prosecutor Muhammad Azhar Chaudhry told The Express Tribune.

Azhar, who is representing the FIA in Benazir Bhutto’s murder case, revealed that the UK government has expressed reservations over the existence of the death penalty in Pakistani laws.

Musharraf is wanted by the local police for alleged involvement in former prime minister Benazir Bhutto’s murder. A local court has already declared him an absconder and issued a warrant against him.

To abide by the court’s order, Pakistan requested the International Police (Interpol) to help bring back Musharraf to face trial for the charges against him, particularly in Benazir Bhutto and Nawab Akbar Bugti’s murder cases. Interpol will respond to Pakistan’s request within two to three weeks. Azhar hopes that the legal complications would be resolved soon and that the UK will consider Pakistan’s request to repatriate the former president.

The legal director of the foreign ministry, Sher Bahadur Khan, claimed that the joint judicial team found it difficult to reach an agreement because there are two different laws – capital punishment exists in Pakistan, but not in the international law or UK law. “If Pakistan wants to reach an agreement with the UK, it will have to rule out this law at all costs,” he said.

Pakistani officials designated to discuss legal matters, however, wished to sign the treaty without changing local laws. Minister for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar also informed the National Assembly on March 13 that the government was negotiating various agreements, particularly the ‘extradition treaty’ and ‘exchange of prisoners’, with 32 countries.

Ahmer Bilal Sufi, an expert on international laws, was of the view that if Pakistan wants to sign an extradition treaty with European countries, it will have to amend its extradition laws first. Islamabad has to assure the UK and other European countries that those who will be handed over from Europe and tried in Pakistan will not be executed, he said.

Whether parliament is prepared to bring about such changes in its existing extradition laws is a serious question, he added. Under the existing extradition laws, people can be given the death sentence if charges against them are proved true, Ahmer added.

Pakistan and the UK have held several meetings, after which a joint judicial group was constituted to step up bilateral ties since 2009. Interior Minister Rehman Malik also met his British counterpart Theresa May in March 2011 but did not succeed in convincing her for such a treaty.

05-25-2012, 10:21 AM
Musharraf murdered my mother: Benazir’s son


Last Updated: Friday, May 25, 2012, 13:58

Washington: The son of assassinated prime minister Benazir Bhutto has claimed that the country's former military ruler Pervez Musharraf "murdered my mother" as he pledged to play a bigger role in Pakistan's politics.

"He (Musharraf) murdered my mother (Benazir)," Bilawal Bhutto, Pakistan Peoples' Party chairman, said, adding "I hold him responsible for the murder of my mother."

23-year-old Bilawal charged that Musharraf sabotaged his mother's security when she returned to her homeland in 2007.

"Musharraf was aware of the threats. He himself had threatened her in the past. He said your security is directly linked to our relationship and our cooperation," he said.

"When he imposed emergency and it was clear that he was pulling the wool over our eyes, he was not interested in returning democracy to Pakistan and my mother started to speak out more against him, the security decreased," Bilawal, who is currently on a US visit, told the CNN in an interview.

For the first time in last few years, Bilawal said he planned to play a more active bigger role in Pakistan's politics, especially in the next elections.

"I am chairman of Pakistan Peoples' Party. I didn't campaign in last election. I went to university. I didn't feel like at that moment. Now I have the mandate to take a particularly active role. I look forward to campaigning in the next election and playing a larger role then," Bilawal, the son of Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, declared.

"I would like to help my people in any way I can. It's difficult times in Pakistan and we all have to help," he said.

Responding to a question on his safety in Pakistan, he said, he was not worried. "I am confident Pakistani government will provide me with the adequate security, unlike the government at the time that sabotaged my mother's security in Pakistan."

05-25-2012, 10:53 AM
Musharaf ‘murdered my mother’: Bilawal


WASHINGTON: The son of slain Pakistan leader Benazir Bhutto said on Thursday that ex-military ruler Pervez Musharaf “murdered my mother,” as he vowed to play a bigger political role in his homeland “in any way I can.”

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, son of current President Asif Ali Zardari, said Musharaf sabotaged his mother’s security when she returned to her homeland in 2007, and said he is confident of his own security in Pakistan.

“I’m confident that the Pakistani government will provide me with the adequate security, unlike the government at the time that sabotaged my mother’s security in Pakistan,” he told CNN in an interview.

The 23-year-old, who returned to Pakistan last year after studying at Oxford, said her assassination was due to a combination of extremists, and Musharraf’s regime.

“Al Qaeda issued the instructions to do it, the Taliban… carried out the actual attack, while Pervez Musharaf purposely sabotaged my mother’s security when he knew there was going to be attacks, so she would be eliminated.

“He murdered my mother. I hold him responsible for the murder of my mother,” he added. “He’d threatened her himself in the past. He said: ‘Your security is directly linked to our relationship and our cooperation.’

“When he imposed emergency, and it was clear that he was pulling the wool over our eyes. He was not interested in returning democracy to Pakistan. And my mother started to speak out more against him, the security decreased.”

Bhutto was assassinated on December 27, 2007, while leaving an election rally in Rawalpindi, the headquarters of Pakistan’s army, shortly after her return to the country.

Musharraf, who has lived in self-imposed exile in London and Dubai since August 2008, has indefinitely delayed plans to return home to contest elections after the government warned he would be arrested upon arrival.

Bhutto’s son, who is head of the Pakistan’s People’s Party, said he hopes to take a greater role in Pakistan’s political life.

“I did not campaign in the last election, I went to university. I don’t feel like at the moment I have the mandate to take a particularly active role,” he said.

“I look forward to campaigning in the next election and playing a larger role then,” he said. Asked if he hoped to be Pakistan’s leader one day, he said: “I’d like to help my people in any way I can.

“It’s difficult times in Pakistan and we all have to help.”

07-26-2012, 11:51 AM
Ex-Pakistan leader's account stays closed


Published: July 26, 2012 at 11:01 AM

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan, July 26 (UPI) -- A Pakistani judge has refused a bank's request to reopen a bank account of former President Pervez Musharraf, judicial officials said.

The ruling on the request by Habib Bank Ltd. in Islamabad came from a special judge Wednesday, The Express Tribune said. Musharraf's bank account was seized by the government during an investigation of the 2007 assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

Musharraf, a former four-star Army general, was among those accused in Bhutto's killing and his properties were frozen by the court. He has lived in self-imposed exile in London since 2008, but has said he plans to return to Pakistan to run for president in 2013.

Habib Bank said the account containing about 60 million rupees ($634,000) should be reopened because it was a trust set up by Musharraf and his wife for the welfare of the needy, but trial judge Chaudhry Habibur Rehman said the private bank lacked legal standing to make such a request.

A special prosecutor from the Federal Investigation Agency said the bank account was the personal account of Musharraf and was never used to assist the poor.

09-30-2012, 10:02 PM
ATC reserves judgment over Musharraf’s assets, declaration as absconder



ISLAMABAD: The Anti-Terrorism Special Court of Rawalpindi reserved its judgment in the petitions against the declaration of former president Pervez Musharraf as an absconder and against the freezing of the former ruler’s bank accounts and seizing his property, DawnNews reported on Saturday.

The petitions had been filed by Musharraf’s wife, Sehba Musharraf, at the Rawalpindi branch of the ATC. Both petitions were heard at the same hearing.

During the hearing, Sehba’s lawyer, Ilyas Siddiqui, said an inquiry was required before freezing a joint account involving an accused, adding that no inquiry had been carried out in this case.

FIA prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar said Sehba possessed no personal income and that the joint account mainly contained Pervez Musharraf’s money.

He added that Musharraf was an absconder and no one may submit a request to restore his accounts until he himself returned to Pakistan.

Furthermore, he informed the court that out of 11 accounts that were frozen, seven were personal accounts belonging to Musharraf.

Subsequently, the court reserved its judgment which was expected to be announced on Oct 3.

In Sept 2011, Sehba had filed a petition seeking a stay on its order to confiscate the properties and freeze the accounts of her husband in the Benazir Bhutto assassination case.

Sehba had said the orders against her husband declaring him an absconder and attachment of his properties be withdrawn or recalled and the attached property be released to the petitioner.

10-25-2012, 11:03 AM
Pakistani court summons Musharraf
Islamabad: A Pakistani court Wednesday summoned former president Pervez Musharraf to explain his position on the US drone strikes in the country's northwest tribal regions, lawyers said.


Petitions say that Musharraf, who took power in a bloodless coup in 1999 and resigned as president in 2008 to avoid a parliamentary impeachment, had allowed strikes by the US spy aircraft, reported Xinhua.

Musharraf, who lives in exile in Britain and the UAE, has denied agreeing to the US drone attacks.The Peshawar High Court issued notice to Musharraf when a US drone strike in North Waziristan Wednesday killed at least two people.

A group of religious parties, known as the Defence of Pakistan Council, have moved court against the drone attacks and the killing of innocent people including women and children in these attacks. They submitted petitions to the court to seek details about agreement signed by Musharraf with the US on the drone strikes.

Defence lawyer F.M. Sabir asked the court to issue an arrest warrant for Mushrraf. However, the two-member bench served notice on Musharraf and ordered him to appear at the next hearing the date of which would be announced later.

Several courts have issued arrest warrants for Musharraf in cases including the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, who was killed in an attack in December 2007 when Musharraf was the president. He has never appeared in any court but said he will defend himself in court after he returns home.

Musharraf has also launched his own political party, All Pakistan Muslim League, in exile and announced that he will end exile after the dates for the parliamentary elections are announced. Elections are due early next year.

A top defence official reportedly told a parliamentary panel this week that the US carried out drone strikes from an air base in Balochistan province with the government's approval. But later he retracted his remarks.

12-09-2012, 03:24 PM
Benazir murder: Defence files for contempt to stop making case findings public



RAWALPINDI: Advocate Rao Abdul Raheem representing Sher Zaman, one of the five men accused in the Benazir Bhutto assassination case, filed a petition with the Rawalpindi trial court on Saturday to initiate contempt of court proceedings against state prosecution to stop them from making public details of the case.

Raheem submitted before the Anti-Terrorism Court in Rawalpindi on Saturday that the court had directed state prosecutors belonging to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to ‘proceed in accordance with the law’ on an application which sought permission to make details of investigations in the Benazir case public.

Interior minister Rehman Malik had earlier in December said that more facts about the case will be revealed on December 27, 2012, the fifth anniversary of the former Prime Minister’s assassination.

In his application, Advocate Raheem claimed that the prosecution has advertised that the trial court had permit the federal government to go ahead with its plan of going public with findings of the case. This, the defence argued, was false, and tantamount to contempt of court.

Daily hearings of Benazir Bhutto case
Earlier, FIA’s special public prosecutor in the Benazir Bhutto’s assassination case on Saturday once again pleaded to conduct day to day hearings for the five year old case.

Prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali urged the Special Judge Anti-Terrorism Court-I Habibur Rehman to follow the directions of a judge of Lahore High Court on hearing terrorism cases.

The FIA’s lawyer said Justice Manzoor Malik of the LHC and an administrative judge of the anti-terrorism courts in Punjab, had recently directed trial judges to carry out day to day hearings in terrorism cases.

The prosecutor argued that the assassination case of Benazir Bhutto had been the longest pending case before ATC-I of Rawalpindi and it needed day-to-day hearings.

Responding to Chaudhry Zulfiqar’s pleas, the trial judge remarked that lawyers associated with the case should ensure their presence every day to make daily hearings possible.

Musharraf’s frozen properties
The trial court on Saturday could not take up hearings on an application filed by Sebah Musharraf for unfreezing property of former President Pervez Musharraf since their lawyer failed to appear before the court.

Advocate Ilyas Siddiqi representing Musharraf’s wife was due to provide proof of his client’s ownership of an agriculture farm in Islamabad and money deposited in various accounts owned by Pervez Musharraf.

Juvenile UTP
In another development advocate Naseer Ahmed Tanoli representing the accused Aitzaz Shah filed an application with the court saying being a juvenile the trial of Aitzaz should be sped up.

Talking to The Express Tribune advocate Tanoli said in the application he had urged on the court to direct the prosecution to put forward its witnesses against his client and the court should dispose of the trial at the earliest since his client, a juvenile, has been languishing in jails as an under-trial prisoner for the last five years.

12-28-2012, 09:44 PM
Mark Siegel to testify against Gen Musharraf


By: Our Staff Reporter | December 27, 2012

ISLAMABAD-American lobbyist Mark Siegel has said that he is ready to record his statement in an anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi on January 5 as a prosecution witness in Benazir Bhutto assassination case, TheNation learnt.

An officer of FIA's Counter Terrorism Wing (CTW) said Wednesday that Siegel had been served with notice through Interpol and he was willing to appear in the court on January 5.

Siegel is a key prosecution witness in the case against former president General (r) Pervez Musharraf who is an accused in the Benazir assassination case.

An anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi had summoned six prosecution witnesses including Mark Siegel to record his statement in former prime minister's murder case.

According to the earlier statement recorded by Siegel in the US, Musharraf had threatened Benazir Bhutto with dire consequences if she would return home before the 2008 general elections.Benazir Bhutto, before her assassination, had also sent an email to Siegel, expressing security apprehensions from some high profile people of the government.

The court had issued summons to six prosecution witnessed on 15 December when counsels for the prosecution and defence had concluded their arguments.

12-28-2012, 09:45 PM
Feature: Benazir Bhutto’s death remains unresolved as Pakistan marks her 5th death anniversary


by Muhammad Tahir

ISLAMABAD, Dec. 27 — The mystery surrounding the assassination of Pakistani former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto remains unresolved five years after her violent death in a suicide attack in the garrison city of Rawalpindi on Dec. 27, 2007.

Benazir Bhutto, the Western-educated daughter of the martyred Pakistani founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, ruled Pakistan twice and was the first elected woman prime minister in the Muslim world.

Bhutto returned to Pakistan on Oct. 18, 2007 ending her years of exile abroad and hundreds of thousands of people received her at Karachi. Bombers targeted her supporters at her welcoming rally, killing over 150 people including Bhutto, in well-coordinated attacks.

President Asif Ali Zardari, Benazir’s husband, had once announced that he knows the people who killed his wife and that he would expose them in due time but nothing has come out yet.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik promised this month that he will reveal the brains in the Bhutto assassination on her 5th death anniversary.

All eyes are now focused on the gathering of the stalwarts of the ruling Pakistan Peoples’ Party at Bhutto’s mausoleum in south Sindh province Thursday as to what President Zardari and other senior leaders of the party would say about the investigations.

The mystery will haunt the PPP if it fails to expose those behind Bhutto’s tragic death during its five-year government, when the party had its own president and prime minister and all security agencies under their control.

The then government of former President Pervez Musharraf blamed Pakistani Taliban for Bhutto’s murder but the claim was quickly rejected by a spokesman for the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). No group has yet claimed responsibility for the gruesome attack.

On Musharraf’s request, the British government had sent a police team from Scotland Yard to help investigate the assassination after the PPP had expressed serious doubts on the then government’s version of the attack.

When the PPP won parliamentary elections in February 2008, the new government conducted its own investigation into the incident with the help of a team of United Nations experts.

In its findings in 2010, the UN team said that Bhutto’s assassination could have been prevented if proper security measures were undertaken.

The UN report had also criticized Pakistani officials for failing to protect Bhutto and security officials were hit for not investigating her death properly.

A Pakistani anti-terrorism court has been conducting a trial of seven men accused of involvement in Bhutto’s assassination but they have denied any role in the attack. However, the investigators said some of the suspects had facilitated the attackers.

The court has not yet delivered its final verdict on the case despite years of hearings.

Pakistani investigators said that Musharraf had failed to put in place a proper security mechanism for Bhutto and the court has issued arrest warrant for him after he failed to appear and record his statement.

The Federal Investigative Agency (FIA), which is investigating the case, said Musharraf was named in the charge sheet as he had failed to provide the “VVIP security” that Bhutto was entitled to as a two-time prime minister.

Bhutto’s family friend and her lobbyist in the U.S. Mark Siegel said that he was with Bhutto in London when Musharraf told her that her life would be in danger if she returns to Pakistan a few months before the 2008 parliamentary elections.

The trial court has summoned Siegel, also a journalist, in the first week of January to record his statement. Pakistani investigators said that Siegel has agreed to record his statement.

Musharraf, who has been living in exile since his resignation in 2008, has denied any involvement in the Bhutto murder and said he will defend himself in Pakistani courts.

He insisted that it was not duty of the president to provide security to the former prime minister, claiming that he had warned Bhutto about threats to her life before the attack.

01-22-2013, 09:58 AM
Perpetual warrants for Musharraf’s arrest sought


ISLAMABAD, Jan 21: Secretariat police filed an application in a local court on Monday seeking proclaimed offender status for former president Pervez Musharraf and issuance of perpetual warrants for his arrest in judges’ detention case.

Abbas Shah, civil judge and judicial magistrate for the Islamabad West district court, had issued an arrest warrant for General Musharraf on December 18, 2012 at the request of the Secretariat police SHO.

The police, however, informed the court on Monday that the warrants could not be executed as General Musharraf, having been abroad for the past few years, was not available at the address given in the original complaint.

The police application was aimed completing the legal requirements to proceed further against General Musharraf.

Magistrate Abbas Shah adjourned the matter till February 16 and issued notice to the complainant in the case, lawyer Chaudhry Mohammad Aslam Ghumman, who filed the original FIR against President Musharraf over three years ago, in August 2009.

In the FIR, Ghumman alleged that following the imposition of Emergency on November 3, 2007, General Musharraf had not only detained over sixty judges of the superior judiciary, including Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, but also caused distress to their families by sealing their houses and stationing police forces there for almost three months.

Even the children of the detained judges were not allowed to continue their studies during the period of detention, according to Ghumman’s allegations.

In response to the latest development, Mr Ghumman told Dawn that the police had asked the court to issue a proclamation declaring General Musharraf proclaimed offender under Section 512 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Once the former president is declared a proclaimed offender, he continued, the prosecution can file another request to have his property confiscated and have him declared an absconder. In the next stage, they may ask Interpol to issue a “red notice” and arrest him abroad.

03-03-2013, 10:27 AM
Pakistan court rejects plea by Musharraf's wife


Islamabad, March 03, 2013

A Pakistani anti-terrorism court has rejected a plea by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf's wife challenging the confiscation of his property and freezing of his bank accounts after he was declared a "proclaimed offender" or fugitive.

Judge Chaudhry Habib-ur-Rehman upheld the court's earlier decision to seize Musharraf's assets and disposed of the petition filed by Sehba Musharraf.

Rehman gave his ruling after Sehba's lawyer could not present record of her income deposited in the couple's joint bank accounts.

Musharraf's wife had contended that she was the actual owner of most of the assets that were seized in 2011 after the former President failed to appear in the court conducting the trial of persons charged with involvement in the 2007 assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto.

Prosecutors have accused Musharraf, 69, of failing to provide adequate security to Bhutto when she returned to Pakistan from self-exile in 2007.

Musharraf, who has himself been living in self-exile in Dubai and London since 2009, has spurned several requests to cooperate in the investigation into Bhutto's assassination.

The anti-terrorism court declared Musharraf a fugitive in August 2011 and directed authorities to seize his assets, including a sprawling farmhouse on the outskirts of Islamabad.

The court's latest order rejecting Sehba's petition came just a day after he announced he would return to Pakistan by the end of this month to participate in upcoming polls.

Musharraf, who has formed the All Pakistan Muslim League, has said his party will "fully participate" in the next general election and field candidates in almost all constituencies across the country.

Sehba had told the court that her husband had gifted her the farmhouse. She further claimed the money in their joint bank accounts were meant for the use of a trust working for the welfare of the public.

Several Pakistani courts have issued arrest warrants for Musharraf in connection with the Lal Masjid operation and the killing of Baloch leader Nawab Akbar Bugti in 2006 and Bhutto's assassination.

03-03-2013, 10:27 AM
ATC rejects plea of Musharrafs wife


RAWALPINDI: Only a few weeks before the possible return to country of former president Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf, an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) on Saturday rejected the application filed by his wife against declaring her husband a proclaimed offender in Benazir Bhutto murder case.

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in February 2011 had implicated the former president in the Benazir murder case and on February 12 ATC Judge Rana Nisar Ahmed issued non-bailable warrants of arrest of Mr Musharraf after his failure to appear before the court.

In May 2011, the same judge declared him a proclaimed offender and on June 11 he issued perpetual warrants for his arrest.

On August 27, ATC Judge Shahid Rafique ordered for confiscation of moveable and immovable properties of Mr Musharraf and seized his 11 bank accounts.

The court had proceeded under Section 88 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) for the attachment of the properties a farmhouse in Chak Shahzad, a plot in Singhar Housing Colony, Gwadar, and bank accounts mentioned in a letter of the State Bank of Pakistan dated June 23, 2011.

Through her lawyer Sehba Musharraf in September 2011 challenged the court order declaring her husband a proclaimed offender and requested the release of the attached properties.

During the hearing, her lawyer Ilyas Siddiqui told the court that Musharraf had been declared a proclaimed offender in a hasty manner while he was abroad for some important engagements.

It had been settled by the apex court that a person could not be declared absconder under Section 87 of the CrPC if he had already left the country, he added.

He claimed that all the proceedings against Gen Musharraf were unlawful, without jurisdiction and against the principle of natural justice.

Mr Siddiqui pointed out that Islamabad High Court in October last year had admitted the petition for regular hearing regarding the ownership of the Chak Shahzad farmhouse and the court, after hearing the arguments of Mrs Musharrafs lawyer, had issued a stay order in this matter.

According to the petition, Gen Musharraf resigned from the office of the president on August 18, 2008, and remained involved in social and family engagements till March, 2009. He kept travelling in and out of Pakistan and during all this time not a word was uttered by anybody about his involvement in the high-profile murder case.

It said the court committed an error wherein the titles of the above referred properties were not examined carefully. As a matter of fact, the farmhouse in Chak Shahzad belonged to the petitioner and the order for their attachment was liable to be withdrawn on this ground.

Out of the 11 bank accounts four were joint accounts and the court could not freeze these accounts, he added.

FIAs special prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali told the court that freezing of the 11 bank accounts was legal as Mrs Musharraf was a housewife, and was dependent on her husband.

He said that Gen (retd) Musharraf owned Rs110 million in 11 bank accounts, including four joint accounts and being a housewife it was not possible for Ms Musharraf to arrange such a huge amount on her own, adding that during the hearing her lawyer never disclosed her own source of income.

He pointed out that being a proclaimed offender Gen Musharraf would not be entitled for any relief unless he surrendered before any court of competent jurisdiction.

He contended that Mrs Musharraf was seeking relief for a fugitive and in the light of various judgments of superior judiciary her petition was not maintainable.

Chaudhry Zulfiqar told Dawn that Gen Musharraf would be arrested on arrival before or after the formation of a caretaker set-up. He said the ATC had issued perpetual warrants for his arrest and he could not evade the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) which demanded his immediate arrest.

According to him, Gen Musharraf would be treated in accordance with the relevant sections of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997 and after his arrest he would be produced before the court.

He, however, said the former president would avoid an arrest if he managed to obtain a protective/transitory bail from any high court.

03-04-2013, 09:45 AM
Musharraf will be arrested as soon as he returns: Prosecutor


Islamabad, Mar 4: A top Pakistani prosecutor has said that former military ruler Pervez Musharraf will be arrested as soon as he returns to Pakistan from self-exile as an anti-terrorism court has issued “perpetual warrants” for him.

Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali, a special prosecutor for the Federal Investigation Agency, said Musharraf would be arrested irrespective of whether he returned to Pakistan before or after the formation of a caretaker government to oversee the next general election.

Musharraf had announced last week that he intends to return to Pakistan a week after the installation of the interim administration to lead his party in the polls.

The Pakistan Peoples Party-led government will complete its term on March 16 and the caretaker set-up is expected to be formed the same day.

Ali told the media that the anti-terrorism court had issued perpetual warrants for Musharraf and he could not evade the Criminal Procedure Code, which demanded his immediate arrest.

The court issued the warrants and declared Musharraf a “proclaimed offender” or fugitive after he refused to cooperate with investigators probing the assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto.

Prosecutors have accused Musharraf of failing to provide adequate security to Bhutto when she returned to Pakistan from self-exile in 2007.

As a fugitive, Musharraf will not be entitled to any relief unless he surrenders to a court of competent jurisdiction.

Musharraf will be treated in accordance with relevant sections of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997 and produced in the anti-terrorism court after his arrest, Ali said.

Musharraf would be able to avoid arrest if he obtains protective or transitory bail from any High Court, Ali said.

In a separate development, disgraced nuclear scientist A Q Khan has said that Musharraf will be sent to prison as soon he lands on Pakistani soil.

Khan told the media yesterday that Musharraf would languish in prison for a long period of time “before he is hanged like a convict murderer”.

“I am sure that he would be handed over to Balochistan authorities immediately after returning home (for) the assassination of Nawab Muhammad Akbar Bugti,” Khan said.

Musharraf has “no future as a free man” as he “spent a sinful and criminal life in Pakistan”, he claimed.

Musharraf was in power when Khan admitted to running a secret nuclear proliferation ring in 2004.

Khan was later placed under house arrest though the current government has removed many of the restrictions that were imposed on him.

03-24-2013, 09:16 AM
Musharraf granted protective bail in Benazir, Bugti cases



KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Friday granted General (retd) Pervez Musharraf’s request for protective bail in various cases pending against him, DawnNews reported. The cases in which the former military ruler has been granted bail include the Benazir Bhutto murder case, the case on the killing of Baloch nationalist leader Nawab Akbar Bugti and one pertaining to the deposing of Supreme Court judges.

The court moreover directed the former president to submit bail money amounting to rupees 100,000 in each case.

The 14-day-long protective bail was approved in response to a constitutional petition filed in the SHC by Musharraf’s daughter Ayla Raza on behalf of her father. The petition requested the court for protective bail so that the former ruler could appear in the trial court to defend himself.

The petition said Musharraf planned to return to the country but apprehended arrest for his alleged involvement in different cases, including Benazir Bhutto’s assassination, Akbar Bugti’ murder and the Lal Masjid operation case in which scores were killed.

Musharraf, who seized power in 1999 and left the country after stepping down in 2008, has vowed to return home on Sunday to contest the May 11 general election, but is wanted in Pakistan for conspiracy to murder and illegally arresting judges.

03-30-2013, 02:18 PM
Musharraf banned from leaving Pakistan



Former military dictator Pervez Musharraf was placed on the Exit Control List (ECL) by the Federal Investigation Agency on Saturday. The decision came a day after the Sindh High Court restrained him from leaving the country without permission.

Gen. Musharraf faces arrest in three high profile cases: The assassinations of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and former Chief Minister of Balochistan Akbar Bugti, and the illegal confinement of scores of superior judges including the Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry in 2007.

The former army chief’s daughter Ayla Raza applied for bail in all three cases just before his scheduled arrival in the country from self-exile on March 24. Bail was granted on March 22 and Gen. Musharraf landed in Karachi as planned.

He now plans to contest the upcoming National Assembly elections from three places: Islamabad, Karachi and Chitral.

04-20-2013, 02:05 PM
Musharraf Is Arrested on Range of Charges in Pakistan


Published: April 19, 2013

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan’s former military leader, was arrested and taken into police custody on Friday — a move that was unprecedented in a country where the military has held sway for decades, and one that showed the determination of the judiciary to hold him accountable for his time in power.

A day after Mr. Musharraf fled a courtroom in dramatic circumstances to his fortified villa on the edge of the capital, Islamabad, the police took him to court in the central part of the city, where a magistrate placed him under arrest. Hours later, after briefly returning home, he was taken to the city police headquarters, where he was being held pending his next court appearance on charges relating to his battle with the country’s top judges while in office.

The travails of Mr. Musharraf, 69, a former army chief, furthered the humiliation of a figure who enjoyed absolute power in Pakistan for much of his rule, from 1999 to 2008. But it also raised new questions about why he returned to the country in the first place.

Little has gone well for Mr. Musharraf since he returned last month from four years of self-imposed exile, spent mostly in London and Dubai, the United Arab Emirates. Shortly after his arrival, a critic flung a shoe at him in public. Since then he has been mostly confined to his villa, protected by a sizable security contingent guarding against the possibility of an attack by the Taliban, who have threatened to kill him.

Mr. Musharraf’s fledgling political party, the All Pakistan Muslim League, failed to gain traction, and on Tuesday, the national election commission disqualified him from running for Parliament in elections scheduled for May 11. Until the drama of recent days, the news media had largely ignored him. Even his former comrades in the military appear to privately view him as more of a liability than an asset.

“Musharraf obviously overestimated his popularity,” Raza Rumi, a political analyst, said in an interview. “He was delusional in thinking he could ride out the storm, and he underestimated the resolve of the judges.”

“There are certainly people in urban Pakistan who think that things were better during his tenure,” Mr. Rumi added. “But the majority do not find him a credible leader. He ruled on the strength of his uniform. Now that uniform is gone, and Pakistan has changed.”

By late Friday, Mr. Musharraf was being detained on the grounds of the Islamabad police headquarters, in a guesthouse that is normally used to house visiting police officers. In a statement, a spokesman for Mr. Musharraf attributed his woes to “segments of overzealous judiciary, unscrupulous lawyers and fictitious petitioners” who were conspiring to prevent him from being elected.

The current case against Mr. Musharraf centers on his decision to dismiss and place under house arrest Pakistan’s top judges in November 2007, when he declared emergency rule in a bid to shore up his crumbling authority.

Separately, he faces charges in relation to the murders of Benazir Bhutto, the former prime minister, and Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, a nationalist leader of Baluchistan Province.

And some critics are even calling for him to be tried for high treason, a charge that carries a mandatory death penalty.

The Supreme Court is hearing arguments about whether treason charges can be filed, although it appears that little can happen without the acquiescence of the current caretaker government.

That interim administration, which has little political weight, has tried hard to distance itself from the case, apparently preferring that the matter be taken up by the next elected government.

Ahmer Bilal Soof, the interim law minister, said the legal developments against Mr. Musharraf were taking place “hour by hour.” The Interior Ministry will submit a statement on the treason charges to the Supreme Court on Monday, he added.

Aides have portrayed Mr. Musharraf as relaxed, saying he had been smoking cigars at his villa since his dramatic courtroom dash on Thursday.

But that unflappable image was challenged on Friday when he returned to the Islamabad court, stone-faced and surrounded by tight security.

In a statement, Mr. Musharraf criticized the charges as “politically motivated” and vowed to fight them in court, “where the truth will eventually prevail.”

The United States government, which became closely allied with Mr. Musharraf after the September 2001 terrorist attacks, moved to distance itself from him. In a statement, the American Embassy in Islamabad stressed that it took “no position” on Mr. Musharraf or the legal proceedings against him.

Mr. Musharraf’s hopes for a political comeback now appear to be in shreds. He may have come home because he “hasn’t made his peace with being an ex-dictator,” Cyril Almeida, a columnist with Dawn, a Pakistani newspaper, said in an interview.

“Once one of the most famous statesmen on Planet Earth, he probably misses the power and the limelight terribly,” he said.

Mr. Musharraf’s case has shaken the country’s political system at a delicate time. The sight of a former military leader being hauled through the courts is a striking image in Pakistan, where generals have ruled for about half of the country’s 66-year history.

No former military leader has ever been prosecuted in court for his actions while in power, although one, Gen. Yahya Khan, was placed under informal house detention for much of the 1970s after he lost the civil conflict that resulted in Pakistan’s eastern wing seceding to become Bangladesh.

Now Mr. Musharraf is partly at the mercy of his nemesis, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, whom Mr. Musharraf fired in 2007, setting off street protests that eventually led to his ouster.

Under Chief Justice Chaudhry, the Supreme Court has aggressively asserted its authority over the last year, having one prime minister fired and taking to task senior retired generals for their actions in rigging previous elections.

The country’s political leaders, including Nawaz Sharif, the opposition leader who is the favorite to become the next prime minister, have remained conspicuously silent about Mr. Musharraf.

Although Mr. Sharif had previously demanded that Mr. Musharraf face treason charges, he is believed to have come under pressure from the government of Saudi Arabia, which quietly wields considerable influence in Pakistan, to leave Mr. Musharraf, a retired four-star general, alone.

Many analysts view the prospect of treason charges with trepidation, fearing that they could prompt a more aggressive military role.

“Pakistan needs to punish people who abrogate the Constitution, but it must not be personalized,” Mr. Rumi said. “A whole crew of civilian and military personalities were involved in the process. Justice can only be done if all of them are taken to task.”

04-20-2013, 02:06 PM
Musharraf arrested, kept in police HQ


ISLAMABAD: General (retd) Pervez Musharraf was shifted to the police headquarters in Islamabad from his farmhouse residence at Chak Shahzad on Friday, hours after the former military ruler surrendered himself to the authorities in the judges detention case.

He surrendered himself earlier today before appearing in the court of judicial magistrate Raja Abbas Shah in Islamabad.

The judge issued an order for a two-day-long transit remand of Musharraf. The order also added clause 780-A pertaining to terrorism in the list of charges against the former army strongman.

During the hearing, petitioners counsel, Advocate Mohammad Bilal Mughal, requested the court for a 15-day-long physical remand of the former president, whereas Musharrafs lawyer, Qamar Afzal, asked for a judicial remand for his client.

The court observed that the list of charges against Musharraf in the judges detention case entailed terrorism clauses which was why bail could not be granted to the retired general without him surrendering to authorities.

Moreover, police told the court that Musharrafs life was in danger which was why his farmhouse residence needed to be declared a sub-jail.

Subsequently, the court added clause 780-A to the list of charges against Musharraf and ordered a two-day-long transit remand for the former president. An official at the court confirmed the order.

Musharraf will now appear before a special anti-terrorist court on April 21.

A spokesman for Musharrafs All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) party said: General Musharraf has been sent on a two-day judicial remand and he will stay at his farmhouse.

APML spokesman Muhammad Amjad said the magistrate had ordered Musharraf to appear before an anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi after two days.

Musharraf himself surrendered before the court Friday morning, Amjad said, denying media reports that he had been arrested prior to going to court.

Also today, Interior Minister Malik Muhammad Habib Khan informed the Senate that Musharraf was already in governments custody and that the former military rulers Chak Shahzad residence had been declared a sub-jail.

It is the first time that the judiciary has ordered the arrest of a former army chief of staff.

Musharraf had been on the run after fleeing from the premises of the Islamabad High Court in the wake of the cancellation of his bail on Thursday. Twenty-four hours had passed since Musharrafs escape from the IHC.

His bail was cancelled in the judges detention case by IHCs Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui on Thursday.

In its written judgement, the IHC had ordered that: He (Musharraf) be taken into custody and dealt with in accordance with law.

Judges detention case
The case is based on an FIR against the retired general registered in August 11, 2009 on the complaint of Chaudhry Mohammad Aslam Ghumman advocate.

He had asked the police to initiate legal proceedings against Musharraf for detaining over 60 judges, including Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, after proclamation of a state of emergency in the country on November 3, 2007.

The case is one of three against Musharraf in Pakistani courts. He is also accused of involvement in a conspiracy to murder Benazir Bhutto in 2007 and over the 2006 killing of Baloch nationalist leader Akbar Khan Bugti.

Musharraf returned to Pakistan last month after nearly four years of self-imposed exile to contest the May 11 general election.

Election officials had barred Musharraf from running for the National Assembly earlier this week, effectively derailing his attempts to regain a place in politics by standing at the polls.

Although Musharrafs legal battles have provided an electrifying sideshow in the election race, he commands scant popular support and the outcome of the drama is unlikely to have much impact on the final results.

04-24-2013, 11:46 AM
Musharraf Denied Bail for Bhutto Assassination


VOA News

April 24, 2013 - A Pakistani court has rejected bail for former military ruler Pervez Musharraf in connection with the murder of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

A prosecution lawyer said Wednesday the high court had dismissed Musharraf's bail request and the former leader could be arrested for his involvement in the Bhutto assassination.

Musharraf had denied allegations that he was involved in the former prime minister's murder in December 2007.

The court's decision Wednesday is the second time that Musharraf has recently been denied bail.

He is currently under house arrest for dismissing top judges when he was in power in 2007.

Musharraf seized power in a military coup in 1999 and ruled for nearly a decade before he was forced to step down in 2008.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

04-24-2013, 11:47 AM
Musharrafs bail petition dismissed in Benazir murder case


RAWALPINDI: A division bench of the Lahore High Courts Rawalpindi registry dismissed the bail petition submitted by former military ruler Gen (r) Pervez Musharraf in the Benazir Bhutto murder case. The bail was dismissed on the grounds that Musharrafs counsel did not pursue the case on bail plea.

Federal Investigation Agency (FIA)s Prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar said that following the cancellation of his bail petition, Musharraf could be arrested any time now.

The bench had resumed the hearing over a petition filed by Musharraf seeking bail in the case pertaining to the murder of former two-time prime minister Benazir Bhutto in December 2007.

The bench had earlier given the counsel for the petitioner an hours time to makes make its argument over why the former military should be granted bail.

Musharrafs counsel instead of giving his argument, had sought more time and requested the court to adjourn the hearing.

Prosecuting lawyer of the FIA had objected to the request arguing that Musharraf was already under detention on judicial remand at his Chak Shehzad residence, which was declares as a sub-jail after the cancellation of his bail in the judges detention case.

04-25-2013, 09:11 AM
Pakistan investigators to grill Musharraf on Benazir Bhutto assassination


Thursday, Apr 25, 2013, 15:52 IST | Place: Islamabad/Lahore | Agency: PTI

Judge Chaudhry Habib-ur-Rehman of the Rawalpindi-based anti-terrorism court on Thursday accepted a request from prosecutors to question Musharraf and to include him in the investigation into the 2007 assassination.

Pakistani investigators will grill former military ruler Pervez Musharraf about a "threatening" phone call and email to Benazir Bhutto after an anti-terrorism court on Thursday ordered his inclusion in the probe into the ex-premier's assassination in 2007.

Judge Chaudhry Habib-ur-Rehman of the Rawalpindi-based anti-terrorism court on Thursday accepted a request from prosecutors to question Musharraf and to include him in the investigation into the 2007 assassination.

Special prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) said that a joint investigation team will question Musharraf on two issues – making a threatening phone call to Bhutto and sending an email that warned her not to return to Pakistan, and failing to provide adequate security to Bhutto after she came back from self-exile in 2007.

Musharraf's failure to provide adequate security to Bhutto "indirectly facilitated and helped terrorists in executing their plan to murder" her, Ali said.

Musharraf will also be quizzed on why he did not respond to five letters from Bhutto seeking foolproof security ahead of her return to Pakistan.

"Musharraf provided foolproof security to other leaders like (then) Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz but ignored Benazir," he said.

Ali, who is part of the joint investigation team, said Musharraf will be questioned at his farmhouse on the outskirts of Islamabad, which has been declared a 'sub-jail'.

He said: "We had requested the anti-terrorism court to let Musharraf stay in (the farmhouse) because of security issues and the court accepted our plea."

The joint investigation team is expected to complete questioning Musharraf by May 3.

"We will complete the challan (chargesheet) after investigating him by May 3 and submit the same in the anti-terrorism court," Ali said.

Bhutto was assassinated by a suicide bomber after addressing an election rally in Rawalpindi in December 2007.

Earlier, the FIA requested the anti-terrorism court to include Musharraf in the probe a day after the Rawalpindi bench of the Lahore High Court cancelled the former military ruler's interim bail in the assassination case.

"The court gave FIA's joint investigation team permission to include Musharraf in the investigation and to arrest him," Ali told reporters outside the court.

"In view of security threats to the accused, the investigation is to be done at the sub-jail," he said, referring to the decision by authorities to detain Musharraf at his farmhouse because of threats to his life.

Ali said Musharraf would be presented in the anti-terrorism court tomorrow.

The joint investigation team will decide whether to seek physical or judicial custody of Musharraf, he said.

Legal experts said the FIA was completing formalities to include Musharraf in the probe and it was unlikely he would be moved from his farmhouse.

The High Court’s decision on Wednesday to reject Musharraf's request to extend his interim bail over Bhutto's assassination added to the legal woes of the ex-army chief, who is facing several serious criminal cases.

Lawyers have petitioned the Supreme Court to put him on trial for treason for imposing emergency in 2007 and he faces charges over the death of Baloch leader Akbar Bugti in a 2006 military operation.

The 69-year-old former military ruler was arrested last week after the Islamabad High Court revoked his bail in a case related to the detention of over 60 judges during the 2007 emergency.

Musharraf returned to Pakistan last month after nearly four years of self-exile, promising to "save" the country from economic ruin and militancy.

However, he was barred from running in the May 11 general election, which will mark the first democratic transition of power in Pakistan’s history.

04-26-2013, 09:57 AM
Musharraf to Remain Under House Arrest Until April 30


VOA News
April 26, 2013

A Pakistani anti-terrorism court has placed former president Pervez Musharraf under house arrest until April 30 in the Benazir Bhutto murder case.

The court in Rawalpindi ordered the former military ruler's arrest Friday. Musharraf appeared in court under tight security.

The former president is facing allegations he failed to provide adequate security to prevent the assassination of former prime minister Bhutto. Musharraf has denied involvement in the plot to kill her. Nobody has been convicted or jailed in the case.

Musharraf is already under house arrest at his residence on the outskirts of Islamabad on charges stemming from his firing of top judges when he was in power in 2007.

Musharraf lived in self-imposed exile for about four years before returning to Pakistan late last month with plans to run for parliament in general elections next month. Since his return, courts have ruled him ineligible for the poll.

04-30-2013, 06:51 AM
Investigators claim solid evidence against Musharraf in Bhutto's murder case


English.news.cn 2013-04-30 15:18:08

ISLAMABAD, April 30 (Xinhua) -- Pakistani investigators said Tuesday that they have "solid evidences" against former President Pervez Musharraf in connection with the killing of ex-Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto as a court ordered Musharraf to remain in judicial lock-up for two more weeks, local media reported.

Musharraf was not produced before the Anti-Terrorism Court on Tuesday over security concerns and the judge passed the order in his absence.

Musharraf, who ruled Pakistan from 1999 to 2008 and returned from self-exile last month, has been accused of failing to provide adequate security to Benazir Bhutto when she returned to Pakistan from exile in 2007.

The former president has denied all charges and said that he was not directly responsible for Benazir's security and it was the responsibility of the local authorities.

The court on April 26 had remanded him for fours days to the Federal Investigation Agency, which is investigating the killing of Benazir Bhutto in a suicide bomb attack and firing in the garrison city of Rawalpindi.

Investigators told the court that they have completed questioning of the former president and do not seek more time. So the court sent him on judicial remand until May 14, a spokesman for Musharraf said. Musharraf will remain in prison on the day when Pakistanis will go to poll on May 11.

Chaudhry Zulfikar, a prosecutor, said that Musharraf has tried to shift his liability and responsibility on others in the case.

"There are solid evidences about Pervez Musharraf, which prove him guilty in the case," Zulfikar told reporters outside the court 's premises.

He said a joint investigation team has included all the evidence in the documents, "which directly connect the accused' with the incident.

He said that former Interior Minister Rehman Malik has also been asked to record his statement in the case as he had been in charge of Benazir Bhutto's security when she was attacked shortly after she spoke to her supporters.

The prosecutor also said that an American journalist Mark Siegel, who had claimed threats to Benazir Bhutto, will also record his statement during the proceedings.

Siegel, who has served as lobbyist for Bhutto in the United States had said earlier that he was with her in London when then President Pervez Musharraf called and threatened her. Musharraf had denied the allegations.

"Mark Siegel is a key witness in the case and he will be produced in the court during the proceedings to record his statement," Zulfikar said.

The then government of Musharraf had blamed Pakistani Taliban for the attack, but the charges were denied by the militants.

Five suspects are currently facing trial for Bhutto's assassination, who had denied any involvement.

04-30-2013, 06:51 AM
Musharraf sent to judicial custody for 14 days in Bhutto case


AFP | Apr 30, 2013, 10.16 AM IST

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan: Former military ruler Pervez Musharraf will spend Pakistan's general election day under lock and key after a court on Tuesday extended his house arrest over the murder of Benazir Bhutto.

An anti-terrorism court in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, next to Islamabad, put Musharraf on 14-day judicial remand over the death of the former prime minister, who was assassinated in a gun and bomb attack in 2007.

Musharraf returned to Pakistan last month to stand in the May 11 general election, vowing to "save" the country from militancy and economic collapse but he was barred from running and will now spend polling day in his Islamabad villa, which has been designated as a jail.

The retired general was already under a two-week house arrest order set to expire on May 4, over the sacking of judges when he imposed emergency rule in November 2007, and did not appear in court in person.

"The court granted a 14-day judicial remand and ordered that Musharraf be kept in a judicial lock-up until May 14," prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar told AFP. The order was made to give investigators time to work on the case and the regular hearing is due to begin on May 3.

Musharraf is accused of conspiracy to murder two-time prime minister Bhutto, whose Pakistan People's Party (PPP) came to power in February 2008 on a wave of sympathy over her death. It is the second of three cases, dating back to his 1999-2008 rule, for which Musharraf has been arrested since returning to Pakistan on March 24 after four years of self-imposed exile.

Musharraf is being held at his palatial house on the edge of Islamabad where his party complained that he has been confined to two rooms and stripped of his personal staff. He also has been threatened with death by the Taliban. Nobody has ever been convicted or jailed for Bhutto's assassination. Musharraf's government blamed the killing on Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud, who denied any involvement and was killed in a US drone attack in 2009. But Bhutto's son, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, who is PPP chairman, has accused Musharraf of her murder. In 2010 a UN report said Bhutto's death could have been prevented and accused Musharraf's government of failing to give her adequate protection.

04-30-2013, 11:37 PM
Court bans Pervez Musharraf from polls for life


Omer Farooq Khan, TNN | May 1, 2013, 03.01 AM IST

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's former military ruler Pervez Musharraf's plans to stage a political comeback were virtually sealed on Tuesday after the Peshawar high court banned him from contesting polls for life while another court remanded him in judicial custody till three days after the May 11 parliamentary polls.

The high court's ruling came on an appeal by the former president who had challenged the rejection of his nomination papers for the national assembly seat in the north-western hill-station of Chitral. "Since Musharraf had abrogated the Constitution twice, he could not be allowed to contest elections for either the National Assembly or Senate," the four-member bench, headed by chief justice of the high court justice Dost Muhammad Khan, said while dismissing his plea.

The 69-year old former military dictator returned to Pakistan from self-imposed exile on March 24 to head his All Pakistan Muslim League in the May 11 general elections. He had filed nomination papers from four constituencies, but his candidature was rejected in each of them. His appeals against dismissal of papers from other seats - Islamabad, Karachi and Kasur in Punjab - were rejected earlier.

Meanwhile, an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in the garrison city of Rawalpindi sent him to a two-week judicial remand in the Benazir Bhutto assassination case. The court fixed the next date of hearing on May 14, three days after the polls. Bhutto was killed in a deadly bomb and gun attack in December 2007 after addressing an election rally in Rawalpindi's Liaquat Bagh. The court had framed charges against Musharraf in the case in February 2011, and in August that year he was declared a proclaimed offender. The ex-army chief, already in judicial custody in the judges' detention case after imposing emergency in November 2007, was not produced in the court for security reasons.

The court gave permission to the Balochistan police to question Musharraf in the case relating to the killing of Baloch nationalist leader Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti. Bugti was killed in a military offensive in the mountainous Dera Bugti region in southwest in August 2006 when Musharraf was president and army chief.

Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali, special prosecutor of Federal Investigation Agency ( FIA), told media after the hearing that Musharraf was not cooperating with the investigation team in the Benazir assassination case.

The Rise & Fall of the General

Promoted as army chief superceding three generals shortly before the Kargil conflict that he masterminded in 1999
Seized power in a bloodless coup in October '99 to become one of Pakistan's longest-serving rulers
Ordered storming of Islamabad's Red Mosque along with its adjacent seminary in 2007; Over 100 killed
Resigned in August 2008 & left Pakistan under the shadow of impeachment and lawyers' movement
Returned to Pakistan in March 2013 to contest general elections
Faces three criminal cases including treason for imposing emergency, arresting judges in 2007
Arrested after fleeing a local court as it cancelled his bail in April

05-03-2013, 07:00 AM
Prosecutor in Bhutto Killing and Mumbai Attacks Assassinated in Pakistan


Published: May 3, 2013

MULTAN, Pakistan – Gunmen fatally shot a Pakistani prosecutor who had been investigating the murder of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and the 2008 Mumbai attacks, carrying out an assassination that threw into turmoil Pakistan’s most politically charged cases..

Assailants opened fire on Chaudhry Zulfikar Ali as he drove to work from his home in a suburb of the capital, Islamabad, for a court hearing in which the former military leader, Pervez Musharraf, faces charges in relation to Ms. Bhutto’s death in 2007.

Initial reports said that gunmen traveling by motorbike and car sprayed Mr. Ali’s car with bullets, lightly wounding his bodyguard and killing a woman passer-by when his car veered out of control. Television footage from the scene showed a bullet-riddled car crashed by the roadside.

Mr. Ali died before he reached a hospital in Islamabad, where a doctor said he had been shot 13 times. Police said that Mr. Ali’s bodyguard returned fire and managed to wound one of the attackers, who then fled the scene.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack and the police said it was too early to comment on a possible motive. But few doubted it was linked to Mr. Ali’s work as a state prosecutor in some of the most sensitive cases in the country, and his death reinforced the vulnerability of senior government officials who challenge Islamist militants and other powerful, if sometimes hidden, interests.

Mr. Ali represented the Federal Investigation Agency, which has implicated Mr. Musharraf in the case of Ms. Bhutto, who was assassinated in December 2007, just before the last election. But he was also involved in another sensitive case: the trial of seven people from the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba who have been charged with orchestrating the Mumbai attacks of November 2008, which killed more than 160 people.

Mr. Ali was to appear in both cases this week. After the previous hearing of the Bhutto case on April 30, Mr. Ali told reporters he had “solid evidence” that connected Mr. Musharraf with Ms. Bhutto’s death.

Since Mr. Musharraf’s return from exile last month, investigators have questioned the former president about the security arrangements for Ms. Bhutto in 2007.

Rehman Malik, an aide of Ms. Bhutto and a former interior minister, has accused Mr. Musharraf of failing to provide Ms. Bhutto with adequate security. Mr. Musharraf has denied those accusations and insisted that, as head of state, he was not involved in administrative matters.

Mr. Ali was due to appear in court on Saturday for another highly sensitive case, this one involving Islamist militancy and relations with India.

Seven members of the banned group Lashkar-e-Taiba, which carried out the 2008 Mumbai attacks in India, have been on trial since 2009. They stand accused of orchestrating the slaughter from Pakistan and include the group’s operational head, Zaki ur Rehman Lakhvi. But the hearings have been characterized by opacity and a lethargic pace.

The trail is taking place at Adila jail in Rawalpindi, ostensibly on security grounds, and the media is barred from proceedings. Hearings have been repeatedly adjourned due to the absence of lawyers or the presiding judge. Currently, defense lawyers are cross-examining the prosecution witnesses.

Mr. Ali’s death comes at a sensitive time, with Pakistanis due to go to the polls for a general election on May 11. Campaigning has been marred by widespread Taliban violence against candidates from secular parties.

Mr. Musharraf, who returned from exile in order to contest the election last month, faces charges in several cases related to his time in power, including the murder of Ms. Bhutto, the killing of a Baloch nationalist leader, and the firing of senior judges.

Mr. Musharraf has been disqualified from contesting the election and earlier this week a court banned him from politics for life. The retired general also faces possible treason charges, although no decision will be taken until a new government is formed after the May 11 election.

A lawyer for Mr. Musharraf condemned the killing shortly afterward and said that killers should be brought to justice.

In the court hearing in nearby Rawalpindi, lawyers for Mr. Musharraf argued that he should be exempted from appearing in person in the case, Pakistani television stations reported. The hearing was adjourned until May 14.

05-03-2013, 07:00 AM
BB murder case prosecutor shot dead in Islamabad


ISLAMABAD: Two unknown assailants on motorcycle killed The Federal Investigation Agencys (FIA) special prosecutor in the Benazir Bhutto murder case Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali on Friday, DawnNews reported.

According to the police, state prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar was shot multiple times by gunmen in Islamabads G-9 area as he was driving to the next hearing in the murder case of the former prime minister, who was assassinated more than five years ago. Following the attack, he was taken to Islamabads main government-run Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) hospital in a severely injured condition where he succumbed to his injuries.

Doctors said he had been killed with ten bullets targeting his chest and shoulder.

Zulfiqar had been given extra government security last year after police investigators working on the Benazir Bhutto case received threats, which also named him.

It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the shooting.

I cannot comment. Im in a state of shock, Zulfiqars deputy Azhar Chaudhry told AFP when asked to comment.

Moreover, the firing incident also killed a woman and injured Chaudhry Zulfiqars guard Rehman Ali when he lost control of his vehicle.

Later, Zulfiqars body was shifted to the hospitals morgue and a medical team was being constituted to perform postmortem. Wasim Khawaja, spokesman for PIMS, confirmed that his bodyguard was out of danger.

Police subsequently cordoned off the site of incident and started a search operation in the area.

Rawalpindi and Islamabad High Court (IHC) Bar Associations lawyers announced a strike in the wake of the attack.

Interior Minister Malik Habib Khan has also taken notice of the incident.

05-20-2013, 01:12 PM
Pakistan's Musharraf Granted Bail in Bhutto Murder Case


May 20, 2013

A Pakistani court has granted bail to former military ruler Pervez Musharraf in a case related to the murder of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

Musharraf is accused of failing to provide adequate security to Bhutto, who was gunned down in December 2007 at a political rally in Rawalpindi. He has denied any involvement and says the allegations against him are politically motivated.

Despite being issued bail, Musharraf will remain under house arrest at his home on the outskirts of Islamabad on separate charges.

Musharraf, who ruled Pakistan from 1999 to 2008, is also accused of ordering the illegal detention of judges when he imposed military rule in 2007.

Musharraf seized power in a 1999 military coup and ruled for nearly a decade before he stepped down in 2008 and later fled into exile. The 69-year-old returned in March to stand in last week's general election, but he was barred from running due to the charges.

05-21-2013, 11:05 AM
Musharraf gets bail in Benazir case


RAWALPINDI, May 20: A perceivably friendly prosecution led to grant of bail to former president retired General Pervez Musharraf in the Benazir Bhutto murder case by the Anti-Terrorism Court here on Monday.

ATC Judge Chaudhry Habibur Rehman ordered release of the former army chief on bail on submission of Rs2 million surety bonds. But he will remain in his farmhouse till obtaining bail in cases pertaining to judges’ detention and Nawab Akbar Bugti’s murder.

During the course of arguments, the special prosecutor of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) raised no objection to the bail application of Mr Musharraf. Instead, he suggested a heavy surety amount.

He said: “Gen Musharraf would escape from the country if the court releases him on bail but depositing a heavy amount as surety might prevent him from going abroad.” If he went abroad, he said, the surety amount might be of some use to the national exchequer.

After the murder of Ms Bhutto on Dec 27, 2007 the Punjab government constituted a joint investigation team (JIT) which submitted a charge-sheet without nominating Gen Musharraf.

On Aug 6, 2009 the investigation was transferred to the FIA and the following year its JIT implicated Gen Musharraf in the case.

According to the JIT report, Gen Musharraf was upset by the speeches of Ms Bhutto against the imposition of emergency in November 2007. It said that the Musharraf government did not provide adequate security to the former prime minister despite her repeated requests.

After the assassination of Ms Bhutto, Gen Musharraf ordered then director general of the National Crisis Management Cell to hold a press conference “with the motive to influence subsequent police investigation”, it said. The report mentioned an email sent by Ms Bhutto to US lobbyist Mark Siegel on October 26, 2007 in which she said that Gen Musharraf should be held responsible if she was killed.

Before this, she had written a letter to Mr Musharraf, forewarning that then chief minister of Punjab Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, former director general of Inter Services Intelligence Hameed Gul and former chief of Intelligence Bureau Ejaz Shah had hatched a conspiracy to get her assassinated.

Mr Musharraf’s counsel Barrister Salman Safdar said his client had gone abroad after resigning as the president and the FIA had implicated him in the case during his stay abroad. He returned to the country on his own to prove his innocence.

He said Mr Musharraf had been implicated in the case merely on grounds of suspicion. Though Ms Bhutto had suspected that some people might get her killed, those people were never interrogated or made to face a trial.

He said the case had been lingering on for over five years which proved that the prosecution was not interested in bringing it to an end. Transfer of investigation from one to another agency and submission of two charge-sheets indicated that the case was being used for political purpose and not for reaching the ends of justice, he argued.

The court dismissed a post-arrest bail application of Abdul Rasheed, another accused in the Bhutto murder case, after hearing arguments of his counsel Rao Abdul Rahim and the FIA special prosecutor.

Talking to Dawn, Mr Rahim alleged that prosecution had not been “friendly” to his client unlike its attitude to Mr Musharraf. Legal expert Faisal Hussain Chaudhry said even if Mr Musharraf obtained bail in the cases of judges’ detention and Akbar Bugti’s murder, he could not go abroad because his name had been placed on the Exit Control List.

During the hearing of ‘high treason’ case, the Supreme Court ordered the interior ministry last month to place the name of Gen Musharraf on the ECL.

The counsel of Mr Musharraf has already moved the apex court for removing his name from the list.

Mr Musharraf’s lawyer in the high treason case, Ahmed Raza Kasuri, told AFP: “He will get free from all cases one by one…He will stay in the country and won’t go abroad…Rumours that he will go abroad before Nawaz Sharif takes charge of the prime minister office are false.”

05-29-2013, 12:59 PM
PML-N govt to try Musharraf for treason: Sharif's aide


Lahore: The incoming PML-N government is ready to hold the trial of former Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf over charges of treason, a party leader said on Tuesday.

The caretaker government that conducted the May 11 polls had refused to initiate proceedings against Musharraf under Article 6 of the Constitution for treason because of its limited mandate, but the PML-N has decided not to spare the former Army chief who had overthrown the government of Nawaz Sharif in 1999.

"Yes we have decided to try Musharraf for treason in the Supreme Court. Musharraf had violated the Constitution and he should face the music," PML-N parliamentarian Tariq Azeem said.

Prime Minister-elect Nawaz Sharif was very clear about trying Musharraf for violating the Constitution, he said.

"Sharif has made it clear that he has no personal issue with Musharraf but he should be tried for breaking the law and violating the Constitution," Azeem said.

The caretaker government recently informed the Supreme Court of its inability to conduct the trial of Musharraf.

It told the apex court it could not take any controversial step that would be irreversible for the incoming elected government.

The PML-N won the General Election and Sharif is set to become premier for a record third term.

Musharraf is currently being held at his farmhouse on the outskirts of Islamabad, which has been declared a "sub-jail".

He is facing charges over the 2007 assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto, the killing of Baloch nationalist leader Akbar Bugti in a 2006 military operation and the detention of dozens of judges during the 2007 emergency.

06-16-2013, 10:47 AM
Pervez Musharraf formally indicted in Pakistan judges' detention case


Press Trust of India | Updated: June 16, 2013 15:00 IST

Islamabad: An anti-terrorism court in Islamabad formally indicted former President Pervez Musharraf over the detention of several judges during the emergency rule he imposed in 2007.

69-year-old General Musharraf was indicted during a hearing of the case held at his farmhouse in Chak Shahzad yesterday by anti-terrorism court Judge Kausar Abbas Zaidi. He was indicted under provision of the Anti-Terrorism Act and the Pakistan Panel Code.

After the charges against him were read out, General Musharraf refused to accept them and pleaded not guilty. He filed an application for his acquittal due to lack of evidence. The judge then summoned 23 prosecution witnesses for the next hearing on June 21.

Officials said the trial of General Musharraf had formally begun with his indictment. The proceedings are being held at his farmhouse, declared a sub-jail by authorities, for security reasons.

The banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan has said it will target General Musharraf for ordering operations against militants during his regime.

The case over the detention of the judges is based on an FIR filed against General Musharraf in August 2009. The FIR itself is based on a complaint by a lawyer named Chaudhry Muhammad Aslam Ghumman.

Ghumman had asked police to initiate proceedings against Musharraf for detaining over 60 judges, including Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, after imposing emergency on November 3, 2007. The case is one of three against General Musharraf in courts within Pakistan.

He has also been charged for the 2007 assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto and the killing of Baloch nationalist leader Akbar Khan Bugti in a military operation in 2006. The case is being heard by the anti-terrorism court even though Ghumman announced last month that he would not pursue his complaint.

The former president returned to Pakistan in March after nearly four years in self-imposed exile to contest the general election. However, he was arrested shortly after his arrival and a court barred him from contesting polls for the rest of his life.

06-16-2013, 10:48 AM
Musharraf formally indicted in judges' detention case


Jun 16, 2013, 02.56 PM IST

ISLAMABAD: An anti-terrorism court in the Pakistani capital has formally indicted former president PervezMusharraf over the detention of dozens of judges during the emergency rule he imposed in 2007.

Musharraf, 69, was indicted during a hearing of the case held at his farmhouse in Chak Shahzad yesterday by anti-terrorism court Judge Kausar Abbas Zaidi. He was indicted under provision of the Anti-Terrorism Act and the Pakistan Panel Code.

After the charges against him were read out, Musharraf refused to accept them and pleaded not guilty. He filed an application for his acquittal due to lack of evidence.

The judge then summoned 23 prosecution witnesses for the next hearing on June 21.

Officials said the trial of Musharraf had formally begun with his indictment. The proceedings are being held at Musharraf's farmhouse, declared a sub-jail by authorities, for security reasons.

The banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan has said it will target Musharraf for ordering operations against militants during his regime.

The case over the detention of the judges is based on an FIR filed against Musharraf in August 2009. The FIR itself is based on a complaint by a lawyer named Chaudhry Muhammad Aslam Ghumman.

Ghumman had asked police to initiate proceedings against Musharraf for detaining over 60 judges, including Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, after imposing emergency on November 3, 2007. The case is one of three against Musharraf in courts within Pakistan.

He has also been charged for the 2007 assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto and the killing of Baloch nationalist leader Akbar Khan Bugti in a military operation in 2006. The case is being heard by the anti-terrorism court even though Ghumman announced last month that he would not pursue his complaint.

Musharraf returned to Pakistan in March after nearly four years in self-imposed exile to contest the general election. However, he was arrested shortly after his arrival and a court barred him from contesting polls for the rest of his life.

06-25-2013, 07:54 PM
Musharraf faces 4th death-penalty case as Pakistan names him in Bhutto’s murder


By Tom Hussain | McClatchy Foreign Staff
Posted on Tuesday, June 25, 2013

ISLAMABAD — Pakistani investigators Tuesday named former military dictator Pervez Musharraf as the prime suspect in the December 2007 assassination of ex-prime minister Benazir Bhutto, raising the tally of capital charges leveled against the once all-powerful army chief over the last week to four.

The Federal Investigation Agency, Pakistan’s national police force, named Musharraf in a document seeking his indictment by the court hearing the Bhutto case in Rawalpindi, a city adjacent to Islamabad that houses the army headquarters.

Musharraf ruled Pakistan from 1999 to 2008 after leading an October 1999 coup d’etat against Nawaz Sharif, who was then in his second term as prime minister and is now back in the office after his party won May elections.

The Federal Investigation Agency gave little indication of what evidence would be submitted against Musharraf, but it did say it included sworn statements from two Bhutto associates, Briton Victoria Schofield and American Mark Siegel. Both have previously said Bhutto had told them that if she were assassinated when she returned to Pakistan after a decade in exile, Musharraf should be held responsible.

Bhutto and Schofield attended Oxford University in England together in the 1970s and were close friends. Siegel was her longtime Washington lobbyist.

The FIA move came a day after Sharif announced to Parliament that his administration would prosecute Musharraf for high treason for twice abrogating Pakistan’s democratic constitution – first, when he led the 1999 coup and then, in November 2007, when he declared a state of emergency to facilitate the sacking of the rebellious Supreme Court chief justice, Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry.

The two counts of high treason both carry the death penalty if he is convicted.

The court has given the attorney general’s office until Thursday to specify its planned method of prosecution, but the constitution specifies that treason charges must be heard by a specially formed tribunal of three Supreme Court judges.

Musharraf was also formally arrested last week for the 2006 killing of Akbar Bugti, a former chief minister of western Baluchistan province who rebelled against Musharraf’s rule in 2004, starting a low-intensity but brutal insurgency that continues to rage. Again, if convicted on the charge, Musharraf would face the death penalty.

He also has been charged with the illegal confinement of the judges he sacked in November 2007 under anti-terrorism charges that, upon conviction, would carry jail terms calculated in seven-year multiples with chain-gang-style hard labor.

Such legal accountability against a former military dictator is unprecedented in Pakistan’s 65-year history, during which it has been ruled by four military juntas for half that time. Even in previous democratic administrations, the military and its Inter Services Intelligence directorate have exerted more power than the politicians and twisted public opinion against them through propaganda campaigns in a weak and intimidated news media.

Probably acting on unofficial advice from the government and the military, no Pakistani news organization has even mentioned the possibility of a former army chief being executed for treason, despite the media being relatively free from censorship.

The current army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani – who is Musharraf’s protege and successor – in a rare public speech in April, before the May general election won by Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party, had complained about the former dictator’s arrest and prosecution by a caretaker government.

However, political analysts reputed as being privy to the military’s political thinking wrote Tuesday that Sharif had discussed the matter with Kayani before announcing the decision to prosecute Musharraf. They believe that Kayani, while unhappy, had swallowed the decision because of reassurances that it would not publicly be styled as a trial of the military as an institution.

Musharraf is widely hated by the Pakistani public and has found few, if any, people to speak up in his defense.

The exception is Musharraf’s attorney, Ahmed Raza Kasuri, a small-time politician. His sole claim to fame in Pakistan is that he accused Bhutto’s father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who was prime minister from 1973 to 1977, of ordering the killing of Kasuri’s father.

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was convicted of murder and hanged in 1979 after a trial that Western jurists dismissed as a farce staged by Gen. Zia ul Haq, who’d overthrown him in what was the third of Pakistan’s four military coups.

Kasuri previously had warned that any trial would force him to name others involved in imposing the November 2007 emergency – a long list of politicians, civil servants and military commanders, including the incumbent army chief. His tactic has been dismissed as an attempt to blackmail the military into intervening on Musharraf’s half.

In a 2009 ruling, Chaudhry, the reinstated chief justice, ruled that Musharraf was solely responsible for the October 1999 coup, effectively giving other soldiers involved amnesty from prosecution. Most commentators believe the same amnesty would be applied in a treason trial of Musharraf.

Analysts in Islamabad said Sharif had many reasons for taking on the military immediately after assuming the office of prime minister for a third time. He stepped down in his first term in 1993 under intense military pressure, and was overthrown in 1999, jailed and exiled by Musharraf during his second.

Sharif has said repeatedly that he carries no vendetta against Musharraf or anybody else.

The analysts said Sharif had chosen to act because he intends to rule by the letter of the constitution. The imminent retirement of Kayani in December, and competition among generals to be his successor as army chief, have created a one-time political window for Sharif to hold Musharraf accountable for his actions.

“Sharif and his advisers debated and weighed the matter, and decided that they must act,” said Rauf Klasra, the Islamabad-based editor of Dunya, a popular Urdu daily newspaper.

Sharif would face a difficult decision in the event Musharraf were to be convicted and sentenced to death by the courts. The constitution provides for a pardon by the president, a job held until September by Asif Ali Zardari, head of the opposition Pakistan Peoples Party. He or his successor, who would be nominated by Sharif’s party, would act on Sharif’s advice as prime minister. In turn, Sharif probably would seek Parliament’s opinion which, if true to Pakistan’s political formbook, would be inclined toward reducing the death sentence to life imprisonment or exile – as Musharraf had done to Sharif in 2000.

08-08-2013, 05:29 PM
Musharraf murder indictment adjourned

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jQ25Ste3-jvOAux2b29wRGNK6uoA?docId=CNG.93a5a3b3686158714b08 4dd9b9d7d92b.3b1

By Masroor Gilani (AFP) – 2 days ago

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan — Pakistan's ex-military ruler Pervez Musharraf on Tuesday failed to appear in court to be indicted over the murder of former premier Benazir Bhutto due to what police said were security concerns.

Musharraf, who ruled the nuclear-armed state from 1999-2008, had been summoned to face charges of criminal conspiracy and the murder of Bhutto in December 2007.

But police and his lawyer told the court in Rawalpindi, the city where Bhutto was assassinated, that it was not safe enough to bring Musharraf to the court due to threats against his life.

Judge Chaudhry Habibur Rehman adjourned the indictment until August 20 and ordered Musharraf to appear then.

Charging a former army chief would be an unprecedented move in a country ruled for more than half of its life by the military.

There is, however, lingering speculation about the possibility of a behind-the-scenes deal that could allow him to leave Pakistan without facing the courts and undermining the military.

Musharraf, who has been under house arrest at his plush villa on the edge of the capital Islamabad since April 19, had appeared before the court in person on July 30.

Musharraf's lawyer Syeda Afshan Adil told the court that security threats meant her client could not appear in person.

A police official also confirmed that officers were unable to escort Musharraf to the court house due to security risks.

An AFP reporter said there was tight security at the court with police commandos checking vehicles and patting down pedestrians.

Bhutto, twice elected prime minister of Pakistan, was assassinated in a gun and bomb attack in December 2007 after campaigning in the garrison city of Rawalpindi.

There was no public claim of responsibility for Bhutto's murder.

Musharraf's government blamed her assassination on Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud, who denied any involvement. He was killed in a US drone attack in 2009.

The Bhutto case is one in a series of court battles that Musharraf has faced over allegations dating back to his 1999-2008 rule, since he returned in March from four years of self-imposed exile.

The new government headed by Nawaz Sharif, whom Musharraf deposed in a coup in 1999, has said he should stand trial for treason and has appointed a committee to investigate the charges against him.

The offence carries the death penalty or life imprisonment.

He is also wanted over the death of Baluchistan rebel leader Nawab Akbar Bugti during a military operation in 2006.

Amnesty International released a statement, intended to coincide with Tuesday's indictment, demanding that Pakistan hold Musharraf accountable for all rights violations committed during his rule.

"It is encouraging to see the courts take the unprecedented step of bringing a former army chief to account," said Polly Truscott, Amnesty International's deputy Asia Pacific director.

"But Musharraf must be held accountable for all violations committed under his rule, not just a select few," she added.

The London-based rights group says it has documented a wide range of rights violations committed under Musharraf.

"Hundreds, if not thousands, were 'disappeared' during Musharraf's administration in particular human rights activists documenting violations committed by state security forces and members of armed opposition groups," said Truscott.

Pakistani security forces continue to be implicated in the killing, enforced disappearance and torture of terrorism suspects, political activists and human rights defenders, it said.

"No serving or retired member of Pakistan's security forces is known to have been brought to justice for their alleged involvement in these violations," said Truscott.

Musharraf, 69, was arrested after returning from exile to stand in the May elections won by Sharif. He was barred from running for parliament because of the legal allegations against him.

08-08-2013, 05:29 PM
Pakistan: Hold Musharraf accountable for all abuses during his rule


The Pakistani authorities must hold former military ruler Pervez Musharraf accountable for all human rights violations committed during his rule, Amnesty International said today.

Musharraf was expected to be formally charged today at an Anti-Terrorism Court in Islamabad with criminal conspiracy and murder related to the December 2007 assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. However, he failed to appear in court after local intelligence services warned his life could be at risk.

There are a number of other cases pending against Musharraf, including in relation to the 2006 killing of the Baloch nationalist leader Akbar Bugti, with trials for these expected to follow later in the year.

It is encouraging to see the courts take the unprecedented step of bringing a former Army Chief to account for his alleged involvement in past human rights violations and crimes under international law. But Musharraf must be held accountable for all violations committed under his rule, not just a select few, said Polly Truscott, Amnesty Internationals Deputy Asia-Pacific Director.

Amnesty International documented a wide range of human rights violations committed during the near 10-year rule of Pervez Musharraf in Pakistan (1999-2008).

Hundreds, if not thousands, were disappeared during Musharrafs administration in particular human rights activists documenting violations committed by state security forces and members of armed opposition groups. In his final full year in office, 2007, Musharraf also led a clampdown on the judiciary and independent media, said Truscott.

As Amnesty International has documented in detail, Pakistans security forces continue to be implicated in human rights violations, such as the killing, enforced disappearance and torture of terrorism suspects, political activists and human rights defenders across the country and especially in the northwest tribal areas and Balochistan province.

No serving or retired member of Pakistans security forces is known to have been brought to justice for their alleged involvement in these violations, said Truscott.

It is crucial that Pervez Musharraf as any other accused in Pakistan - receives a fair, independent and impartial trial without recourse to the death penalty. His human rights must be protected, just like the thousands of other criminal suspects who faced enforced disappearance, torture and other violations during his rule.

08-21-2013, 10:13 AM
Pakistan Court Charges Musharraf for Killing of Bhutto


By Augustine Anthony - Aug 20, 2013 1:09 AM ET

A Pakistani court indicted Pervez Musharraf in the 2007 assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, escalating legal challenges to the ex-military dictator since he ended his self-exile in March.

Charges were read out to Musharraf that he was complicit in Bhutto’s killing as he failed to provide adequate security at a political rally she was attending, public prosecutor Chaudhary Mohammad Azhar told reporters after a brief court appearance by the former general.
Enlarge image Pakistan Court Charges Musharraf for Killing of Benazir Bhutto

A campaign poster for the party of Pervez Musharraf, former Pakistan's prime minister, who is facing a barrage of legal cases over his time in power, is displayed on a street in Islamabad on May 3, 2013. Photographer: Farooq Naeem/AFP/Getty Images

“Musharraf was charged for murder, criminal conspiracy for murder and facilitation of murder,” Azhar said. “He denied the charges.” Six other people were also indicted and the hearing was adjourned till Aug. 27, state-run Pakistan Television reported, citing court proceedings.

Musharraf, who returned to Pakistan in an unsuccessful bid to contest May’s parliament election, is also facing possible prosecution over his suspension of the country’s constitution toward the end of his rule and the death of a Baluch separatist leader, Nawab Akbar Bugti. He has been kept under house arrest in Islamabad since his arrest April 19.

The former president was brought to a special anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi, near the capital, under tight security as he faced threats to his life, a defense lawyer, Afshan Adil, said outside the court. Musharraf survived at least four assassination attempts by Islamic extremists while in power from 1999 to 2008.

Political Comeback
The former army chief seized power after overthrowing the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a 1999 coup and stepped down as president in 2008 to avoid impeachment charges. He left Pakistan and lived mainly in London and Dubai for more than four years.

Bidding for a political comeback, Musharraf vowed to fight the election that brought Sharif back to power in May, only to be barred from standing by poll officials citing his emergency decree of 2007.

Bhutto was killed in a gun and suicide bomb attack at a rally in Rawalpindi in December 2007. A United Nations report, released in 2010, said her death may have been prevented had security forces taken proper steps after death threats were made against her.

Musharraf’s administration said former Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud ordered Bhutto’s murder after she criticized the Taliban for terrorist attacks in Pakistan and announced she would help the U.S. eliminate the group.

The Pakistani chief prosecutor investigating the Bhutto case was shot dead May 3 by unidentified gunmen in Islamabad while he was heading for a hearing.

10-06-2013, 03:38 PM
Musharraf enjoys life of luxury in detention
Pakistan's former leader may be under house arrest, but he writes his memoirs, works out and eats meals cooked by his personal chef


At the end of a quiet lane snaking through the well-heeled Islamabad suburb of Chak Shahzad, a terracotta-coloured house modelled on a Moroccan courtyard home stands amid spreading orchards and wheat fields.

It would be a restful, bucolic scene, were it not for the 300 policemen, paramilitaries, soldiers, snipers and anti-terrorist officers on hand to guard the owner, Pervez Musharraf, former leader of Pakistan.

The one-time military strongman is under house arrest but enjoying detention deluxe: writing his memoirs, working out each day and eating meals cooked by his personal chef.

The former general, who ruled from 1999 to 2008 after deposing an elected government in a bloodless coup, returned to Pakistan in March after years of self-imposed exile in London.

He returned vowing to stand in the general election and "save" Pakistan, but his arrival restarted a barrage of legal cases related to his time in power, including murder charges over the death of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in 2007.

The Chak Shahzad house was declared a "sub-jail" by a court in April, and he has lived there in detention ever since, as the cases against him grind through Pakistan's slow-moving judicial system.

As the man who allied his country with Washington in its "war on terror" after the 9/11 attacks, Musharraf is in danger from Islamist militants who have vowed to kill him.

The house he commissioned back in 2006, at the height of his power, was still under construction when he was forced from power and into exile. It is now both his prison and his refuge.

"The house was 95 per cent finished before he left, but the first time he spent a night in the house was after he came back this year," said Hammad Husain, the architect.

Aides say Musharraf, 70, is keeping his body in shape with 75-minute workouts every morning and his mind sharp with reading and writing.

"He is writing a second book. I have seen the text. He has written substantially but there is still work to be done," his official spokesman, Raza Bokhari, said.

The new volume will follow on from his first book of memoirs published in 2006, In the Line of Fire.

"It is picking up from 2007 onwards, from the peak of his popularity to his downfall, to life in self-imposed exile and then formation of a political party and return to Pakistan," Bokhari said.

Despite the rigorous security, provided under the auspices of the tough Adyala prison in Rawalpindi, Musharraf still fears his enemies will try to get to him.

"His food is not prepared in prison but on the premises, by his cook, for security reasons. He is afraid of being poisoned," a prison source said.

He keeps a close eye on his legal tussles, accusations his entourage dismiss as politically motivated, "false, fabricated and fictitious".

In Pakistan, court cases can drag on interminably, but charges can also be dropped overnight when an agreement emerges to let the accused leave the country.

There have been rumours for months of a possible deal to let Musharraf go back into exile, to avoid a clash between the government and the all-powerful army, which is keen to avoid seeing one of its own tried by civilians.

His team admit the cases against him could last years, but insist the old soldier is in top form to "fight another fight he has to fight".

"He is in very good spirits. He's a strong person," said an aide.

10-09-2013, 07:06 PM
Musharraf granted bail in Bugti murder case


2013-10-09 13:43:25

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Wednesday granted bail to former president Pervez Musharraf over the death of Baloch rebel leader Akbar Bugti, bringing closer the former dictator’s possible release after nearly six months of house arrest.

Musharraf has now been granted bail in three major cases against him, including one relating to the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

His lawyer said the ruling meant he was a “free man”. But he is likely to remain under heavy guard at his villa on the edge of Islamabad, where he has been under house arrest since April, because of serious threats to his life.

A two-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Nasirul Mulk, heard Musharraf's appeal against the Balochistan High Court’s rejection of his bail application in the Nawab Akbar Bugti murder case.

The bench observed that substantial evidence was not available to involve Musharraf in the criminal conspiracy regarding Bugti’s murder and granted bail to the former president.

His lawyer Ibrahim Satti said the three-member bench had granted bail in the Bugti case in return for surety bonds worth two million rupees.

Though the court had summoned Jamil Bugti, a son of Nawab Akbar Bugti, who is a complainant in the case, he remained absent from today’s hearing.

Musharraf ‘a free man’
“Pervez Musharraf is a free man now after getting bail in the Bugti case,” said Qamar Afzal, another counsel for the former president.

As well as the Bugti and Bhutto cases, Musharraf also faces cases over the suspension of judges during emergency rule, which he imposed in 2007.

The Taliban have threatened to kill the 70-year-old former general, who as president allied Pakistan with Washington in the US “war on terror” in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Security remained tight at Musharraf's villa, an AFP reporter at the scene said, with no sign of any preparations for departure.

Musharraf's spokesman Raza Bokhari said the general was “gratified” by the bail ruling but determined to clear his name of charges which he has always maintained were politically motivated.

“After all these formalities are finalised he would be free to travel within and outside Pakistan, but this is just the beginning. These court cases are a long-run process,” said Bokhari.

“He will continue to fight these cases until his name is clear of these false, fabricated and fictitious charges.”

‘No decision to leave Pakistan’
The secretary-general of Musharraf's political party, the All Pakistan Muslim League, said he expected “progress” on Thursday after the bonds are paid but denied Musharraf planned to leave Pakistan.

“There has been no deal with the government, nor has Musharraf taken any decision to immediately leave the country,” Muhammad Amjad told reporters.

Musharraf returned to Pakistan in March to run in the general election, vowing to “save” the country from economic collapse and militancy.

But he was barred from contesting the election, won convincingly by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif – the man he ousted from power in 1999 – and was hit with a barrage of criminal cases dating back to his rule.

He has been living in part of his 1,100 square metre house, declared a “sub-jail” under the auspices of the Adiala prison in Rawalpindi, where he is guarded by some 300 police, paramilitaries and marksmen.

Reports have claimed he is enjoying a comfortable life in detention. He has even had the services of his personal cook because of his fears of being poisoned.

Since Sharif won the election there have been repeated rumours that a deal would be reached to allow Musharraf to leave Pakistan before his trials were completed.

Musharraf spokesman Bokhari insisted no such arrangement had been cooked up.

One theory was that Musharraf might be allowed to visit his sick elderly mother in Dubai on compassionate grounds, but APML spokesman Amjad rejected the idea.

“Musharraf's mother has been quite unwell for quite some time but he has not reached any deal nor has he made any request to leave the country to see his mother,” Amjad said.

Baloch nationalist leader Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti was killed in August 2006 in an explosion in a cave where he had taken refuge during a military crackdown ordered by Musharraf who was president and army chief at the time.

Bugti had led an armed campaign to press for provincial autonomy and a greater share of profits from Balochistan’s natural resources.

The death of the Baloch chieftain sparked angry protests in parts of the country.

10-10-2013, 07:47 PM
Musharraf rearrested over Lal Masjid operation


Published 2013-10-10 20:09:59

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s former military ruler General (retd) Pervez Musharraf was rearrested in Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) killing case hours after submitting surety bonds in the Supreme Court on Thursday.

The rearrest came after he had been granted bail in three other cases and his lawyer said on Wednesday he was cleared to leave the country.

Assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, death of Baloch nationalist leader Nawab Akbar Bugti and detention of deposed Supreme Court judges were the other three major cases registered against the former military strongman.

“We have put General Musharraf under house arrest in a case involving a military operation on an Islamabad mosque,” Muhammad Rizwan, a senior official of the Islamabad police told reporters.

“We will present him before a court on Friday,” Rizwan added, after visiting Musharraf's plush villa at the edge of Islamabad, which has been declared a sub jail.

A complaint against Musharraf in the Lal Masjid case was registered last month on the orders of a judge.

On Wednesday, Musharraf was granted bail in the case of the death of Baloch nationalist leader Nawab Akbar Bugti after the apex court granted his appeal against rejection of a similar plea by the Balochistan High Court.

The apex court had asked the former army strongman to submit two surety bonds of Rs 1 million each to the Supreme Court Registrar.

A spokesman of Musharraf’s All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) party confirmed the arrest saying they will now apply for bail in the latest case.

“Yes, Police have officially arrested General Musharraf and put him under house arrest. We will file his bail application soon,” Muhammad Amjad, secretary general of the APML told AFP.

The Lal Masjid operation was a 2007 government crackdown on the controversial pro-Taliban mosque in Islamabad, which ended in a bloody eight-day siege killing at least 58 Pakistani troops and seminary students.

The operation followed a week-long standoff between the mosque's supporters and security forces.

A number of witnesses in their statements had alleged that Musharraf, then president of Pakistan, was responsible for the action.

Musharraf was forced out of office after trying and failing to fire the country's chief justice. The former president and head of the army went into exile in 2008 but returned earlier this year in an abortive attempt to launch a political career – Reuters/AFP/Dawn.com

10-21-2013, 11:05 AM
Probe against Musharraf to be completed in six weeks: FIA


Sunday, October 20, 2013
From Print Edition

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Saturday said it would complete a probe into the 2007 emergency imposed by former President Pervez Musharraf in six weeks.

FIA Director-General Saud Mirza said the statements of some bureaucrats had been recorded as part of the probe. The investigation will be completed within six weeks, he said.

Mirza said the probe was launched on the directives of the interior minister and Musharraf’s statement would soon be recorded.

Though the government ordered the inquiry in June, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said on October 12 that he had asked the FIA to fast-track the case of high treason against Musharraf and to take the matter to a logical conclusion in six weeks.

The case was registered against Musharraf for subverting the Constitution by imposing an emergency in November 2007. The emergency lasted until December 15 of the same year.

In July 2009, the Supreme Court ruled that the military strongman’s decision to impose emergency was unconstitutional and illegal.

Musharraf is currently seeking bail in a case over the killing of cleric Abdul Rashid Ghazi during a military crackdown on the Lal Masjid in 2007.

He has already been granted bail in three other key cases, including one related to the 2007 emergency and another over the killing of former premier Benazir Bhutto.

He has been under arrest for nearly six months at his farmhouse on the outskirts of Islamabad, guarded by nearly 300 security personnel, including soldiers and snipers.

He took power in a 1999 coup and ruled as president until he resigned when he was threatened with impeachment in 2008.

He then went into self-imposed exile and returned to Pakistan in March to resurrect his political career. His party says that as and when Musharraf gets bail in all the cases, he will remain in Pakistan and fight the cases.

However, many say he could fly out of the country.

The Interior Ministry recently confirmed that Musharraf was included in the Exit Control List, which has the names of people barred from travelling out of Pakistan.

11-04-2013, 11:57 AM
Pakistan's Musharraf granted bail in last legal case against him


November 4, 2013, 11:34 pm

Islamabad (AFP) - A Pakistan court on Monday granted bail to former military ruler Pervez Musharraf over a deadly raid on a radical mosque, bringing closer his possible release after more than six months of house arrest.

The ruling by an Islamabad district court means the ex-general is on bail in all the cases brought against him since his return to Pakistan from self-imposed exile, including one relating to the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

But the 70-year-old is likely to remain under heavy guard at his villa on the edge of Islamabad, where he has been under house arrest since April, because of serious threats to his life.

Judge Wajid Ali approved bail on condition Musharraf pays bonds totalling 200,000 rupees ($2,000). The trial is due to start on November 11.

Defence lawyer Afshan Adil told AFP the money would be paid on Tuesday, but rejected rumours that have circulated in recent months that Musharraf would try to leave Pakistan.

"He is not going abroad and will stay in the country," she said.

Musharraf's name is currently on the interior ministry's "exit control list", meaning he cannot leave Pakistan without the approval of the government.

Musharraf was arrested last month over the 2007 raid on the Red Mosque in Islamabad, just a day after he was given bail in the last of three major cases against him dating back to his 1999-2008 rule.

The order to the army to storm the Red Mosque, where armed radicals had holed up just a stone's throw from the parliament building, took Musharraf to the top of the Taliban hit list.

The operation left more than 100 people dead and unleashed a wave of Islamist violence that rocks Pakistan to this day.

Tariq Asad, a lawyer for the Red Mosque, condemned the bail ruling and said an appeal would be launched in the high court.

Musharraf's aides have said the charges against him are trumped up and politically motivated and his official spokesman welcomed Monday's ruling.

"We are confident that eventually domestic and international push-back will compel Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to cease in his tracks and the allegations filed against former president Musharraf in the Red Mosque matter will be withdrawn," Raza Bokhari said in a statement.

Former commando Musharraf returned to Pakistan in March to run in the May general election, vowing to "save" the country from economic collapse and militancy.

But he was barred from standing in the election, won convincingly by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif -- the man he ousted from power in 1999 -- and was hit with a series of criminal cases dating back to his rule.

Musharraf has faced charges over Bhutto's murder at an election rally in 2007, the death of a Baluch rebel leader in 2006 and the suspension of judges in 2007.

In April he was put under house arrest, an unprecedented move in a country ruled for more than half of its life by the military. The decision was seen by many as a challenge to the armed forces' power.

Since Sharif won the election there have been repeated rumours that a deal would be reached to allow Musharraf to leave Pakistan before his trials were completed.

One theory was that he might be allowed to visit his sick elderly mother in Dubai on compassionate grounds, but aides have said repeatedly that he is determined to face justice and clear his name.

The ex-ruler has been living in part of his 1,100 square metre (12,000 square foot) house, declared a "sub-jail" under the auspices of a prison in Rawalpindi. He is guarded by some 300 police, paramilitaries and marksmen.

Reports have claimed he is enjoying a comfortable life in detention. He has even had the services of his personal cook because of his fears of being poisoned.

The Taliban have threatened to kill Musharraf, who as president allied Pakistan with Washington in the US "war on terror" in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.