Statement on Benazir’s murder – Musharraf conveys ‘conditional’ willingness | Pakistan Today

Statement on Benazir’s murder – Musharraf conveys ‘conditional’ willingness

ISLAMABAD – Former president Pervez Musharraf has conveyed his conditional willingness to record his statement with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in the Benazir Bhutto murder case. A source privy to the development told Pakistan Today that FIA Director General Waseem Ahmed had been informed that the former dictator was ready to cooperate only if he was treated as a witness, rather than an accused in the Benazir murder case.
“The FIA director general had contacted me on February 12 and sought my help for recording Musharraf’s statement vis-a-vis the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. However, I told him that Gen (r) Musharraf would only record his statement if he was treated as a witness under Article 161 of the CrPC, not an accused as has been mentioned in FIA’s challan submitted with the anti-terrorism court,” Barrister Mohammed Ali Saif said while talking to Pakistan Today.
He said the former president had nothing to do with the security provided to Benazir Bhutto and the challan submitted by FIA to the anti-terrorism court was “biased, malicious and malafide”. He said that he had informed the FIA director general that two FIA officers would have to visit the former president in Abu Dhabi to record his statement.
“I also told him that the questionnaire should be re-drafted as irrelevant questions were incorporated in the previous one. What is the objective of asking the former president whether or not he had taken over in 1999? What relevance has this question to the Benazir Bhutto’s assassination case? What relevance does the question why he had imposed emergency on November 3, 2007 have? I think FIA wants to damage the investigation by incorporating such irrelevant queries,” he asserted.
Saif said the government was trying to get political mileage through the Benazir assassination case and this was an evil design to divert the focus from the killers. Asked why Brigadier (r) Aijaz Shah and former spokesman of the Interior Ministry Brigadier (r) Javed Iqbal Cheema had recorded statements against Musharraf, Saif said none of the two had held the former president responsible for the assassination or security lapse in the Benazir murder case.
“What Cheema told FIA was that he had held a press conference after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto on instruction of General (r) Musharraf. Now it is true that the former president was given a briefing by the Interior Ministry after Benazir’s assassination. During the briefing, the Interior Ministry, Health Ministry and intelligence agencies submitted their reports to Musharraf on the issue.
After the briefing, the former president asked the Interior Ministry to take the masses on board on their findings into the Benazir assassination. Is it a crime to take the people of the country on board on the issue of the killing of a national leader?” he said.
Saif said the unpopular PPP government was trying to take refuge behind Benazir’s assassination and the drama of implicating Musharraf in the killing was being staged just to play to the galleries. He said the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) would foil such designs with public support.

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