LAHORE: Former military strongman Gen (r) Pervez Musharraf has accused Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) supremo Asif Ali Zardari of carrying out the murder of his wife, former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
In a video message, Musharraf said he was sending out this message as Zardari had personally called him out by blaming him for Benazir’s murder.
In his recorded message, Musharraf says the anti-terrorism court hearing the Benazir Bhutto murder case gave its verdict some days ago.
“Every Pakistani is concerned that two distinguished police officers got punished but the real terrorists were exonerated,” said the former dictator.
“However, one day ago, Zardari remarked that I am responsible for Benazir’s murder. This is the first time he’s called me out on this by name. I cannot tolerate this,” he lamented.
Giving his ‘reply’, he said he is especially addressing [Benazir and Zardari’s children] Bilawal, Aseefa and Bakhtawar, as well as the Bhutto family and all Sindhis and Pakistanis who have been following “this murderer of Benazir”.
“I believe that the reason for the Bhutto family’s demise and the responsible person for Benazir and Murtaza’s murder is Zardari. In any murder, it should be noted who benefits and who loses. I lost a lot from Benazir’s assassination while Zardari benefitted,” he said.
Terming [then TTP chief] Baitullah Mehsud’s role in Benazir’s killing “a reality”, Musharraf said all evidence is available in this regard.
He said Mehsud was his enemy and he [Musharraf] wanted him dead.
Watch the video here:
The former president also hinted at the role of Afghan intelligence agency Khad and then president Hamid Karzai in facilitating Zardari for carrying out Benazir’s murder.
With regards to the day of the incident, Musharraf said providing security at Liaquat Bagh [where Benazir was killed] was not his responsibility.
He questioned the presence of a rooftop hatch in a bulletproof vehicle and also wondered who asked Benazir on the phone to open the hatch and come out to wave to the crowd.
“An examination of Benazir’s phone could have proved this but it was only made available after two years — obviously someone must have erased all its data,” he alleged.
Musharraf also criticised the fact that those sitting with Benazir inside her vehicle — Naheed Khan, Safdar Abbasi, Makhdoom Amin Fahim and “jail buddy” Khalid Shahenshah — were not questioned by the court. The former president also questioned the credentials of Malik and Shahenshah for becoming “security in-charges” of Benazir.
“It’s suspicious that Shahenshah was killed under unusual circumstances soon after Benazir’s assassination,” said Musharraf, adding that Zardari was the only person capable of doing all this.
He also questioned the change in Benazir’s return route and Malik’s dashing to Islamabad right after the incident.
Musharraf said the real murderer — Zardari — can be pinpointed by investigating these aspects. “He’s taking my name to divert people’s attention from him. I say he should be brought to book for Benazir and Murtaza’s murders,” he said.
Ending his message, Musharraf said he hopes that all of Benazir’s children are listening with an open mind and understand his logic.
SHERRY REHMAN SAYS MUSHARRAF HIDING FROM COURTS
Pakistan People’s Party leader Sherry Rehman appealed for swift justice for the murder of former prime minister and PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto, according to a press statement issued by the party.
Speaking to the media outside Lahore High Court’s Rawalpindi bench, PPP vice president told media that today was the first hearing on the pleas submitted by former president Asif Ali Zardari in the Benazir Bhutto murder case.
“It has been 10 years since Benazir Bhutto’s assassination and we are still fighting for justice. We were not allowed to become a party to the case this whole decade,” she said, adding that the party will go on every forum to appeal and fight for justice.
“We will knock every door if that’s what it takes,” she said.
She said the whole nation anxiously waited for this verdict with them, regardless of their political affiliation.
While responding to the allegations levelled by Musharraf against Asif Zardari, the PPP VP said: “If Musharraf knew about Benazir Bhutto’s and Murtaza Bhutto’s murderers, then why was he quiet until now? Why didn’t Musharraf speak up earlier when the UN Commission came? Musharraf was in power for 10 years in Pakistan, so why did he not do anything for Murtaza Bhutto’s case?”
“He [Musharraf] is worried now that questions will be asked about his role in her murder. This is a classic case of those guilty making more noise. We all know that Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto specifically took Musharraf’s name in her e-mail to Mark Seigel,” Sherry Rehman added.
She further added that it had been 10 years since Benazir Bhutto died and somehow he [Musharraf] just woke up about who the murderers were.
“If Zardari wanted to run from the Benazir Bhutto’s case then he would never have filed three appeals,” Rehman noted, adding that whatever Musharraf has to say, he should say it in Pakistan.
“Why did Musharraf’s own people try to wash away evidence and cover up the crime? Who was involved in this conspiracy? These questions are very serious and should not be forgotten because we will always keep appealing until we achieve justice,” the PPP senator concluded.
Meanwhile, responding to Musharraf’s allegations, Opposition Leader Khursheed Shah said they previously doubted, but now they believe that Musharraf got Benazir Bhutto assassinated, adding, “This is why he is sitting abroad after fleeing the country.”
“If Asif Zardari and Baitullah Mehsud had been connected to the assassination, then why was it not revealed earlier,” he questioned, demanding the former military ruler to provide evidence to substantiate his allegations.
“Hiding such a major thing shows that Musharraf is fully involved [in the murder],” the opposition leader.
Shah also urged the court to take notice of Musharraf’s allegations and summon him.
GHANI LASHES AT MUSHARRAF:
Reacting to Musharraf’s accusations, PPP leader Saeed Ghani said the former dictator is trying to save his own skin by levelling allegations against Asif Zardari.
Ghani said that Musharraf is only worried about the appeals filed by PPP in the Benazir Bhutto murder case.
“If he [Musharraf] is innocent, he should return to the country, appear before the court and prove his innocence.” Musharraf has been absconding in the case, if he claims to be innocent he should prove it, Ghani added.
Speaking about Murtaza Bhutto murder case, Ghani remarked that Zardari was acquitted in the case. “Murtaza’s wife, Ginwa Bhutto, had even presented all evidence in the case yet Zardari was acquitted,” he added.