Who Killed Benazir – Business recorder editorial

Source: Business Recorder:
EDITORIAL (April 29 2010): Better late than never; two years and four months on, President Zardari has finally broken his silence and disclosed who killed Benazir Bhutto. He ‘knew the killer’, as he said at the graveside of his spouse on December 28, 2007, but had kept this secret within all this time. Addressing a tribal jirga at the Governor’s House in Peshawar on Tuesday, he left nobody in doubt that her killers were the “refugees who were given refuge 30 years ago”.

“The refugees turned out to be bitter enemies in the end, as they killed their hosts and their families and led to the destruction of their property,” he told the tribal elders, exhorting them “to get united and defeat the killers of Benazir Bhutto”.

Simply said, he has blamed the tribal Taliban for the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, almost endorsing the position the Musharraf government had taken at the time of the tragic happening, as she fell to a gun and bomb attack while leaving the venue of her address in Liaquat Bagh, Rawalpindi, on the evening of December 27, 2007.

In an astonishing departure from such happenings in the past, when high-profile leaders were assassinated by killers who remained untraced and unpunished to this day, the Musharraf government had not only identified the killer of Benazir Bhutto but also his patron, which it said was the chief of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan Baitullah Mehsud – thanks to an audio intercept of a telephonic conversation between the Taliban supremo and one of his admirers.

Not only this, the then government’s spokesman also theorised that she died by hitting the lever of the escape latch of the vehicle, under the impact of the bomb exploded by a suicide bomber, and by a bullet, which according to many was fired a fraction of a second earlier.

Baitullah Mehsud, instantly, refuted the government claim, to some wonder, because the practice, then, was that the TTP would take the credit, even for the maim and carnage it had no hand in perpetrating. All this was happening at a tremendously hurried pace, generating curiosity as if someone was trying to complete the jigsaw puzzle of Benazir Bhutto’s murder as quickly as possible.

But the UN investigators did not bite the bait that BB was assassinated by the Taliban, or she had lost her life to the impact of the bomb. Of course, their report does not identify the perpetrators or the abettors and plotters – because they were prohibited to do so – but they have asked a couple of questions, if honestly probed and replied this would surely leave the real hand exposed.

On the face of it, they have held the Musharraf government in general, and the intelligence agencies, in particular, responsible – mainly by way of omission – for BB’s murder, while they haven’t let go, scot-free, also some of the PPP leaders who were supposed to be protecting her.

The UN investigators are greatly intrigued at the hasty hosing down of the crime scene and the refusal of the concerned persons to allow a post-mortem of her body, thinking their identification would help trace the plotters of the crime.

Now that a high-level enquiry into who ordered the hosing down of the crime scene is in progress, President Zardari’s categorical disclosure, pinpointing the perpetrators, is nothing short of throwing a spanner in the work. Going to Peshawar, addressing tribal elders and apparently speaking from notes – all this, unmistakably, tends to lend credence to the view that an effort is afoot to further delay the outcome of the ongoing probe into Ms Bhutto’s assassination.

Then, what to say of the incessant harangue by the ministers that if required, even General Musharraf would be extradited and tried in the open court? Isn’t it ironic, if not intriguing, that General Musharraf’s set-up, too, had accused the Taliban of BB’s murder, and now President Zardari is humming the same tune.



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