We never asked you to investigate the role of ISI and MI in Benazir Bhutto’s murder

Here is a latest example of the notorious Teen Jeem Alliance (the pro-military establishment alliance of Pakistan’s judiciary, army and media).

This news item was carefully censored or de-prioritized by most newspapers and TV channels in Pakistan.

According to daily The Nation:

An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Rawalpindi, (ATC-III), sent the former police chief of Rawalpindi Syed Saud Aziz and former SP Rawal Town Khurram Shahzad to Adiala Jail on 14-day judicial remand after setting aside the Federal Investigation Agency’s request to extend their physical remand for nine more days in Benazir Bhutto’s murder case.
The court also issued show-cause notice to FIA Assistant Director Asghar Jatoi on account of writing a letter to Interior Ministry mentioning in it that the court ordered the agency to investigate ISI and MI officers in BB’s murder case. However, the FIA officer immediately tendered his apology with the court. The FIA had presented two former top cops before the court of Rana Nisar Ali Khan.

According to Sana News:

During the course of hearing ATC took strong notice of letter written by Assistant Director FIA Asghar Jatoi to the Interior Ministry in which Asghar Jatoi claimed that court has instructed FIA to investigate from intelligence agencies (ISI and MI). The court observed that why FIA used court name illegally whereas court never ordered to hold investigations from the officials of these agencies. Court said that this court has no jurisdiction to issue orders in this regard.

It may be recalled that only three days ago, on 27 Dec 2010, the following was reported in Pakistani and international media:

Pakistan may widen the scope of investigations into the killing of former premier Benazir Bhutto to probe the possible involvement of some intelligence officials in the plot.

The investigations into the assassination are likely to be expanded to unveil some faces who have so far been out of picture, the Dawn reported.

The paper said the move to widen the investigation is likley to be ordered as three years of probe have failed to unravel the conspiracy of who killed Bhutto.

“So far little conclusive evidence has emerged about who planned or perpetrated the assassination, or under whose ultimate authority the crime scene investigation was so mismanaged,” the paper said on the third anniversary of the gory killing of the charismatic leader.

The probability of probing intelligence officials, the paper said had been thrown up after the arrest of the two former police officers who have told investigators that some intelligence officials were in contact with them on the fateful day of December 27, 200

The Federal Investigation Agency obtained on Thursday six days’ physical custody of former chief of Rawalpindi city police Saud Aziz and SP Khurram Shahzad to recover the cellphones they were using on the day the former prime minister was assassinated in a gun-and-bomb attack outside Rawalpindi’s Liaquat Bagh

Special Public Prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali told reporters after the court proceedings that arrested officers had informed the investigators that four officers of the Inter-Services Intelligence and Military Intelligence had been in contact with them.

But he said that their names could not be disclosed now because it was yet to be ascertained in what context they were in contact with the accused.

If concrete evidence was found against the intelligence officers they would be included in the investigation.

The FIA investigators said in the court that forensic tests of the cellphones were needed to ascertain who had been in contact with the two police officers on the day of Benazir’s assassination.

Advocate Zulfiqar said that phone data would help the investigators to know if other elements were also involved in the murder.

He said the police officers had given divergent statements about the cellphones and the numbers used by them three years ago. First they said they had lost the phones and later claimed that these had broken up.

The two police officers were brought to the court without handcuffs in a van with windows covered with newspapers.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had a few months ago formed a three-member committee, headed by Cabinet Secretary Chaudhry Abdul Rauf, which excluded from inquiry some top military officials who allegedly ordered the hosing down of the assassination site. The inquiry report, however, has not been made public.

The UN commission on Benazir’s assassination had accused MI’s former director general Maj-Gen Nadeem Ijaz and some top police officials of being behind the hosing down of the site.

The joint investigation team has prepared the 32-point questionnaire for the former president.

Interior ministry sources said the document contained questions relating to security lapse and asked the former president why he did not provide adequate security to Ms Bhutto although she had expressed fears about threats to her life. Gen (retd) Musharraf’s spokesman Fawad Chaudhry said the former president had nothing to do with the security of Bhutto. He termed the government’s move to send the questionnaire to Gen Musharraf an attempt to politicise the case and damage him politically.

Here is an Urdu version of the news report from daily Express which confirms how the court admonished the FIA for “misusing” court’s name by suggesting to interrogate the ISI and the MI in Benazir Bhutto’s murder case.



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