As the noose tightens – by Usama Bhutto

Since December last when the Supreme Court of Pakistan started hearing the petitions for NRO, political climate of the country took a revolve. Newspapers were littered with twisted facts about the controversial ordinance and the eletronic Media celebrated an overwhelming audience ; applauding the charismatic leadership of Hamid Mir, Kamran Khan and the “Trade Union of Judicial Messiahs”. Meanwhile, the political orphans cajoled the Military Establishment to step in. On the other hand, rumblings of discontent from the Lawyers community struggled to be heard amidst an uproar against President Asif Ali Zardari. The NRO dust had not yet settled ; the “Trade Union of Judicial Messiahs” went on a hunger strike over judicial appointments. In the middle of a “simulated” situation to ensure the clash of institutions, something seriously went unnoticed: The UN Commission’s findings into the Assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

The three-member commission, headed by Chilean Ambassador to the UN, Munoz, which began its work on July 1st, was mandated to submit its report identifying facts and circumstances concerning Bhutto’s tragic death in December 2007 to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon by December 31st 2009.

The UN Comission, it is reported, had come across some new aspects and dimensions to the crime. In addition to the continually falling security situation in the country, it requested the Government of Pakistan to extend the deadline.

After the October 18th carnage, Benazir Bhutto observed, “On Oct 16, before returning home, I wrote a letter to Gen Musharraf in which I informed him that if anything happens to me as a result of these attacks, then I will neither nominate the Afghan Taliban, nor Al Qaeda, not even Pakistani Taliban or the fourth group. I will nominate those people who, I believe, mislead the people. I have spelt out names of such people in the letter,” she said. “I have named three people, and more, in that letter to Gen Musharraf. I have named certain people with a view to the attack that took place yesterday so that if I was assassinated, who should be investigated.”

Ms Bhutto pointed the finger at government officials who she said were sympathetic to the militants and were abusing their powers to advance their cause. one of those named in the letter was Ijaz Shah, the director general of the Intelligence Bureau, another of the country’s intelligence agencies and a close associate of General Musharraf. Recently, the three member commission grilled the former IB Chief Ejaz Shah over his sketchy record. Former Pakistan Premier Benazir Bhutto named four well-known persons, including Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi and former ISI chief Hamid Gul, as those who pose a threat to her life in a letter to President Pervez Musharraf.

The UN team today met President Asif Ali Zardari. The President has expressed the urge of the people of Pakistan to come to a conclusion reagarding the assasination of Benazir Bhutto. Columnists, TV Anchors and analysts have observed a complete blackout of this issue. As the UN Team comes close to submiting it’s findings by 31st of March this Year, the non-state actors are baffled.

Extraordinary hue and cry particularly directed towards the Presidency and the elected Legislatures is very alarming. Elements sitting in the Military Establishment are struggling to take the country towards anarchy, which can undoubtedly be equated to the results of UN Commission findings into Benazir Bhutto’s assasination. As the noose tightens, we can expect a fatal blow. Watch out Pakistan.



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