After 14 years, Benazir Bhutto’s assassination still remains a mystery

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Benazir Bhutto
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New Delhi–Despite a lapse of 14 years, the mystery surrounding the assassination of former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who was murdered after addressing an election rally in Rawalpindis Liaquat Bagh, is yet to be solved, and the case is still pending in the Lahore High Courts (LHC) Rawalpindi bench, Express Tribune reported.

Twenty party workers were killed and 71 others were seriously injured in the attack on the former Pakistan premier.

In the aftermath of the incident, four inquiries were conducted into the high-profile case with the police joint investigation team (JIT), the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), the United Nations (UN) and Scotland Yard striving to solve the matter.

However, these inquiries and investigations yielded no results as the Bhutto family did not pursue the case in the special anti-terrorism court (ATC), the report said.

A total of 12 challans were filed in this case, 355 appearances were recorded, 10 judges were changed and 141 witnesses, including 68 prosecution witnesses, were testified. Sixteen people were accused in the case, but only eight of them were arrested.

The main accused, Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud, was killed in a drone strike. Five other accused – Nadir Khan alias Qari, Nasrullah, Abdullah alias Saddam, Ikramullah and Faiz Muhammad Kaskat – were also killed in encounters with intelligence agencies at different places.

The suicide bomber who attacked the former Prime Minister was identified as Saeed Blakel, who died in the blast. The police arrested five accused, Aitzaz Shah, Sher Zaman, Rashid Ahmed, Rafaqat and Hasnain Gul.

The FIA also arrested then Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf, former city police officer (CPO) Saud Aziz and superintendent of police (SP) Rawal Khurram Shehzad as accused in the case. However, they were later granted bail by the high court.

On August 31, 2017, Judge Muhammad Asghar Khan of the special ATC pronounced the verdict after nine years, acquitting five accused, and declaring Musharraf as a fugitive on absenteeism, and issued permanent arrest warrants, besides confiscating his movable and immovable property, the report said. (IANS)

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