Benazir assassination case: Musharraf’s extradition to be sought following warrant

Published: February 13, 2011

The Rawalpindi Anti-Terrorism Court on Saturday issued the arrest warrant for former President Pervez Musharraf in the Benazir Bhutto assassination case. PHOTO: REUTERS

RAWALPINDI/ISLAMABAD: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has announced that it will seek the extradition of former President Pervez Musharraf after his refusal to appear before a Rawalpindi court on charges that he had failed to provide adequate security to former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

“We have decided to write to the home secretary of the UK for General Musharraf’s extradition,” said a senior official of FIA on condition of anonymity. The decision was taken after a meeting on Saturday chaired by Interior Minister Rehman Malik.

Earlier on Saturday, an anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi issued a warrant for the arrest of the former president after the special prosecutor handling the case alleged that Musharraf had not been  cooperating with the investigation into the assassination of Ms Benazir Bhutto.

Later, a spokesperson for Musharraf’s new political party – the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) – said the former president would not be returning to Pakistan following the issuance of the arrest warrant. He also challenged the basis of the allegations against his party leader.

“How can the president of a country be made responsible for the non-provision of security?” asked Fawad Chaudhry, spokesman for the APML. “It is totally ridiculous. You cannot pin criminal responsibility on a president for that.”

Barrister Saif Ali Khan, the former president’s legal advisor, said that his client would contest the charges against him in court.

Pakistan and Britain do not have a formal extradition treaty, which is likely to make the process complicated, said Salman Akram Raja, a legal expert. Ultimately, the extradition request will depend upon relevant British laws, he added.

The prosecution, meanwhile, seems to be dealing with its own issues, including a change of guard at the helm of its team.

The interior minister has appointed Director FIA Wajid Zia as the new head of the team investigating the former premier’s murder. Zia replaced Khalid Qureshi who will leave this week for a seniority course at the Lahore Staff College to qualify as an Additional Inspector General of Police.

However some observers believe that the government was unhappy with Qureshi because he implicated Musharraf without taking the interior minister on board and revealed his findings in court. They also criticised Rehman Malik’s decision to appoint a junior official to head the JIT, fearing it might slow down the momentum of the investigation.

While the prosecution does not allege any direct conspiracy between Baitullah Mehsud, the former leader of the Pakistani Taliban, and former President Musharraf, it names both as jointly responsible for Bhutto’s death.

“Musharraf was equally responsible for facilitation and complicitiy in the assassination of Ms Benazir Bhutto through failure in providing her the requisite security  that her status demanded as a twice-elected premier,” said a 57-page report submitted by the prosecution to the court.

According the prosecution, the former president was aware of the imminent danger to former Prime Minister Bhutto’s life but did not take enough actions to prevent her assassination. The prosecution also alleges that, in an e-mail he sent to the former premier, Musharraf linked the degree of security the government would provide Bhutto with her political cooperation to his efforts to stay in power after the 2008 elections.

Of particular concern to investigators is a meeting that took place immediately after the assassination on 27 December 2007 in which the former president allegedly gave orders for a government denial of responsibility to be issued. The prosecution claims that the government had determined the cause of the former premier’s death before it had received any autopsy reports. WITH ADDITIONAL REPORTING FROM AFP

Published in The Express Tribune, February 13th, 2011.

Reader Comments (24)

  • Clean Pakistan
    Feb 13, 2011 - 10:06AM

    I am not pro-Mushy, but the timing raises the question, is this all a diversion to shift people’s attention from the Raymond Davis case? Hope not.Recommend

  • salim
    Feb 13, 2011 - 10:36AM

    Indeed, very ridiculous charges. A case of victamisation.Recommend

  • Habibullah
    Feb 13, 2011 - 11:20AM

    PPP and PMLn have to come out with better ideas to malign our great leader. Both parties are so afraid of Musharraf’s popularity and the respect he enjoys all over the world. These childish tactics will be counterproductive for both the loot parties. Musharraf will definately come to take part in politics. Long live Musharraf.Recommend

  • Sharjeel Jawaid
    Feb 13, 2011 - 11:32AM

    Dear General / See what NRO has done to you. You thought you were securing your future!Recommend

  • imtiaz
    Feb 13, 2011 - 11:45AM

    It seems the days are numbered for this government. Its like all the donkeys telling each others that they are lions. Ms firdoos will be in PMLn during next five years. She who used to say that she is part of choudry pervez elahi’s harawal dasta. what a joke. Recommend

  • baber amin
    Feb 13, 2011 - 12:21PM

    the history of bigot gernales had not been marked with justice spot last 6 decades,weather he was tekka khan yahya khan ayoub khan niazi or zia who destorted the history with impunity and sought shelter to their masters,however musharraf is their producer will not be bring to justice,beacuse law is blind.Recommend

  • Q
    Feb 13, 2011 - 1:07PM

    The charge is ridiculous and politically motivated. The ex-President has nothing to do with Benazir’s murder whatsoever. Were there are any arrest warrants issued against Benazir for Murtaza Bhutto’s murder? None. In so many other examples that can be quoted here. This does not make sense. Long Live PM.Recommend

  • parvez
    Feb 13, 2011 - 1:41PM

    Musharraf has been given a golden opportunity to redeem his smeared image in the eyes of the people. Alas he has learnt nothing from his blunders during his eight years in complete power.
    Its was easy to be brave when you had an army of half a million behind you. How you behave now is what matters. Recommend

  • Amer
    Feb 13, 2011 - 5:08PM

    This is a gloden oppertunity for Mush to come to Pakistan and clear his name, launch his political career as a politician rather then a dictator but I would be surprised if he makes any sense in anything he does…. once a tyrant …will always be the same! Recommend

  • Zafar
    Feb 13, 2011 - 5:28PM

    Beyond Ridiculous!!! Does this special prosecutor believe that it’s the President’s job to organize the security of various VIPs? It’s quite obvious that this is in preparation for the next election to discredit Pervez Musharraf. The PPP government has nothing to show for in the murder investigation of BB after being in power for nearly 3 years!!

    Jiyalas should ask the current leadership what is being done to catch the real killers of BB! But then again the PPP has a history of forgetting their fallen leaders who loyally served the party and put up with all sorts of brutality inflicted upon them for the sake of the party.

    What a sad state of affairs!!Recommend

  • salim
    Feb 13, 2011 - 5:44PM

    @Amer:

    He will definitely avail the opportunity to clear his name. His people have said so over the last couple of days on tv.Recommend

  • rehan
    Feb 13, 2011 - 7:28PM

    Come and face the courts..Mr.MUSH!!!! wasn’t it your famous dialogue..,:Mein kisi se nahin darta!!”Recommend

  • arastu
    Feb 13, 2011 - 9:05PM

    Musharaf held absolute powers for over 8 years and when he got threatened by the hugely popular Bhutto he had every reason to get rid of her. As for Evidence someone very high up and close to him apparently gave instuctions for the washing of the murder site of all evidence. ( as reported by UN investigation team). He is asuspect and should have never been allowed to leave.Recommend

  • arsalan
    Feb 14, 2011 - 12:50AM

    What a Politics or Dirty Politics…..

    Divert attention of people from Raymond Davis Case.
    Deflate the upcoming APML strength.

    – Point finger towards the Army and becoming an innocent party (PPP).

    Today – People of Pak are much informed and educated.
    Recommend

  • Feb 14, 2011 - 2:26AM

    Hidden fear of both ruling parties has come out.Both PPP and PML N are afraid of MUSH’s popularity. They are trying to keep MUSH out of next electionsRecommend

  • MOZ
    Feb 14, 2011 - 3:13AM

    The only legitimate case against Musharraf is Nov 3rd, the rest are bogus cases. I am no lawyer, but even I can defend other cases. Recommend

  • Feb 14, 2011 - 3:33AM

    PPP reminding the nation of the assasination, ‘trying’ to tell the nation they ARE doing something now that the next general elections are near. Just another round of the sympathy votes game. Nothing else. Recommend

  • Shahzaib Syed
    Feb 14, 2011 - 3:43AM

    well something i want to mention here if Government release Ray there is a possible chance of Anarchy in country and if they do not then this Mr Zardari can not hold his position for more then 6 months and in situation like this white house will contact their most trusted allies in Pakistan and the most eligible person to say YES with white house policies is no other then MR Musharaf and this time he is coming with what your so called democratic way. Pakistan Two bigs shots Political parties are just using this propagandistic to make him unpopular in masses. Else looking at ground realities everyone knows where MR Nawaz Shareef and MR Zardari would have been if bibi is allowed Recommend

  • Raza
    Feb 14, 2011 - 6:56AM

    While he did some good some bad. Gen Musharraf should however come and face the court of law….no exceptions…no sacred cows.Recommend

  • Shahryar Ahmed
    Feb 14, 2011 - 12:58PM

    What can be expected out of the present judicial setup. I am not surprised a bit. Cases against the Sharif Brothers either have been squashed or put on hold by the so called judiciary & charges trumped up against Musharraf.

    What a drama by the Judicial set up, no one has looked at the references filled against the un-corruptible CJP, how he moved his son in 3 different government agencies in 6 months & how he cheated on the fuel slips.

    All Hail Dependent Judiciary!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Recommend

  • Adi
    Feb 14, 2011 - 3:06PM

    OK…give it a try…you have lost your FM partly due to the issue…the whole govt will be gone if they proceed further…Recommend

  • Iqbal Butt
    Feb 19, 2011 - 9:22PM

    @Shahryar Ahmed – I will not be surprised if SC passes an order for the 180 million prople of Pakistan to vote for PMLNRecommend

  • salim
    Feb 20, 2011 - 12:07PM

    @Iqbal Butt:
    That might just happen!!! :)Recommend

  • Wasil Arain
    Mar 10, 2011 - 12:53AM

    Mush is a coward as he showed by lying down on a one call from US after 9/11/2001. He will try his utmost to avoid facing charges in Pakistani courts.

    It will be a good omen for the country and democracy if he is brought back and tried not only for the role in the assisination of BIBI, but also for a number of other crimes committed by him. Recommend

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