Benazir Bhutto assassination case: JIT complete report

Published: February 21, 2012

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) despite a lapse of four years has not succeeded in recording the statements of those considered to be important in the investigation of the Benazir Bhutto assassination case.

LAHORE: Four years on, the  Federal Investigation Agency (FIA)  has been unable to record statements of those considered crucial in the Benazir Bhutto assassination probe, while it has also been revealed that former president Pervez Musharraf’s regime was aware of the assassination plan, sources have said.

The Scotland Yard report states that one suicide bomber was involved in the assassination, while the FIA report says two suicide bombers identified as Saeed and Bilal were part of the attack. DNA reports have confirmed the FIA’s stance.

Sources also revealed that when former capital city police officer (CCPO) Rawalpindi Saud Aziz was arrested, he had sent a message to the Presidency that if legal heirs pardoned him, he would reveal the real conspirators behind the incident. After a go-ahead had been given by the Presidency, Saud Aziz backed out from his commitment three days later.

President Asif Ali Zardari had also asked the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to reach the ‘logical end’ and ‘real facts’ regarding the assassination, and summon anyone they required. Zardari had also said that he was available himself, sources said.

Planning the assassination

The attack had been planned in Akora Khattak by former students of Madrassa Darul Uloom Haqqania and one of the prime suspects in the case has revealed to investigators that Bhutto had been targeted due to her stance over the Lal Masjid Operation.

An Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) official confirms in the report that he had recorded a telephonic conversation in which Baitullah Mehsud had issued instructions to some of the arrested terrorists to assassinate Bhutto. However, the ISI had refused to appear before the court, saying that the CD regarding the telephonic conversation had been prepared by the Intelligence Bureau (IB).

Darul Uloom Haqqania

The report revealed that in May 2010, a special FIA team had visited Darul Uloom Haqqania in Akora Khattak.

In-charge of the seminary confirmed that accused Abdullah alias Sadam, Nadir alias Qari Ismael, Rashid Ahmed alias Rahim Tarabi and Fiaz Muhammad alias Kiskat were former students of that madrassa.

Assassination

According to phone records, Saeed alias Bilal, Akramullah and Qari Ismael reached Rawalpindi on December 26, 2007, at about 9pm.

They were picked up by accused Rafaqat and Hassnain and taken to Rafaqat’s house in Quaid-e-Azam Colony at 12am.

The next day, the terrorists visited Liaquat Bagh, and the planned route of Benazir Bhutto’s convoy. They then went to Hassnain’s house in Shah Jayyona Colony and obtained suicide jackets and weapons, JIT report further revealed.

The FIA had recorded the statement of Brigadier Javed Iqbal Cheema, the then Director General (DG) of the National Crisis Management Cell (NCMC), who conducted a press conference 24 hours after the incident. The statements of then DG ISI Lt. General Nadeem Taj, his staff officer and then DG Military Intelligence (MI) Nadeem Ijaz statements were not recorded.

Brigadier Cheema in his statement before the JIT categorically held former president Pervez Musharraf responsible for his premature press conference on the investigation of the case and stated that under his (former president) orders and clear cut instructions, he (Cheema) held the press conference on December 28, 2007, on the  investigation of the case in Rawalpindi without consulting the Punjab Government, while the Punjab government had yet to notify the JIT on December 31, 2007. “It shows that as president, he was the single source of authority in the country,” states the report.

The meeting at the President’s Camp Office in Rawalpindi was also confirmed by former DG IB Ejaz Shah in his statement to the JIT. The report states that the former president ordered the hasty press conference with the motive to influence the police investigation. It says the then prime minister, Punjab chief minister and the provincial police had not been consulted.

It is also evident from this pre-investigation press conference that former president Pervez Musharraf had prior knowledge of the assassination of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto by accused Baitullah Mehsud and withheld this vital information of a conspiracy.

The role of former president Pervez Musharraf

The report contains “overwhelming circumstantial evidence” that Musharraf would be the main beneficiary from the removal of Bhutto and her party’s failure during the elections without her leadership.

It says that Musharraf’s government had ordered VVIP security to two former prime ministers – Shaukat Aziz and Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain – but had deliberately denied the same to Bhutto despite repeated requests.

Thus an insecure environment was intentionally created to ensure elimination of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto by terrorists. This security lapse by then president Pervez Musharraf is totally inexcusable particularly after the twin suicide attacks on Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto in Karachi on October 18, 2007.

In this background, JIT has examined and evaluated all the relevant evidence. On the basis of available evidence, JIT is of the firm opinion that already established security breach and destruction of evidence on the day of assassination by then CPO accused Saud Aziz and SP accused Khurram Shahzad is not accidental criminal negligence but apparently is part of a wider conspiracy to eliminate Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto from the political scene before the elections.

It was found that Saud Aziz  in September 2007 posted as regional police officer (RPO) Gujranwala of five districts manipulated under clandestine circumstances his posting to a junior assignment of CPO Rawalpindi, which itself is indicative of his mense rea and about his involvement in the conspiracy of assassination of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. Even after assassination in spite of his criminal security failure, accused Saud Aziz was kept posted in Rawalpindi till April 2008 in order to cover-up his own misdeeds and to mislead and impede investigations. The conduct of then CPO Rawalpindi and then president after the assassination is also suspicious and suggests a deliberate cover up on their part. For instance, neither any departmental nor any judicial inquiry was ordered by any government nor any police officer was awarded even a minor punishment by the then CPO or the governments. This is uniquely strange because police officers in routine are severely punished for ordinary failures and lapses under Police Order, 2002, Police Act, and E & D Rules, 1973. It is clearly evident that conspirators had assurances and support of the then president.

The report states that the public gathering scheduled for December 17 had been cancelled as a result of the report of an intelligence agency that had revealed three terrorists had entered Islamabad to assassinate Bhutto, but the interior secretary had not paid any special attention to the report and had forwarded it to the heads of the police and other law enforcement agencies as per routine.

During the course of investigation, it has been gathered that there was a broad based conspiracy to assassinate Benazir Bhutto during her election campaign. The actual terrorist attack was carried out by terrorists based in Waziristan, whereas, former president Musharraf and two police officers have aided and abetted the terrorists through their series of criminal acts attributed to them and narrated above.

JIT has found that CPO Syed Saud Aziz deliberately avoided to conduct the post mortem in an attempt to obstruct and impede investigation. In this regard statement of Prosecution Witness Professor Dr Mussadaq has been recorded U/s 164 Cr.Pc. CPO Saud Aziz in his statement before JIT tried to shift this legal responsibility but JIT finds his explanation as implausible and untenable.

Both Police officers Saud Aziz and Khurram Shahzad were asked certain material questions to unearth the conspiracy concerning deliberate breach of security ,non-conducting of postmortem and destruction of evidence by washing of crime scene in haste but both accused did not co-operate with JIT and purposely with held the material information/facts.

The report further revealed that the federal government had failed to provide high level security despite Benazir’s repeated requests and material that indicated her life was under threat from al Qaeda and the Taliban.

According to the text of the JIT report obtained by The Express Tribune, the attack was planned in Akora Khatak by former students of Madrassa Darul Uloom Haqqania.

The JIT report alleges that Inspector Kashif Riaz who was the then station house officer (SHO) of City Police Station Rawalpindi, “intentionally” did not complete the autopsies of 24 people who were killed in the incident along with Bhutto.

The team further alleges that Superintendent of Police (SP) Ashfaq Ahmed who had been deputed at Liaquat Bagh on security duty that day went on a highway patrol instead along with other police personnel and later tampered with the case records.

The FIA team has also alleged that Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Khuram Ishtiaq attempted to destroy the circumstantial evidence when he ordered police to hose down the crime scene.

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Reader Comments (40)

  • Feb 21, 2012 - 5:31PM

    Noway this case is being politicized for election campaign

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  • Javed
    Feb 21, 2012 - 5:34PM

    How else could have Zardari come to power?

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  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Feb 21, 2012 - 5:35PM

    Those who are still at large including the former President Musharraf should be issued through Interpol for his arrest and to bring him to trail in Pakistan.

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  • Aqm Haider
    Feb 21, 2012 - 5:36PM

    Best of luck to Musharraf in returning back to Pakistan !

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  • Chilli
    Feb 21, 2012 - 5:39PM

    A Fairy tale released… perhaps better that Harry Potter..

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  • Sayed Aasim Jawaid
    Feb 21, 2012 - 5:52PM

    It’s all the bit and pieces which we have read time in time in newspapers, nothing new……..

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  • Noor
    Feb 21, 2012 - 5:54PM

    It is against the rules of pattans and balochs to murder women and childere, I dont know abt others. And Masud said that himself.

    Lal masjid stance per maarna tha us ko tho pir tho Mehsud shud have started with Q league as they were in power tat time and did not do any thing to stop it. Benazir bechari ka wo stand tho just US ko khush karney aur power mey aanay k leye tha.

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  • Salahuddin
    Feb 21, 2012 - 5:54PM

    No-more stories, we need material actions against planners, executers, helpers of BB’s murder. Try them and punish them as per law. It will be great to hang them all in Liaqat Bagh, if the law of the land permits.

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  • Roflcopter
    Feb 21, 2012 - 5:59PM

    The main beneficiary of her assassination is Zardari not Musharraf.

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  • salim
    Feb 21, 2012 - 6:01PM

    This briefing was an excellent attempt at a cover up!

    On Khalid Shahenshah’s mysterious murder – nothing!

    On PPP’s internal security of which there was none – nothing

    On Rehman Malik’s and Babar Awan’s mysterious dash immediately after the bombing – nothing

    On DIGI ISI’s late night visit a day before to inform BB of numerous threats to her life–nothing

    Note PPP Govt does not own Scotland Yard’s and UN report (which they themselves called for and paid millions of dollars of tax payers money).

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  • Feb 21, 2012 - 6:11PM

    We all know who got the biggest advantage from the assassination of Ms. Bhutto.

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  • AntiKingClass
    Feb 21, 2012 - 6:11PM

    Musharraf handed over the Presidency to Zardari..Taliban could never be the beneficiaries..It’s simple and clear..So must not waste time discussing BB’s murder..

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  • Nasir
    Feb 21, 2012 - 6:20PM

    VVIP security does not mean anything – look what happened to the Sri Lankan cricketers who were told they had VVIP security – the fact is until you remove the mullah’s ideology and stop sowing the seeds of hate in society there will be no peace in Pakistan
    I am dismayed when I see ministers attending rallies and conferences of banned groups in Pakistan – WHAT A JOKE

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  • Feb 21, 2012 - 6:22PM

    Nation Want the murders of Benazir, not this kind of reports

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  • Pinky
    Feb 21, 2012 - 6:32PM

    guys, you can speculate about the involvement of zardari all you want but the fact is that not even a shred of evidence exists against him..NOT EVEN CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE...so you want the JIT to go ahead and arrest him, just because you dont like the guy??? yeah, because thats how law works…gut feelings, fantasies, allegations, speculations…

    Cui bono?you say?,yes, after her death Zardari became president but that doesnt automatically make him the murderer….motives come in many forms, and BB was a leader with loads of enemies.

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  • Zak
    Feb 21, 2012 - 6:40PM

    100% agreed with salim! BB murder 1st cover up!
    2nd cover up- the memo case!
    People to get a fair trial in pakistan you must get rid of these protectors of crime and vote for people who talk about issues other than being ‘shaheed or ghazi’. Read some islamic history and please understand the type of people who used be shaheed and ghazi! Unserious attitude and people!

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  • Pinky
    Feb 21, 2012 - 6:40PM

    as for the integrity of the officer in charge of the investigation, let there be no doubt that he is one of the most honest police officers around!!

    Dawn, one of the most reliable newspapers of pakistan had this to say about him_“the incumbent head of the JIT — Khalid Qureshi, an independent-minded grade 20 officer of good reputation

    another major Urdu newspaper paid tribute to his moral uprightness in the following news item.
    http://jang.com.pk/jang/feb2011-daily/15-02-2011/main3.htm

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  • Feb 21, 2012 - 6:44PM

    But Musharaf must brought back to Pakistan for his criminal and anti-pakistani policies

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  • Zak
    Feb 21, 2012 - 6:49PM

    For people saying BB was killed so pp would be leaderless, remember Musharraf advised our not to come before the elections! She could have campaigned outside Pakistan like mqm does and manages!

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  • Cautious
    Feb 21, 2012 - 6:51PM

    The govt has had this information for a long time and has made no attempt at negotiating an extradition treaty — that may imply that the govt has no interest in bringing Mushy back +/or it just doesn’t want to have a treaty that can be used to bring them back to face justice when they eventually flee the country.

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  • Khan Jr
    Feb 21, 2012 - 6:59PM

    Ah…people forget so quickly. It was initially only whoMusharraf benefited from Benazir’s murder. But just like his ‘brilliance’ at Kargil, it all backfired for him. It is likely he thought:
    1. Benazir’s party would break in to pieces without a Bhutto to lead it.
    2. The elections would be postponed due the ‘mayhem’ that followed her death. As eyewitnesses reported a lot of the chaos was not due to crazed jiyalas but orchestrated from mysterious quarters.

    At the time of Benazir’s assasination Zardari was no more than a ‘nursemaid’ for her children. Cunning and street smart as he is, as the PPP leaders wandered headless in a daze, Zardari took charge as the widower-in-chief’.

    The question Who killed Benazir? can be answered by posing another question: Why did Mush’s nephew-in-law. who was then DG MI and an ardent ‘hawk’, order the police chief to wash away all the forensic evidence?

    .

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  • Mirza
    Feb 21, 2012 - 7:00PM

    To all the people who are making the victim the killers, there is important question.
    What is our suo motu PCO SC doing about finding the real killer?
    When on BB’s last death aniversary Zardari demanded SC move on this case, why did they not move and arrested PPP’s top leadership if they were the killers?
    When BB was brutally murdered Mush and ISI chief Kayni were running the country. Why are they quiet? Were they just puppets in the hands of PPP killers? Was PPP running the country in the days of Mush? Were Zardari and Gillani in jail for over a decade while running the govt of Mush?
    The point is from the surrender of East Pakistan, to Kargil, to Abbottabad, to Mehran Base it is never the ruling generals but the big bad elected leaders. Yet when it suits the army they can easily overthrow and hang these big powerful leaders.

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  • Frustrated
    Feb 21, 2012 - 7:05PM

    Benazir’s cold blooded murder is regrettable, but she was no inspiring personality either. A selfish and egoistic person, she harbored and encouraged corruption, the fruit of which we are condemned to eat now. She never fulfilled any of her promises and was running on adhocism.
    Any way, we wish her murderers are brought to book, as that is requirement of justice.

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  • FJ
    Feb 21, 2012 - 7:17PM

    aaah…I miss her :(

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  • mani
    Feb 21, 2012 - 7:38PM

    In election year… just to get sympathy vote by bringing report or defying court

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  • Akhtar
    Feb 21, 2012 - 7:41PM

    BB was a great leader & was brutally murdered! Only in this wretched land that no one, will ever be held responsible. Kargil war, BB murder, no one resigned. Abbottabad raid, PNS attack, GHQ raid not a single officer resigned, but for memo gate Haqqani has resigned! So, the politicians are better.

    Our army can’t fight wars, even a single one, all they can do is real estate, marriage halls, popcorn,IPad business.

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  • hamza khan
    Feb 21, 2012 - 8:02PM

    nonsense and more nonsense from the PPP government.

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  • whatever
    Feb 21, 2012 - 8:16PM

    She was against ISI, Pak Army and Taliban. Trust me if she had been Prime Minister, she would have sold our nuclear programme for pennies. Long Live Pakistan, Long Live ISI, Long Live Pak Army.

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  • uH
    Feb 21, 2012 - 8:18PM

    I believe that there are at least two inaccuracies in the JIT report:

    1) ‘“overwhelming circumstantial evidence” that Musharraf would be the main beneficiary from the removal of Bhutto and her party’s failure during the elections without her leadership.’
    We all know who the biggest beneficiary of BB’s death was.

    2) “JIT has found that CPO Syed Saud Aziz deliberately avoided to conduct the post mortem in an attempt to obstruct and impede investigation.”
    If my memory serves me correctly, it were BB’s legal heirs who prevented her autopsy from being conducted.

    Just food for thought…

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  • Feb 21, 2012 - 8:27PM

    No doubt, conspiracy was hatched and she was killed by conspirators.
    Record and reports shows some concerned quarters disliked her due to
    her American Agenda but there is no any documentary evidence on the
    record to prove Musharraf’s involvement in the assassination directly or
    indirectly.
    He is innocent,absolutely innocent.The case is being politicized by some
    concerned quarters.the fact is that some high ups has lost their sight in revenge
    and trying to trap the former president.

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  • Feb 21, 2012 - 9:07PM

    She was informed not come to Pakistan because her life might be at risk
    in the first instance.
    In Karachi,she took out a huge procession and insurgents under a planed
    conspiracy,targeted her but Allah Almighty saved her life.
    It was enough to see a head but she didn’t care and proceeded to Islamabad.
    where tragic incident happened.

    Local and foreign investigating teams arrived,investigated the unfortunate incident
    but failed to rightly come to conclusion.

    But it was opened to all,she was assassinated by insurgents.As for as local involvement is concerned,it is wrong absolutely wrong.
    Some characters at the time of incident made them doubtful nut overlooked,why?

    Musharraf,name is being taken deliberately and wrongfully.The fact is that he is not involved in the crime.

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  • Feb 21, 2012 - 9:19PM

    People are talking about him,
    people are pointing to the name,
    it is very hard to understand,
    because he was not in the country at the time of occurrence,
    so wrong,absolutely wrong.

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  • The Baloch
    Feb 21, 2012 - 9:47PM

    Now that Musharaf is involved in murder or nawab akbar bugti and benazir bhutto he should be arrested through interpol and tried in courts and set the example for future dictators.

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  • Salman Orangiwala
    Feb 21, 2012 - 9:56PM

    A “fact finding reprot” by the (in) famous JIT .LMAO ………………………….

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  • Torrent
    Feb 21, 2012 - 10:44PM

    People need to understand that Rehman Malik did not volunteer to present this report, he was repeatedly asked by the Sindh Assembly to do so. I am speculating a gulf in PPP, this report was very unsatisfactory as far as the people of Pakistan are concerned.

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  • John
    Feb 21, 2012 - 11:32PM

    Well BB was supposed to be inside her moving bomb proof and bullet proof vehicle not outside. Only the parameter of her Jalsa had some element of security. A moving convoy is very difficult to protect unless the road is lined with alert and armed men. lastly the sun roof was a local modification in the b6 level bullet proof vehicle against all the rules. The sun roof was incredibly heavy and closed like a lid. Result the suicide bomber missed 3 shots aimed at BB but unfortunately the shock wave from the blast knocked down the lid with force and the protruding steel handle hit BB in the head or or her head hit the sides of the sun roof with fatal force. Only if Mr Zardari had allowed an impartial autopsy at the time there woul have been no doubt on the cause of death.

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  • Feb 22, 2012 - 12:15AM

    People need to understand that Rehman Malik did not volunteer to present this report, he was repeatedly asked by the Sindh Assembly to do so

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  • Danish
    Feb 22, 2012 - 12:54AM

    Very biased report because I very much remember that it was Zardari who did not allowed the autopsy of Benazir’s body. It was all over media. Secondly if you are blaming security collapse over Musharraf without any solid evidence than Zardari should also be held responsible for security collpse of Samlan Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti.

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  • Nadeem
    Feb 22, 2012 - 9:37AM

    Another cooked story.

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  • Bhuley Shah
    Feb 22, 2012 - 3:32PM

    You hanged shaheed ZAB, thinking that PPP will vanish,- it did not!, you killed BB, again wrong thinking.
    Learn to trust in ordinary people and your thinking will change. Playing dirty games (Politcs) and building Dhas, Nhs and scores of housing societes and running bizness will do no good to people or their country.

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