A voice from the past

Published: February 6, 2011
Benazir had spoken of growing extremism as the main threat to her life.

Benazir had spoken of growing extremism as the main threat to her life.

The discovery, three years after her assassination, of two BlackBerry phones used by Benazir Bhutto during the last days of her life adds a new saga to the story. Material retrieved from the sets, found from Bilawal House, includes some 32 text messages and emails sent by her in the weeks before she was murdered. It is assumed that the FIA forensic team will also have obtained a record of phone calls made using the devices. The development could bring forth important new evidence in a case that remains shadowed by all kinds of doubts and mysteries.

The theme that seems to be emerging from the BlackBerry data echoes much of what we have heard in the past. Benazir was deeply anxious about her security and had messaged Pakistan’s ambassador to the US, pointing out her desire to convey her fears to the US administration. She had written in much the same vein to friends in the international media.

It is perhaps significant that in these haunting messages from the past, Benazir had spoken of growing extremism as the main threat to her life. This falls in line with most versions we have heard regarding the events that took place at Liaquat Bagh on that wintery night on December 27, 2007. Of course, it cannot be denied that the failure of the Musharraf administration to provide her with adequate security led to her death. Perhaps there is need to look at the matter in a little more depth. Given the time lag between Benazir’s killing and the discovery of the phones from her family home, the possibility of some kind of tampering should not be ruled out. We hope FIA experts will also look into this. But the messages from the phones could offer new leads into the assassination. The historic nature of the messages may also be significant, and we hope that after a suitable time, these will be made public for all to access.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 7th, 2011.

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