Well, we knew from the outset that the United Nations report on the assassination of a former two-term prime minister would not reveal the ‘who’ of the matter, or even the ‘why’, but only the facts that could be gleaned by the members of the inquiry commission. The ‘who’ was reportedly known, as the president of the Republic, husband of the slain Benazir Bhutto, had already told the world many moons ago from Naudero that he knew the murderer, or assassin, or whatever, so he presumably revealed the secret to the members of the commission.
We the people, silly old us, for reasons best known to Asif Zardari and the commission, cannot be told. So we continue to speculate, to listen to rumours which we accept or reject. Now, the first question asked in any murder enquiry, anywhere in the world, is ‘Qui bono?’ The commission has not touched upon the aspect of the beneficiaries of Benazir’s elimination, and to any thinking mind there are quite a few hanging around, much in evidence.
The main beneficiaries are those who would not have been in her third-term power circle (apart, of course, from the man responsible for her security, brought with her to guard her life and limb, the charming Rehman Malik of the disappearing black Mercedes fame).
The theory that former military dictator, General Pervez Musharraf, now held responsible for all the ills visited upon Pakistan and its people for the past two years, ills that have endured and survived his own political demise, was the man behind the assassination, on careful reflection, should not hold much water. Musharraf had done a ‘deal’ with the western powers and Benazir, and disgraced himself and his country by inflicting upon the ‘deal’ the disgusting NRO. The ‘deal’ assured him of some five years in power as an elected president with BB as his prime minister. He trusted both western powers and BB. Why would he rock his own boat, or kill the golden goose that had laid him a golden egg? It doesn’t make sense.
He had no guarantee that he could trust her replacement. That it turned out to be Zardari must have come as an immense shock to him because trust and AZ do not exactly gel.
And the ‘establishment’ which has been harshly dealt with by the UN report was very much a party to the ‘deal’ since our present army chief, General Ashfaq Kayani (then head spook), was one of Musharraf’s chief negotiators — with the Americans, British and Rehman Malik on the other side. Of course, millions of fingers can be pointed at the ‘establishment’ for what it did and did not do. With numerous charges flying around, it is high time that our dear president came clean and divulged the identity of the killer so that speculations cease.
Where Zardari could also be highly useful is in the matter of why and how it came about that the scene of the crime was hosed down almost immediately and cleared of much evidence. In September 1996 he was a senator and a minister in his wife’s second government when Murtaza Bhutto was gunned down in Karachi. The scene of that crime was also immediately hosed and cleansed. Zardari was in a position to know what the compelling reasons are in such cases for swift elimination of evidence. He could have helped explain matters to the commission and thus cut down their running round in circles.
Now we come to the vehicle in which Benazir was transported that fateful December day. Reportedly it was bomb-proof and bullet-proof, specially acquired for her by her party. Usually such vehicles do not have what is known as emergency escape hatches — they are optional and provided in special cases. Was it really wise, knowing Benazir, to have one installed?
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