Investigation report: ‘Musharraf aided and abetted terrorists’

Published: February 22, 2012
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The fact that no departmental or judicial inquiry was ordered by any government post Benazir’s assassination makes it “clearly evident that conspirators had assurances and support of the then-president [Musharraf],” the report concludes. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

The fact that no departmental or judicial inquiry was ordered by any government post Benazir’s assassination makes it “clearly evident that conspirators had assurances and support of the then-president [Musharraf],” the report concludes. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

LAHORE: 

Former president Pervez Musharraf was not only aware of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination plan, he ‘aided and abetted’ the terrorists who carried it out, says a joint investigation report made public on Tuesday by Interior Minister Rehman Malik.

The report concludes, on the basis of ‘overwhelming circumstantial evidence,’ that Musharraf would have been the main beneficiary from the elimination of Benazir and her party’s failure during the 2008 elections, without her leadership.

Musharraf’s government deliberately denied VVIP security to Benazir, despite repeated requests, the report says.

“Thus an insecure environment was intentionally created to ensure elimination of Benazir Bhutto by terrorists,” it adds.

Police officials responsible

The report also blames the two accused police officials – former city police officer Saud Aziz and former superintendent police Khurram Shahzad – for being part of “a wider conspiracy to eliminate Benazir from the political scene before elections.”

“Aziz deliberately avoided conducting the post mortem, in an attempt to obstruct and impede investigation,” according to the report, which adds that it found Aziz’s statement to the joint investigation team whereby he “tried to shift this legal responsibility … implausible and untenable.”

The “already-established security breach and destruction of evidence on the day of assassination … is not accidental criminal negligence,” the report says.

The report finds Aziz to have “manipulated, under clandestine circumstances” his posting to a junior assignment in September 2007 – from regional police officer Gujranwala to city police officer Rawalpindi.

This is “indicative of his involvement in the conspiracy of Benazir’s assassination,” the report says.

Despite his “criminal security failure, accused Aziz was kept posted in Rawalpindi till April 2008 in order to cover up his own misdeeds and to mislead and impede investigations,” the report asserts.

The fact that no departmental or judicial inquiry was ordered by any government post Benazir’s assassination makes it “clearly evident that conspirators had assurances and support of the then-president [Musharraf],” the report concludes.

Hasty press conference

The report establishes, through officials’ statements, that Musharraf was responsible for the ‘premature’ press conference by the then-Director General (DG) of the National Crisis Management Cell Brigadier Javed Iqbal Cheema, 24 hours after the incident.

Cheema, in his statement to the investigation team, said he held the press conference on investigation of the case under Musharraf’s explicit orders.

“It shows that as president, [Musharraf] was the single source of authority in the country,” the report states.

The ‘hasty’ press conference was ordered by Musharraf at a meeting at the President’s Camp Office in Rawalpindi, according to former DG Intelligence Bureau Ejaz Shah in his statement to the investigation team. The motive: influence the police investigation, the report says.

The then-prime minister, Punjab chief minister and the provincial police had not been consulted prior to the press conference, the report adds.

It is also evident from this pre-investigation press conference that Musharraf had prior knowledge of Benazir’s assassination by Mehsud and withheld this vital information, the report concludes.

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 informed investigators that Benazir had been targeted due to her stance over the Lal Masjid Operation, the report says.

An Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) official confirmed to the investigators that he had recorded a telephonic conversation in which Mehsud had issued instructions to some of the arrested terrorists to assassinate Benazir.

The ISI, however, had refused to appear before the court, saying that the evidence regarding the telephonic conversation had been prepared by the Intelligence Bureau.

According to phone records, Saeed alias Bilal, Nadir alias Qari Ismael and Akramullah reached Rawalpindi on December 26, 2007, at about 9 pm. They were picked up by accused Rafaqat and Hasnain and taken to the former’s house in Quaid-e-Azam Colony at midnight, the report says.

The terrorists visited Liaquat Bagh the next day, and the planned route of Benazir’s convoy. They returned to Hasnain’s house in Shah Jayyona Colony and obtained suicide jackets and weapons, the report adds.

A special FIA team visited Darul Uloom Haqqania in Akora Khattak in May 2010, and was confirmed by the seminary in-charge that some of the accused, including Nadir, were former students of that madrassa, the report adds.

Other accusations

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

The report further alleges that SP Ashfaq Ahmed, who had been deputed at Liaquat Bagh on security duty that day, went on a highway patrol with other police personnel instead, and tampered with the case records later.

It also alleges that SSP Khurram Ishtiaq attempted to destroy the circumstantial evidence when he ordered the police to hose down the crime scene.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 22nd, 2012.

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Reader Comments (29)

  • Mard-e-Haq
    Feb 22, 2012 - 6:40AM

    If this report is true, this would mean the US should investigate Musharraf as well as some victims of this terror collusion would ultimately be US soldiers, unless the US was complicit in this diabolical “cooperation.” If I am Commando Mush, I would challenge the Rehman Malik to hand the report over to the Americans and see how they react. They would more likely hasten regime change in Pakistan.

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  • Malik Tabeer
    Feb 22, 2012 - 6:51AM

    Political Scoring Nothing more than that

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  • John B
    Feb 22, 2012 - 7:09AM

    There is also strong circumstantial evidence that he aided and abetted OBL.

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  • Mohan
    Feb 22, 2012 - 7:16AM

    Pakistan is an extremist Muslim country. So are Saudi Arabia and Iran. Pakistan is paranoid.
    People are wild, Institutions are un trustworthy. Polititians are self centered. Do they have sense of right and wrong? It is a Terrorist State. God only can help them.

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  • Faheem Tassadaq
    Feb 22, 2012 - 7:55AM

    We all know very well who turned out to be the biggest beneficiary from this incident… The report is absolutely politically motivated..

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  • Akhtar
    Feb 22, 2012 - 8:09AM

    No one touches the Generals, serving, sorry ruling or retired in Pakistan!

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  • anonymous
    Feb 22, 2012 - 8:12AM

    “..that Musharraf would have been the main beneficiary from the elimination of Benazir..”

    Yea right! Everyone is blind here…

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  • Karim
    Feb 22, 2012 - 9:12AM

    This is a one sided story. Pervaiz Musharaff’s point of view must also taken into account.

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  • Karim
    Feb 22, 2012 - 9:14AM

    Why this report is being presented in Sindh Assembly?. Was this the right forum? and what are their intentions in presenting it in Sindh Assembly?

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  • sara
    Feb 22, 2012 - 10:10AM

    dictatorship plus extremism is responsible 4 benazir bhutto death. this mindset needs to be defeated.

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  • Omer
    Feb 22, 2012 - 10:46AM

    Denied VVIP security? That women was given a bomb proof car, Musharraf did not ask her to stick her head out. What is more is that Musharraf asked Benazir twice not to go to this rally. Who made Benazir stick her head out? It was not Musharraf who called her minutes before she died and asked her to stick her head out!

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  • pervaiz memon
    Feb 22, 2012 - 11:11AM

    for me it is open shut case . if we read Scot land yard , UN and JIT report jointly we will reach conclusion that time establishment give task to professional killer ( bait-ul-allha) , give cover to them and destroy all proof . I do not think any civilian can be able to bring actual accuses in front of court .

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  • isloo
    Feb 22, 2012 - 11:46AM

    @Akhtar:
    No one touches the politicians as well because soon they government collapse they run and set themself into exile :P

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  • Feb 22, 2012 - 12:09PM

    Musharraf told BB that there is a threat yet she did not listen, if she would have stayed INSIDE the vehicle like the rest of 4 other people she would have been alive today. Recommend

  • Akhtar
    Feb 22, 2012 - 12:57PM

    The Bold Commando cum General cum President cum Dictator Musharraf (lovingly also called Busharraf) will not comeback to Pakistan. UK is home & with his savings & pension, he’ll happily buy a bungalow, a few cars, security & happily live ever after!

    Khuda hafiz Commando Saab!

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  • Parvez
    Feb 22, 2012 - 1:02PM

    Pointing fingers at each other, just re-enforces the perception that all were involved.

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  • Saleem
    Feb 22, 2012 - 1:49PM

    Another attempt to use the old and rotten Shaheed bhutto card as elections are approaching. Another attempt to show … we are the victims only because we want to serve people …. card to get next term in election and than loot the country.

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  • Anwar Rizwi
    Feb 22, 2012 - 2:04PM

    This article would have been more complete – and made better sense – had it included some details on the “joint investigation (report)”. By which agency? Independent from what? When was it conducted? Who ordered it? Etc, etc.

    I daresay people who follow events in Pakistan like their favourite soap opera are in on the secret. But for those of us who live overseas and are not familiar with all the plot convolutions, it makes us despair of making much sense of news reports in the Pakistani press.

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  • Hamid Umair
    Feb 22, 2012 - 2:43PM

    @Mohan in Pakistan atleast there are no riots between Muslims and other minorities like your dear country where Muslims are still thought as Pakistanis and sympethizers of Pakistan. In Pakistan politics and election compaign is not run on hatred and propoganda against India (likewise your BJP and Bal Thakrey do). What about state sponsored terrorism in Kashmir by 0.7 million indian army? So just stop this criticism and pay attention to your home as well.

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  • ishtiaer hussain
    Feb 22, 2012 - 2:53PM

    Musharraf government provided VVIP level security to BB. Liaqat Bagh, the venue of the political rally, was completely secured with hundreds of policemen and commandos deputed. Who asked BB to open the sun-roof of the bomb-proof SUV and play the crowd outside Liaqat Bagh on the open road where suicide bombers were ready to blast themselves who failed to enter Liaqat Bagh because of stringent security arrangements?
    Why so much propaganda against Mush? Geo Group and Judiciary want to malign him so as to pay back PML-N for what they did for the restoration of PCO judges and Geo Group.

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  • Noor
    Feb 22, 2012 - 3:30PM

    Dr Rahman Malik himself told that there were many attempts on her life from 18th Oct onwards, even during last 5 days at Pabbi & Peshawer, but it was extreme security measures that she was safe from them.

    If President is to be made responsible for 27 Dec, he should be given credit for & his intentions measured from the incidents where she was saved.

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  • AK47
    Feb 22, 2012 - 3:31PM

    Benazir was murdered by those people who benefited from her death and people know very well who…?

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  • Maxwood
    Feb 22, 2012 - 3:38PM

    oh God Mercy upon Abdul Rehman MalikRecommend

  • sharee
    Feb 22, 2012 - 6:19PM

    @Mohan:
    oh really… and who is behind the torching of SAMJHOTA EXPRESS my dear mohan?

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  • Persian
    Feb 22, 2012 - 6:50PM

    @sharee:
    Regarding “@Mohan:
    oh really… and who is behind the torching of SAMJHOTA EXPRESS my dear mohan?”, the people behind bars as reported by Indian media.

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  • K B Kale
    Feb 22, 2012 - 7:36PM

    Why was all evidence washed out by hosing down with water? Normally the scene of crime is protected and nobody is allowed to touch anything. But here the scene of crime was made totally useless for any subsequent in-depth investigation.
    Nobody would indulge in such blatant violation of crime scene unless supported by powers-that-be.
    All fingers point to Musharraf!

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  • hamza khan
    Feb 22, 2012 - 10:26PM

    president musharraf zindabad. political nonsense to hold him back. inshallah he will be returning very soon..

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  • OG
    Feb 23, 2012 - 2:00AM

    “that Musharraf would have been the main beneficiary from the elimination of Benazir and her party’s failure during the 2008 elections, without her leadership” — HAHAH… seriously? BS!

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  • ehsan malik
    Feb 24, 2012 - 8:20PM

    The people who benefited from her death are now in governement. And these people lied soon after her death of thair whereabout. Musharraf could not prevent attacks on his own life or was that also a consipiracy concocted by presedent musharraf. Benazir was not killed by a bullet of an assasin, she was killed by hitting the side of her head,and no security would have prevented this. Now let us be sensible she stood up at her own accord and not at presedents instruction.Zardari did not want post mortam examination and not musharraf.

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