In our country, the truth, or at least all of it, is always hard to come by. But at least some interesting facts have emerged from Interior Minister Rehman Malik’s response to a resolution, moved by members of the Sindh Assembly, demanding that the report into the December 2007 assassination of Benazir Bhutto be made public. The report has so far been kept under wraps, shared only with the PPP’s Central Executive Committee. Malik’s briefing to the Sindh Assembly followed in quick succession by the revelation of the content of the report in Lahore, brings up some intriguing facts along with a lot of old hat.
As the PPP has held before, Malik blamed former president Pervez Musharraf for the murder, charging that he not only knew of the murder — carried out by the late Baitullah Mehsud — but had also abetted it by failing to put in place proper security. The report contents in Lahore also stated that Musharraf had organised the hasty and illogical press conference, held hours after the killing by the then Crisis Cell Management in charge, Javed Iqbal Cheema. Senior police officers were also blamed for failing to allow an autopsy. We have heard much of this before; it offers little that is really new.
The revelation by Malik that former students of the Darul Uloom Haqqania — one of the largest and best known seminaries in the country — were involved, does however, offer food for thought. The allegation is that the plot was hatched at the seminary, mainly to punish Benazir for her role in the Lal Masjid operation, carried out, of course, under Musharraf. This adds something of a new twist to the tale, given the standing of the seminary. Its founder, Maulana Samiul Haq has immediately denied involvement — but the account given, provided that it is backed by sufficient evidence, should make us think harder about the role played even by the better known seminaries in our country. Even if little that is truly startling has emerged from the minister’s remarks, it is a good omen that the report has been discussed in public and lies open before all of us to consider.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 23rd, 2012.