Musharraf indicted in Benazir Bhutto murder case

Published: August 20, 2013
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Former President Pervez Musharraf speaks during a news conference in Dubai in this March 23, 2013. PHOTO: REUTERS

Former President Pervez Musharraf speaks during a news conference in Dubai in this March 23, 2013. PHOTO: REUTERS

RAWALPINDI: A court in Rawalpindi has formally indicted former military dictator Pervez Musharraf on Tuesday with the murder of former premier Benazir Bhutto who was assassinated in 2007.

“He should be tried,” the public prosecutor, Mohammad Azhar, told reporters after a brief hearing during which the three charges of murder, conspiracy to murder and facilitation of murder were read out to Musharraf.

The indictment of the army chief who seized power in a 1999 coup is an unprecedented event in a country ruled by the military for half of its 66-year history.

Musharraf, who made no public remarks during his appearance, denied all the charges against him, a lawyer from his defence team told Reuters. Journalists were not allowed in the court room for the hearing which lasted just about 20 minutes.

“All the cases against Musharraf are fabricated. He denied all the charges,” said Afshan Adil, the lawyer. The next hearing was set for August 27.

Court appearances 

During today’s hearing, Musharraf’s council Ilyas Siddiqui appealed to the court to exempt the former president from appearing before the court in person, citing security threats.

Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) special prosecutor Chaudhry Azhar Ali objected to the request and said Musharraf is a murder accused and can only be exempted on medical grounds.

However, the court after hearing both lawyers exempted the former president from appearing before the court.

Background

Bhutto was killed in a gun and suicide bomb attack after an election rally, weeks after she returned to Pakistan from years in self-imposed exile.

The government at the time blamed Tehreek-e-Taliban militants and Musharraf has said he warned her of the danger she faced.

Hundreds of police were deployed along the main road leading to the court as well as on rooftops as Musharraf’s car arrived.

On August 6, the court delayed the widely expected indictment because it was too dangerous for Musharraf to attend the proceedings due to threats to his life.

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Reader Comments (60)

  • K Alam
    Aug 20, 2013 - 10:33AM

    why the case was started afresh, seem judiciary has not come out of the revenge mode.

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  • Blunt
    Aug 20, 2013 - 10:38AM

    Tit for tat. What goes around, comes around.

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  • Seriously?
    Aug 20, 2013 - 10:38AM

    As President Musharaff was dilusional and thought that he was indispensable BUT murderer he is NOT. These Shareef courts showing their true colors now.

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  • sanevoice
    Aug 20, 2013 - 10:40AM

    Political Vendetta. Surely Mr. Musharraf is guilt free and this is why he came to Pakistan even though the rulers and judges are biased.

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  • Saad
    Aug 20, 2013 - 10:54AM

    You will survive everything Sir Musharraf, inshAllah.
    You have done nothing but the right for the country called Pakistan!

    Jiye Pakistan! Jiye Musharraf

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  • Mani
    Aug 20, 2013 - 10:54AM

    Judiciary’s personal vendetta. That’s all there is to this case.

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  • Ali J
    Aug 20, 2013 - 11:13AM

    Blaming Musharraf in multiple charges in different cases shows us that he is being framed. Also, the Chief Justice needs to grow up rather than holding grudges like a little girl.

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  • Aschraful Makhlooq
    Aug 20, 2013 - 11:22AM

    Nothing shall be happened or changed and Musharraf shall stay at his Chak Shehzad Farm House as usual has been living.These are just time passing and wasting activities but no more……

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  • Aschraful Makhlooq
    Aug 20, 2013 - 11:34AM

    Very well done CJP Ch. Iftikhar Hussian.You are seeming successful in taking revenge of your forcibly termination…..

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  • Pakistani
    Aug 20, 2013 - 11:39AM

    Release Musharraf ASAP.Recommend

  • saad
    Aug 20, 2013 - 12:00PM

    zardari and rehman malik been claiming as to who killed BB, so will they confirm now it was musharaf?

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  • Sameer Bravo
    Aug 20, 2013 - 12:02PM

    pathetic judiciary seems like taking revenge to Mush

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  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Aug 20, 2013 - 12:21PM

    Musharraf now is paying the price to divulge himself from military general to a politician.

    Has he remained within his limits, today he would have been a free man.

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  • Mohammad
    Aug 20, 2013 - 12:28PM

    someone earlier said… A Leader in Making… and yes, this is true, a Leader in Making.

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  • Rumormonger
    Aug 20, 2013 - 1:02PM

    And they think that people will get distracted fom the main problems…. hah.

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  • Feroz
    Aug 20, 2013 - 1:07PM

    Who gave instruction to wash the scene of crime ? Start from there.

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  • aaaaa
    Aug 20, 2013 - 1:33PM

    @sanevoice:

    he came to pakistan because he’s a fauji and thought he would get away with it.

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  • Zahir Reza
    Aug 20, 2013 - 1:46PM

    While a step in the right direction after testimonies clearly indicate that police receive specific instruction just prior to the assasination to leave the scene it is evident that Musharraf or some close aide was part of the conspiracy.

    I hope Musharraf meets justice along with other members of the establishment who were part of it but we all know it is wishful thinking to do so.Recommend

  • shah
    Aug 20, 2013 - 1:55PM

    @ Feroz

    The UN and Scotland Yard have concluded their investigations and you are still stuck in the washing. LOLzzz

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  • Deendayal M.Lulla
    Aug 20, 2013 - 2:30PM

    As expected,it has happened. Does it mean that the government hold on the military is tightening? The judiciary also seems to have taken its revenge.

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  • Max
    Aug 20, 2013 - 2:32PM

    @shah:
    And where is this Scotland Yard report? Their mandate did not include finding who did the crime anyways, that is open for the powerful to decide.Recommend

  • WB
    Aug 20, 2013 - 3:32PM

    @Feroz: so keeping the streets clean is now a crime??Recommend

  • Aug 20, 2013 - 3:44PM

    Yeah, let’s waste our time once again.

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  • Ahmed Ali Khan
    Aug 20, 2013 - 4:46PM

    @Feroz:

    BB’s blood does not fall on the roads but in the car. So it does not make any difference the street were washed or not.

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  • Anticorruption
    Aug 20, 2013 - 4:48PM

    This is vendetta, plain and simple. Is there any genuine reason or evidence for us to believe that Mush was involved in the assasination of BB? He should just be tried for Nov 3 and all these frivolous cases should be dropped

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  • Uza Syed
    Aug 20, 2013 - 4:49PM

    Let’s face it and accept the reality as it’s without any fear of being labelled as partisan and therefore with a prejudiced opinion. There is no doubts about the fact that the country we inhibit is full of contradictions and made up of opinions and perceptions based on what is popular today and pursuit of populism has infected even those who are supposed to be and expected to be impartial and with characters beyond question. One can laugh or cry, depending on ones temperament, about this assault on justice and bamboozling of common sense. It is said that “justice must not be just done, it must also be seen to be done” and we see here in this whole exercise is far beyond justice, simply because a partisan judiciary with a partisan government backed up with manufactured facts is neither impartial nor seen as to be pursuing or dispensing any justice. This whole fiasco about President Musharraf indictment can best be described as vendetta by other means.

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  • Khan
    Aug 20, 2013 - 4:59PM

    Regardless of few good works that he did that didn’t last.. He must be hanged to stop individuals from overthrowing elected governments. As much as I hate Nawaz Sharif, Musharraf was meant to lead the armed forces not the country by disrespecting mandate of millions of Pakistanis who come out on election day.
    Regardless of the bad quality of current leaders and politicians we must let democratic governments complete its tenures so that the nation filter out bad apples and out future generations are able to have stable governments who truly work for the uplift of the society and the country.

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  • Khan
    Aug 20, 2013 - 5:01PM

    @WB:
    Apparently you cannot distinguish between a crime scene and an ordinary street.?

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  • Wasim Iqbal
    Aug 20, 2013 - 5:12PM

    Well Done CJ
    Sanity must prevail and all these generals should learn the lesson to be in their limits. I feel sorry for those who are still supporting a man who charge sheets is to long .

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  • mrs ahmed
    Aug 20, 2013 - 6:15PM

    @aaaaa:
    i think it is very difficult for you think rationally and honestyRecommend

  • unbelievable
    Aug 20, 2013 - 6:16PM

    the court delayed the
    widely expected indictment because it
    was too dangerous for Musharraf to
    attend the proceedings due to threats
    to his life.

    Anyone ever hear of an alleged criminal being excused from appearing in court because of threats to his life? Only in Pakistan.

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  • mrs ahmed
    Aug 20, 2013 - 6:17PM

    @Ahmed Ali Khan:
    thanks what a defence , had bibi not come out of the opening , she would still be alive and both nawaz sharif and bhutto zardaro couple would be reliving 90s

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  • mrs ahmed
    Aug 20, 2013 - 6:20PM

    @Khan:
    true he should be hanged for over throwing elected govt , and what should be done so that heavy mendate PMdoes not act illegally and also act of treason is not commited when an army chief plane is odered not to land on Pak soil and rather go to enemy airport .

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  • Ali
    Aug 20, 2013 - 6:29PM

    Does the judiciary not realise that Musharraf would’ve remained the president had Benazir come into power? Why would Musharraf be behind Benazir’s murder considering that he had the most to lose out of her death?

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  • saeed
    Aug 20, 2013 - 6:33PM

    @Blunt:

    So from your rule, this is as a result of what went around and not justice? And what is going around this time will come around again for judiciary?

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  • saeed
    Aug 20, 2013 - 6:48PM

    Lion is down and suddenly jackals all around become very brave.

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  • Uza Syed
    Aug 20, 2013 - 7:55PM

    If you are really sincerely looking for the murderers of Benazir Bhutto then go and get all those people who were present with her in that car at the time of her murder. Get Safdar & Nahid Abbasi and let them be professionally interrogated as to who opened the roof of that car and who encouraged BB to climb out. You can be rest assured that truth will come out if you honestly are seeking it and if not just go and keep on fooling yourselves and us in the process. And, yes, let President Musharraf go, he isn’t as stupid as those who believe that he has anything to do with this murder or anyone else’s.

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  • Khan
    Aug 20, 2013 - 8:18PM

    @mrs ahmed:
    As I said earlier if we have successive elected governments we will see better governance and will get rid of those so called democratic leaders who are dictators in their own political parties .. that will pave way for new crop who would know their place too .. We lost our way in 1958 when first elected government was dismissed .. had that not happened we would have been living in a much happier, mature and developed society, would not be getting fooled by constructions of buildings but by development of it’s nation and people, their education and healthcare instead. Currently our people get excited to hallow slogans and short term developments here and there that doesn’t last a few years.

    what should be done so that heavy mendate PMdoes not act illegally and also act of treason is not commited when an army chief plane is ordered not to land on Pak soil.

    First, why would an elected Prime minister backed by millions of people do such a thing? What made him do such mistake.
    Secondly, If he had committed treason .. then for the future of the country, he should have been treated like criminals .. If I’m not wrong .. punishment for treason is death penalty? then why was he let go? and why was he let to come back to the country? The person who pardon him was the same Musharraf .. and should be punished for not following law again and again.

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  • Khan
    Aug 20, 2013 - 8:24PM

    @saeed:
    Musharraf should never be held responsible for Benazir Bhutto’s murder but he must be indicted for overthrowing an elected government. His indictment in Benazir case is a joke the world over will be laughing at. It really shows the weakness of our education system that gives us such judges and officials on high posts who have no common sense or clue about what they’re doing.

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  • salim
    Aug 20, 2013 - 8:47PM

    @Wasim Iqbal:
    Now that the 19th amendment has withdrawn coverage for 19th Oct and subsequent acts The CJ should also be tried for validating the take over and giving the the Chief Executive extensive powers to amend the constitution! Let justice be done all round otherwise there will be foul smells.

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  • Aug 20, 2013 - 9:48PM

    Hundreds of police were deployed along the main road leading to the court
    – If this type of security was provided to Benazir Bhutto, she should have been alive today.

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  • Punjabi
    Aug 20, 2013 - 10:11PM

    What a shame Ch. Iftikhar..

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  • Xnain
    Aug 20, 2013 - 10:51PM

    Musharraf’s mistake was that he took facebook followers to be his real followers, IK did the same thing. When BB landed in Karachi, Shahra-e-Faisal got jammed. When Musharraf landed, not even a hundred followers (that too hired ones) were on the ground. Musharraf was only a facebook phenomenon.

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  • Xnain
    Aug 20, 2013 - 10:53PM

    @Wasim Iqbal:
    Not to mention his bribing army in all possible ways for prolonging his rule….Not to mention his adventure in Kargil, not to mention his gutless decision on surrendering his mighty country to the US on just a phone call.

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  • Xnain
    Aug 20, 2013 - 10:54PM

    @mrs ahmed:
    But why Musharraf ordered the cleansing of crime scene just the next day which vanished any possible evidences?

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  • Xnain
    Aug 20, 2013 - 10:59PM

    @mrs ahmed:
    He was no longer the army chief since PM has ordered his dismissal. He and his gang of 4 stagged a coup. Even the Chinese intercepted his calls secretly discussing mess in Kargil with other culprits. Starting an act of war by insubordinating the president and prime minister, isn’t that a case of high treason. Who is responsible for the lives of 4000 jawans which were lost for the petty fun adventure of a surma who subsequently disowned them?

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  • Parvez
    Aug 21, 2013 - 12:09AM

    My guess is that he will be released but it has to be fully orchestrated so that all the players look good……..or at least seem to look good.

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  • leela
    Aug 21, 2013 - 12:18AM

    This is all nonsense and seems like the judiciary is taking it out on Mush. Why are people not accepting the preliminary report that BB died because of hitting her head against a strong sun roof lever? All this conspiracy theory revolves around her being shot when she stuck her head out of the sun roof of her own choice. What if she had not stuck her head out? How would she have been shot?

    However, Mush can be tried for breaking the law for overthrowing an elected government.

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  • mrs ahmed
    Aug 21, 2013 - 12:19AM

    @Khan:
    allow me to disagree our uneducated gullible awam would have continued electing people who are equal to filth and dirt even if 1958 had not happened.
    All these champions of democracy have been riding on the back of dictatorship.

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  • mrs ahmed
    Aug 21, 2013 - 12:22AM

    @Xnain:
    lay it off it is all propaganda of jahil siasatdaans , most of all the then PM , who himself rode on the back of martial law , and after sapping the general put on the garb of a democrat.

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  • Punjabi
    Aug 21, 2013 - 12:46AM

    @Xnain:
    Seriously…Army is for warfare not for a show case piece.

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  • Uza Syed
    Aug 21, 2013 - 12:49AM

    @Xnain: Blaming President Musharraf ordering “cleansing of crime scene” is about the limit of simplicity actually stupidity. The man was president, and you all allege him to be a dictator, not head of municipality to order such petty things. C’mon, apply a bit of common sense, such talks don’t reflect much intelligence.

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  • Haris
    Aug 21, 2013 - 10:32AM

    Musharraf is a true leader. Whatever conspiracies you discuss…keep on discussing. But his numbers speak during his time. I still remember Pakistan was being seen among the fastest growing countries among the world (on internet, not on PTV). Every area of country and economy was growing and developing. This is what people need.

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  • Xnain
    Aug 21, 2013 - 10:55AM

    @mrs ahmed:
    What is a propoganda and what is not, we in public services, know much better than the outsiders. How he legalized the “armization” of the civilian infrastructure by installing his comrades everywhere to reward them. How chaudry brothers were born, how MQM was pattroned by him and how the DHA, Fauji Foundation was allowed free hand to do whatever they saw fit, is just some of the scandals of his rule.

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  • Haris
    Aug 21, 2013 - 12:00PM

    ET why don’t you publish my comments !!

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  • Max
    Aug 21, 2013 - 2:24PM

    @shah:
    Since you mentioned the UN, here is an excerpt from the upcoming book written by its lead investigator:

    “In Bhutto’s case, it would seem that the village assassinated her: Al-Qaeda gave the order; the Pakistani Taliban executed the attack, possibly backed or at least encouraged by elements of the establishment; the Musharraf government facilitated the crime through its negligence; local senior policemen attempted a cover-up; Bhutto’s lead security team failed to properly safeguard her; and most Pakistani political actors would rather turn the page than continue investigating who was behind her assassination.”Recommend

  • shah
    Aug 21, 2013 - 3:31PM

    @ Max

    Even if all this is true, who told BB to poke out of the car’s roof ????
    Everyone inside was safe,
    BB is responsible for her own blunder so dont blame Musharraf who had already warned her of terror threats.Recommend

  • Raza
    Aug 21, 2013 - 4:49PM

    @saad:
    Hpow could they take their own names?

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  • liaqat ali
    Aug 21, 2013 - 4:59PM

    @mrs ahmed:
    So whats your solution. Just sit and pray for the next good dictator.What about if you get another Zia or Yahya. Oh , come on, you dont make any logic. There is no alternative to democracy .Just give me alternative full mechanism and I will agree. But you cant. You can criticize , yes but cant come up with alternative.

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  • Xnain
    Aug 22, 2013 - 11:16AM

    @Punjabi:
    Okey If I have a gun does that mean i start killing everybody because i have a gun and the gun is to kill?

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