Premier execution: New book probes Benazir murder failures

Author, who headed a UN probe into BB’s death, notes it could have been prevented.


Afp December 06, 2013
Benazir Bhutto. PHOTO: FILE

NEW YORK:


A new book brings to a wider audience a theory of cover-up, sweeping blame and staggering security failures behind the 2007 assassination of country’s ex-prime minister Benazir Bhutto.


Author and Chilean diplomat Heraldo Munoz headed a damning UN report in 2010 that said Benazir’s death could have been prevented and that Pakistan deliberately failed to investigate properly. Now a UN assistant secretary general, Munoz’s book “Getting Away with Murder: Benazir Bhutto’s Assassination and the Politics of Pakistan”, goes on sale in the United States next week.

Munoz likened the best explanation for who killed Bhutto to a 17th century Spanish play “Fuenteovejuna”, in which a village united together to kill a hated commander.

Bhutto’s own security failed her and those who encouraged her to return to Pakistan did not provide her with protection, Munoz argues.

“Political actors, even those close to her, would rather turn the page rather than find out who did it,” he said.

“Sectors of the Pakistani establishment also wanted her dismissed or dead.” He said police were “clearly responsible for a cover-up and I’m convinced that came from higher up”.

Federal investigators were delayed in accessing the scene. In the end they collected only 23 pieces of evidence from the washed-down scene.

Munoz said it was ridiculous to imagine that Bhutto’s widower, former president Asif Ali Zardari, had been involved in her death. “He was helpful but I cannot say his whole government was helpful because we encountered all sorts of obstacles,” he said.

He said former interior minister Rehman Malik, Bhutto’s head of security, had been in a back-up bullet-proof Mercedes but was nowhere to be found immediately after the attack. “They probably wanted to save their skin, to put it bluntly,” Munoz said. “Never could we get straight answers from him.”

The diplomat said guilt was for the courts to decide, but that Musharraf bore “political responsibility” by not providing adequate security to a former prime minister living under threat.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 6th, 2013.

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