UN findings on Benazir's murder

Editorial April 16, 2010

In some ways the findings presented by the UN probe into the murder of Benazir Bhutto on Friday can be described as insipid.

People seemed to have been hoping the probe committee would, in stark black and white, declare who had killed the late leader and detonated the bomb that ended her life. This was always an unrealistic expectation, especially given the terms under which the probe was working.

The probe report nevertheless throws up facts that cannot be ignored, particularly the role of the intelligence agencies with certain aspects of the tragedy and its most immediate aftermath.

Two points in particular need to be recounted: the first has to do with the hosing down of the crime scene immediately after the assassination which prevented any meaningful forensic investigation or analysis. The police chief of Rawalpindi, the UN report said quoting 'sources', was being given directions by the head of military intelligence and this is a very worrying revelation.

The other has to do with the way the vehicle in which Ms Bhutto was killed was treated by investigators. Material was taken from it and put back before any forensics could be carried out, the report says, rendering its worthless for those tasked with the immediate probe. At this stage too, the report says, there was involvement of ISI officials.

In addition to this, the report says that intelligence apparatus attempted to hamper the inquiry itself and that, apart from the role of the Taliban and the late Baitullah Mehsud, that of the establishment needed to be further investigated. These comments, from a neutral body, are telling.

There are other questions that crop up too. Has the nexus between the establishment and militants been sufficiently explored? Was this a factor in the Bhutto death? People within her party believe so. There are also other questions. Why, with a PPP government in power since 2008, has so little effort been made to pursue the matter?

The UN probe lays down some very explosive leads. The question is who will ensure that they are pursued?


Nadir El Edroos | 13 years ago | Reply Unsurprisingly the UN report on the assassination of Benazir Bhutto has questioned the role of the military, security agencies and government officials. The call for there to be a through investigation of the intelligence agencies and prominent civil and military personalities is likely to go unheard. I dare say that imminently ardent defenders of the military are going to step forward that this report is another attempt in the international conspiracy to defame the Army and the ISI. I am not nor was a fan of Benazir Bhutto. Given her stature, the way she was assassinated, having had an inquiry by the UN, we are still unlikely, as citizens of Pakistan, to learn who is actually to blame. This goes back to the depressing state in which we are in where the military-security agencies can literally get away with murder. If a personality of international notoriety can be assassinated and questions unanswered, what hope for the common man to seek due process and justice? Given that the UN report has been released days after the passing of the 18th Amendment in the upper and lower houses of parliament, politicians across the nation are claiming the supremacy of parliament and how “democracy is the best revenge”. Really? Given the impunity with which certain state actors can act suggests that changing and removing certain laws is unlikely to empower the citizens of Pakistan. Sadly, this is just one more example of the duality in which we live in. One set of rules for the majority and one set of rules for a very tiny minority who tower above us all. The worst part is that we as a society allow them to freely wield such power knowing very well their excesses. As long as we equate supporting the military with being patriotic and the reverse as treachery how can we hope to hold undemocratic and unelected leaders accountable? Its ironic that the inquiry into a PPP leaders assassination, undertaken during the rule of a PPP majority parliament is leading into a black hole of inaction and delays. For the most pessimistic amongst us the Zardari led government may actually wish to prolong any new investigation or fact finding process to keep the memory of the slain leader alive. That is as opportunistic and heartless as it sounds. I hope we don’t stoop that low.
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