Committee report on May 4


April 29, 2010

ISLAMABAD: The fact-finding committee set up to investigate the issues framed in the UN report on former premier Benazir Bhutto’s assassination has completed the bulk of its ‘interactive’ work.

Committee chairman Abdul Rauf Chaudhry, who is also the secretary of the Cabinet Division, says they hope to submit the report to Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Tuesday. “We have done most of the interviews we were supposed to do and we will share the outcome of our efforts with Gilani next week, by May 4,” said Rauf, after participating in a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee (Pac) here on Thursday. He refused to give any further details of what the committee has done in the week after being set up.

The three-member committee has the mandate of finding out whether former Military Intelligence director-general Nadeem Ijaz was responsible for destroying critical forensic evidence by ordering the hosing down of the crime site outside a public park in Rawalpindi. A report by a private television channel claimed that the committee is still to quiz the former MI chief although officials continue to insist that the committee did interrogate Ijaz on Wednesday. Committee members, however, refuse to confirm this.

“We are under a moral obligation to hide things before submitting the report to the premier,” said Fayyaz Tooru, the second member of the committee who is also the additional chief secretary (Home) of Peshawar. According to another report, the then police chief for Rawalpindi Saud Aziz had told the committee that the hosing down of murder site took place at his orders and that Ijaz had not asked him to do so. However, Aziz was not available to comment on this. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for President Asif Zardari told the media that Aziz will be subjected to a further probe if his earlier accusations against Ijaz proved untrue.

The committee was set up in pursuance of a decision by the ruling Pakistan People’s Party to institute criminal cases against all those individuals and institutions mentioned in an inquiry report by a UN Commission. Headed by Chaudhry, the committee also features Maj. Gen. Sajjad Ghani, the vice chief of general staff.

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