ISI and MI officers to be quizzed in Bhutto`s murder case

Several high-ranking officers of the Pak`s Military Intelligence and spy agency ISI would be quizzed in connection with the 2007 assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto.

Last Updated: Dec 23, 2010, 21:25 PM IST

Islamabad: Several high-ranking officers
of the Pakistan`s Military Intelligence and spy agency ISI
would be quizzed in connection with the 2007 assassination of
former premier Benazir Bhutto, authorities said on Thursday.

Federal Investigation Agency prosecutor Chaudhry
Zulfiqar said that two top police officials arrested yesterday
on the orders of an anti-terrorism court had named four MI and
Inter-Services Intelligence officers they were in touch with
at the time of Bhutto`s assassination.

"These are people from MI and ISI. They (the two
arrested police officers) have named them in court too. In the
light of this, we will make them part of this investigation,"
Zulfiqar told reporters outside a court in Rawalpindi.

These intelligence officers are of the rank of Major
and Colonel, he said.

Zulfiqar was speaking after the anti-terrorism court
remanded former Rawalpindi police chief Saud Aziz and former
Superintendent of Police Khurram Shahzad to the custody of the
FIA for six days.

When the two police officers were presented in court
today, they told the judge that they had been in touch with
two officers each of the MI and ISI at the time of Bhutto`s
assassination on December 27, 2007.

The two police officials were yesterday arrested in
the courtroom on the orders of the anti-terrorism judge
conducting the trial of suspects accused of involvement in the
assassination.

The FIA has named them as accused in a supplementary
chargesheet.

Aziz and Shahzad have been accused of negligence in
providing security to Bhutto, destroying vital evidence by
hosing down the crime scene within hours of the assassination
and tampering with records of telephone calls made on the day
Bhutto was killed.

Prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar said the FIA`s
investigation is not yet complete and sleuths will make
efforts to recover the personal mobile phones of the two
police officers so that forensic analysis could be done to
trace incoming and outgoing calls on the day of the
assassination.

Investigators had only recovered the official mobile
phones of the two police officers, Zulfiqar said.

Any "co-conspirators" identified by Aziz and Shahzaf
will also be made part of the probe, he added.

The anti-terrorism court is conducting the trial of
five suspects linked to the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan who
have been charged with involvement in Bhutto`s assassination.

The next hearing of the case has been scheduled for January 7.

The report of a UN commission that probed the
assassination said Bhutto`s killing could have been prevented.

The report criticised the police`s decision to hose
down the crime scene, and said its failure to collect and
preserve evidence "inflicted irreparable damage to the
investigation".

PTI