Pak Punjab police claims resolving Benazir assassination plot

The Punjab police has dropped a bombshell by claiming that it has already traced, arrested and put on trial Benazir Bhutto`s assassins.

Updated: Apr 15, 2010, 11:41 AM IST

Lahore: While the whole world and especially Pakistan eagerly awaits the UN enquiry commission’s report on former prime minister Benazir Bhutto’s assassination, which is expected to be released on Thursday, the Punjab police has dropped a bombshell by claiming that it has already traced, arrested and put on trial the former premier’s assassins.

The provincial police administration said that it has already informed the UN inquiry commission about the important development in the probe, which it described as an ‘open and shut’ case.

According to sources, the UN enquiry commission, headed by Chilean Ambassador to the UN Heraldo Munoz, was informed by the CID officials that the December 2007 gun and bomb attack targeting Bhutto was masterminded by the killed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) commander Baitullah Mehsud.

The bomber, who exploded himself outside the Liaquat Bagh in Rawalpindi, was one Saeed alias Bilal, a resident of South Waziristan, the CID officials had informed during the course of UN commission’s probe.

According to the CID documents, four of the 12 militants who were sent to kill Bhutto belonged to Madrassa Haqqania in Akora Khattak near Peshawar, which is also referred to as Darul Uloom Haqqania, The News reports.

When asked about the issue and that whether the Punjab CID still has the report with it, Additional Inspector General of the CID Punjab, Malik Mohammad Iqbal said, “it was a joint probe on the basis of which the challan of Benazir Bhutto murder case was submitted to a Rawalpindi anti-terrorism court, which still holds ground and the trial of the arrested accused is still on.”

According to the CID’s report, Mehsud had given 400,000 rupees to one Qari Ismail, who subsequently dispatched a group of suicide bombers and shooters to Rawalpindi to kill Bhutto.

It may be noted that the UN commission’s report was due to be published last month, but the UN delayed the process following Zardari’s request.

According to the sources, Zardari has named former US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Saudi Arabia``s intelligence chief Muqran bin Abdul Aziz and the intelligence chief of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as those who had warned about Bhutto’s murder in advance.

They said that Zardari had asked the UN inquiry commission to meet these four persons before submitting its final report.

Sources said Zardari believes that information to be shared by these four personalities might help the inquiry commission to identify the real killers.

The three-member UN commission was set up following a request by the Pakistani government to probe attack on Bhutto, and began its work in July 2009.