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16 years on Benazir Bhutto assassination remains unsolved

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  • Mystery surrounding assassination of Benazir continues to grow.
  • Despite threats, she addressed addresed the rally in Rawalpindi.
  • Scotland Yard team investigated killing of Benazir Bhutto. 

ISLAMABAD: It was the day 16 years ago when one of Pakistan’s most loved and popular political leaders, Ms Benazir Bhutto, was assassinated in a suicide bomb blast-cum-gun shooting attack outside the famous Liaquat Bagh as she was about to depart after addressing a big election rally on 27 December 2007.

The events unfolding soon after the unfortunate incident continued to make the incident murkier, casting long shadows of doubts and suspicions as the nation seemed to be sucked in a pal of gloom and despair. The public reaction to the violent death of the most popular political leader was spontaneous and understandable.

With each passing day, the mystery surrounding the assassination of Benazir Bhutto continued to grow. First with the change of the route of her return after addressing the rally, a hurried washing of the crime scene by the administration, washing away critical evidence, and a shake-up in top local bureaucracy.

Finally, a press conference by the spokesperson of the Ministry of Interior, announcing the incident being a terror strike and even releasing intercepts of alleged terrorists’ telephonic conversations and even sketches of two persons purported as the alleged terrorists belonging to Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

BB’s party, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) won the general elections in January 2008 with a thin majority and formed a coalition government and with that, the demand for a fair and independent investigation into the unfortunate incident grew louder and louder.

The military dictator, General Pervez Musharraf, called an investigation team from Scotland Yard of the United Kingdom to investigate the killing of Benazir Bhutto and submit a report on January 8, 2008. However, former President Asif Ali Zardari, the spouse of Benazir Bhutto, and the Pakistan People’s Party rejected the Scotland Yard report and openly accused General Pervez Musharraf of being behind the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, while declaring it inept and full of doubts.

There were repeated demands for an independent inquiry by the UN into the incident by the PPP government and eventually, Bank Ki-Moon, the then Secretary-General of the United Nations announced in February 2009 for sending a high-level UN Fact Finding Mission to look into the incident.

The UN Fact-Finding Mission arrived in Islamabad on 16 July 2009 and started their job, during which they held extensive discussions with concerned persons and departments. The UN Fact Finding Mission eventually released its report but that was vague and without any conclusive remarks regarding identifying the culprits behind the tragic incident.

The UN Fact-Finding Mission report was rejected by former President Asif Ali Zardari and the PPP citing reasons that it contains no substance and no efforts were made by the UN Mission to point out the people and the elements behind the gruesome suicide attack on two-time Prime Minister of Pakistan, Ms Benazir Bhutto.

It may be recalled that the former military dictator, Gen Pervez Musharraf, himself admitted that there was credible information available that Benazir Bhutto would be targeted by the ‘terrorists’ and even said that the then Director-General Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Gen Nadeem Taj, personally met Benazir Bhutto less than 24 hours ago (on December 26) at her residence and tried to convince her not to go to Liaquat Bagh to address her last public rally ahead of the general elections.

However, reportedly, Benazir Bhutto refused to buy the argument of DG ISI regarding threats to her life and the possibility of a lethal attack aimed at eliminating her by purported terrorist groups, especially Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). The meeting was held in the backdrop of a shooting incident near Nowshera on the convoy of Benazir Bhutto when she was returning from Peshawar after addressing a public rally.

She went ahead with her plan of addressing the rally in Rawalpindi and fell victim to the dastardly suicide bombing-cum-gun shooting attack minutes after she left Liaquat Bagh after addressing a very successful rally.

Over the last 16 years, there have been multiple theories behind the elimination of Benazir Bhutto but there are hardly any solid evidence available to corroborate those theories.

But there were enough events that followed BB’s assassination which strongly indicated that all out efforts were made to hide the facts to confuse things and mislead the investigators who tried to solve the ‘mystery’.

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) remained in power from 2008 till 2013 but was unable to take any meaningful steps to find the people and forces behind the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the two-time Prime Minister of Pakistan and as the day marks the 16th anniversary of her violent death the mystery is still unsolved.

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No “major breakthrough” in the opposition-led JUI-F and PTI meeting

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Maulana Fazalur Rehman stated that mending rifts in relationships and getting rid of resentment in an interview with the media in Islamabad with a team from the Tehreek-e-Tahafuz-e-Ayeen-e-Pakistan that paid him a visit.

While no significant progress was made at the meeting, all sides decided to keep in touch in order to plan for the future.

“A positive message,” according to the JUI-F chief, was received with open arms by the delegation. Taking a “united” stance on national issues was the primary goal of the meeting, he said.

Democracy is losing its appeal, and Pakistan’s parliament and constitution are losing their respect. In parliament, Maulana Fazalur Rehman continued, “we should have a single voice.”

Remarking on the event, National Assembly Opposition Leader Omar Ayub thanked the JUI-F leader for ‘warmly’ receiving the group.

We had a fruitful discussion in the meeting, he declared, urging the opposition parties to work with the PTI to “protect” the constitution.

Constitutional violations and a lack of a rule of law are the claims made by Omar Ayub. According to him, there was “no reason” why the police searched the PTI’s Islamabad central secretariat office.

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In the instance of illegal recruitment, Pervaiz Elahi is granted bail.

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The earlier-reserved court ruling was delivered by LHC Judge Sultan Tanveer Ahmad on Tuesday.

LHC had filed a post-arrest bail motion, according to the former chief minister.

On October 25, 2023, Pervaiz was taken into custody by the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE).

From June 1 to September 18, Elahi has been arrested in a number of crimes; the most recent one was reported by the Punjab ACE on September 18.

More: Pervaiz Elahi’s condition “deteriorated” in Adiala jail; he was hurried to PIMS.

In the Punjab Assembly, Elahi illegally hired 12 people for grade 17 positions, according to information provided by an ACE representative.

In the provincial assembly, the candidates were chosen through record-altering.

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The bail petition of Parvez Elahi in the Jinnah House attack case has been rejected by the ATC.

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A bail application filed by Chaudhry Parvez Elahi, a leader of the Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI) party, in the Jinnah House attack case has been rejected by an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) on the grounds of prematurity.

ATC Judge Arshad Javed announced the decision during today’s hearing.

The counsel representing Parvez Elahi contended that there was a significant likelihood of his client being arrested in relation to the Jinnah House attack case. It was stated that the ex-Chief Minister had previously been held in custody on judicial remand in other cases.

The petitioner requested the court to authorise the release of Parvez Elahi on bail in the Jinnah House attack case.

Nevertheless, the prosecution argued that the bail petition did not meet the necessary legal criteria, emphasising that Parvez Elahi had not been apprehended in connection with the case.

Considering these considerations, the court rejected Parvez Elahi’s request for release, stating that it was premature since he had not been arrested in the Jinnah House attack case.

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