Kayani believed Musharraf failed to probe Benazir murder, says Wajid

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by Murtaza Ali Shah

LONDON: Pakistan’s former high commissioner to UK Wajid Shamsul Hasan has said that former military ruler General (R) Ashfaq Parvez Kayani told him that Pervez Musharraf’s administration failed to investigate assassination case of Benazir Bhutto.

In an interview, Wajid Shamsul Hasan asked how could investigators get to unearth the conspirators behind the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto when the scene of the crime was washed instantly by fire tenders on the orders of the president.

Wajid recalled that in one of official visits to London while they sat down to unwind after a dinner by the Ministry of Defence (MoD), he specifically asked COAS General Kayani how did he manage to trace as ISI DG in-charge of investigation all those complicit with the suicide bomber who attacked Musharraf.

“General Kayani told me that as a standard procedure followed all over the world, the scene of attack on the president was cordoned and sealed immediately for days, inch by inch area was combed and scanned during which a mobile telephone chip was recovered. That chip led to suicide bomber’s accomplice — a security guard on duty — who was giving the bomber instructions minute by minute of presidential entourage’s movement,” recalled Wajid.

When the high commissioner asked the General that it meant Musharraf’s administration failed to do proper investigation into Benazir Bhutto’s murder, ignoring very basic standard procedures, General Kayani responded to him by a counter question: “How could any professional carry out proper probe into a crime — high profile assassination of ex-prime minister — when all evidence is destroyed. The need was to take all precautions and care so that no vital piece of evidence escapes the eye. In her case, all normal procedures were thrown to the wind.”

Wajid said that when he asked General Kayani about his thoughts on bombing of martyred Benazir Bhutto’s cavalcade, Kayani commented that “even if he were asked to investigate the suicide bombing that killed Benazir Bhutto, how could he have succeeded when all the evidence left on the crime scene was washed away”.

Wajid recalled that Brigadier (R) Javed Iqbal Cheema, former director general of National Crisis Management Cell (NCMC) — a sub division of Interior Ministry — told the ATC that the orders to instantly wash the crime scene were received from the Presidency. Cheema had told the ATC that next day of murder (Dec 28, 2007) he held a press conference on the advice of General Musharraf.

Hasan said he does not believe that Benazir’s killers will ever be found. “No doubt Scotland Yard investigators visited Pakistan, terms of reference provided to them were incomplete. The UN investigator — Heraldo Munoz — in his book “Getting away with Murder”, however, has pointed finger at the suspects involved in the crime.”

Wajid Shamsul Hasan is probably the only person who was privy to most of the activities of Benazir Bhutto while she was in exile as he remained by her side throughout and took part in these meetings. He said that Musharraf always told Benazir Bhutto not to return to Pakistan, he would not allow her to return and that he would not guarantee or provide foolproof security. He even threatened her of serious consequences if she did. Moreover, he told her in no ambiguous terms that he will not let her party win in Punjab, claimed Wajid.

When inquired about the role of the people around martyred Benazir Bhutto, Wajid said several PPP leaders had questions to answer. “Rehman Malik was her security adviser and he along with Babar Awan were in the backup vehicle. Naheed Khan, Safdar Abbasi and late Makhdoom Ameen Fahim were in the same vehicle. Find out who told her to stand up. If I had been in the vehicle I would have pulled her down.”

Wajid recalled: “It was perhaps the happiest moment of my life — though very short lived — when I heard Rehman Malik say on television that Mohtarma had reached home safely after the attack. And then in the next minute it was all over the TV channels that Bibi did not survive in the suicide attack. It came to light later that the backup vehicle had run away with all its distinguished passengers on hearing the boom of the blast.” When asked why did her security adviser and others left the scene of the crime, Wajid retorted: “You should also find out who were the people that met General Musharraf hours after Bibi’s assassination that very ill-fated night.”

Asked about former president Asif Ali Zardari’s tenure, Hasan said that he went through great ordeals when in government. “Only a man of his nerves could withstand those pressures, he tried to deliver against all odds while being a constant target of attack by media and opposition.” Courtesy The News

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