Who is Behind Benazir’s Assassination?
Controversy still continues about the assassination of the former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto who was targeted in a gun and bomb attack outside Rawalpindi’s Liaquat Bagh on December 27, 2007 after addressing a rally, while Gen. Pervaz Musharraf was President of Pakistan.
As regards contradictions about Benazir’s murder, earlier, the former government of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) had blamed the leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League (Q) and Gen. Musharaf in this respect, but afterwards, it became coalition partner of PML-Q.
In this context, Heraldo Munoz, who had headed the UN Commission of Inquiry into the Benazir’s assassination submitted his report to the UN Secretary General in March 2010.
Munoz has opened a new chapter of self-assumptions regarding Benazir’s murder.
In his book titled, “Getting Away With Murder–Benazir Bhutto’s Assassination and the Politics of Pakistan,” he pointed fingers at Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) for its possible involvement in her murder. In this context, he also wrote an article, while extracts of his book have also been published by the leading newspapers of Pakistan.
However, while becoming part of the anti-Pakistan campaign of some foreign countries against Pak Army and ISI, Munoz, doubted independent attack on Benazir Bhutto by the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) or its former leader Baitullah Mehsud. He accused that TTP executed the attack, possibly backed or at least encouraged by elements of the establishment—ISI and Pak Army.
Heraldo Munoz allegedly said,” Suspicions of the ISI…or at least of some retired officers or rogue members of the agency’s involvement in the assassination were not unfounded.” And misperceived that Gen. Musharraf may have facilitated the killing by ignoring Ms. Bhutto’s security needs.
The investigator Munoz seemed to have felt jealous when he held a meeting with the ex-Director General of the ISI Gen. Ahmed Shujah Pasha, in his office, which he described as ostentatious and glorious official mansion, provoking the readers to imagine the extent of power lying inside such a splendid building of the organization.
While indicating false approach, Munoz tried to create an impression that he bulldozed his way to get an appointment with Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and the then DG ISI, warning that the commission would leave Pakistan, if its members were not allowed meetings. His biased attitude towards army chief and DG ISI seem quite obvious, as he doubted the information given by the Gen. Kayani and Gen. Pasha and instead, worked on suppositions, casting aspersions on the role of Army and ISI in the assassination of Benazir.
Munoz is creating misperceptions by projecting baseless information that Pakistani society and international community suspects ISI’s involvement in Benazir’s murder in some form.
As a matter of fact, Heraldo Munoz unscrupulously failed to realize that Army does not deal with murder investigations. So without giving any evidence, he concluded that Police washed the crime scene on the instructions of top military leadership.
While showing contradictions, Heraldo Munoz also wrote in his book that Gen. Kayani “wondered if Baitullah Mehsud had organized the assassination…Musharraf’s government based its claim on Mehsud’s telephonic conversation intercepted by the ISI…Gen. Kayani had called the press conference of a spokesman of interior ministry about Bailtullah as premature.” Further quoting army chief, he wrote, “One cannot conclude culpability solely on a phone intercept.”
In fact, Munoz’s article coincided with the indictment of Gen. Pervaz Musharraf by an anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi in the Benazir’s murder case which displays malafide intention of the author.
Earlier Gen. Musharraf had stated that those who did not exposed themselves in the bullet and bomb proof vehicle were survived. However, Munoz did not take interview of some important PPP members like Naheed Khan and others, accompanying Benazir Bhutto in the vehicle. He also did not talk to those who were responsible for Benazir’s safety, and were not present there, but on occurrence of her murder, they quickly drove to Islamabad. Reportedly, somebody made a mobile contact, telling Benazir to come out and to stand in the ceiling-opening of vehicle to wave back at the people, waiting outside to greet her. This was another very relevant aspect neglected by Munoz.
It is mentionable that on September 28, 2009, in an Al-Jazeera TV interview, Pakistan’s Army Chief of Staff, General Mirza Aslam Beg (R) disclosed that CIA contractor Blackwater was directly involved in the assassination of former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. He explained, “US killed Benazir Bhutto when she violated an agreement she had with the CIA…to not return to Pakistan.”
It is of particular attention that ground realities have proved that the former Chief of the Waziristan-based TTP Baitullah Mehsud who was the agent of CIA was behind the assassination of Benazir. Besides, while talking to the BBC and Voice of America (VOA) through mobile phone, Baitullah Mehsud had claimed responsibility for the high-profile terror-attacks in Pakistan. He never talked to Pakistani media, but had given interview especially to VOA. Question arises as to why; he was not killed by drone attack during conversation. In fact, playing a double game, he was inciting the innocent tribal people against the Pakistani government so as to weaken the country by following the instructions of his paymasters. He was having a number of secrets regarding foreign intelligence agencies. Therefore, US had killed him through a CIA-operated drone strike.
Nevertheless, like Baitullah, his successor and Chief of the TTP, Hakimullah Mehsud is also agent of CIA, and his main mission is to destabilize Pakistan in accordance with the agenda of anti-Pakistan external powers.
Notably, in the recent past, the US declassified documents revealed that the CIA had tried to kill Cuba’s ex-president Fidel Castro.
Nonetheless, Benazir’s assassination was part of international conspiracy against Pakistan. So following the agenda of anti-Pakistan elements, Heraldo Munoz has maligned Pak Army and IS. Although his opinion is based on assumptions and contradictions, yet he seeks to misguide the people through negative propaganda against the key national institutions of Pakistan.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power