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Benazir Bhutto assassination case: Pervez Musharraf declared absconder, says Pak media

Former Pakistani military general and president Pervez Musharraf has been declared in absconder in Benazir Bhutto assassination case by a court, says Pak media.


  |  Updated On : August 31, 2017 05:37 PM
Benazir Bhutto assassination case: Pervez Musharraf declared absconder, says Pak media

Benazir Bhutto assassination case: Pervez Musharraf declared absconder, says Pak media

New Delhi :  

Former Pakistani military general and president Pervez Musharraf has been declared in absconder in Benazir Bhutto assassination case by a court, says Pak media.

An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan reportedly delivered its verdict in a decade-old-case involving the gruesome assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

In its verdict the court acquitted five millitants, sentenced two police officer to 17 years in prison and declared Musharraf absconder, reports said. 

Judge Asghar Khan announced the verdict, declaring Musharraf a proclaimed offender and ordered seizure of his property.

Musharraf, 74, has been living in Dubai since last year when he was allowed to leave Pakistan on pretext of medical treatment.

The judge sentenced former Rawalpindi CPO Saud Aziz and former Rawal Town SP Khurram Shahzad suspects out on bail to 17 years in prison and ordered to pay a fine of Rs 5 lakh each.

Both police officers - who were present in the court, have been arrested from Adiala Jail.

Five Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) suspects have been acquitted over lack of evidence.

The suspects - Rafaqat Hussain, Husnain Gul, Sher Zaman, Aitzaz Shah and Abdul Rashid - were arrested soon after the crime and have been in jail. They had denied the charges.

Former two-time premier Bhutto was killed in a gun and bombing attack in Rawalpindi on December 27, 2007 when she came out of park after addressing an election rally.

The case was registered soon after the assassination and the trial went through many ups and down until concluded yesterday in Rawalpindi.

All accused were present at the time of announcement of trial except Musharraf.The trial of five suspects started in January 2008, while Musharraf, Aziz and Shahezad were implicated in 2009 after fresh probe by Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

“10 years later and we still await justice. Abettors punished but those truly guilty of my mothers murder roam free,” Bhutto’s daughter Aseefa Bhutto Zardari tweeted soon after the verdict was announced.

“There will be no justice till Pervez Musharraf answers for his crimes,” she tweeted.

Bhutto’s another daughter Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari tweeted, “Musharraf ordered crime scene washed & doors locked trapping SMBB vehicle inside #ArrestMusharraf.”

Pakistan Peoples Party leader Sheila Raza also expressed dissatisfaction over the verdict. “We had reservations over the probe and the FIR lodged by the government,” she said.

Eight different judges heard the case during this period who were changed due to different reasons.

Initially TTP chief Baitullah Mehsud was blamed for murder and Musharraf government issued a taped conversation of Mehsud with a certain operator in which he was congratulating the operator for the murder.

But FIA Chief Prosecutor Mohammad Azhar Chaudhry in his concluding arguments disowned the evidence of audio record and transcript of telephonic conversation.

He termed it a cooked up story by Musharraf to mislead the investigators and to save himself.

ATC Judge Asghar Ali Khan who heard the case in city’s Adiala Jail reserved the judgment after conducting day-to-day hearing going on since Monday.

The trial of former military ruler Pervez Musharraf who was the president when Bhutto was killed and who has been accused will be held separately on his return to Pakistan.

The five suspects Rafaqat Hussain, Husnain Gul, Sher Zaman, Aitzaz Shah and Abdul Rashid were arrested soon after the assassination and have been in jail.

Then Rawalpindi police chief Saud Aziz and SSP Kurrum Shehzad are also among the accused and their fate will be decided in the case. Both were arrested initially but released on bail in 2011.

The main trail five suspects started in January 2008, while Musharraf, Aziz and Shahezad were implicated in 2009 after fresh probe by Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

Eight different judges heard the case during this period who were changed due to different reasons.

Initially TTP chief Baitullah Mehsud was blamed for murder and Musharraf’s government issued a taped conversation of Mehsud with a certain operator in which he was congratulating the operator for the murder.

But FIA Chief Prosecutor Mohammad Azhar Chaudhry in his concluding arguments disowned the evidence of audio record and transcript of telephonic conversation. He termed it cooked up story Musharraf to mislead the investigators and to save himself.

First Published: Thursday, August 31, 2017 04:01 PM
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