Pervez Musharraf accuses Asif Ali Zardari of being involved in assassination of two-time premier
Pakistan’s former military ruler Pervez Musharraf accused former President Asif Ali Zardari of being involved in assassination of the latter’s wife and two-time premier Benazir Bhutto.
In a video message aired on several local TV channels on Thursday, Musharraf, who stands trial in murder case of Bhutto, for the first time held Zardari “responsible” for assassination of former prime minister.
Bhutto was assassinated in December 2007 minutes after she addressed a public gathering in garrison city of Rawalpindi.
The allegations followed the judgment of the murder case by an anti-terrorism court earlier this month, in which the former military ruler, who was serving as president at the time of the assassination, has been declared absconder.
The court had acquitted all five accused for lack of evidence, however handed down 17-year term each to the two senior police officers for ignoring security requirements.
Also, Musharraf accused Zardari, who served as President from 2008 to 2013, of being involved in the murder of Bhutto’s younger brother Murtaza Bhutto, who along with several comrades had been killed in a clash with police near his residence in southern port city of Karachi in Sep 1996.
Bhutto was serving as the country’s prime minister for the second term when her brother was killed.
“Asif Ali Zardari is responsible for the Bhutto family’s demise and is involved in the deaths of Benazir and Murtaza Bhutto,” Musharraf, who is currently living abroad, said in a message also posted on his official Facebook page.
“The evidence is clear that Baitullah Mehsud [founder of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan] and his people were involved in (Benazir’s) murder, but who had asked them to target Benazir Bhutto — it could not have been me, the group hated me and the feeling was mutual.”
Musharraf, who is also facing treason case for suspending the constitution in November 2007, charged that “great relationship” between Zardari and former Afghan President Hamid Karzai could have used to influence Mehsud to kill Benazir Bhutto.
“Zardari was in power for five years, why did he not look into the case, why was the investigation not active — because he was involved in Benazir’s murder.”
However, Zardari’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has rejected the allegations as “ridiculous”.
“Musharraf’s statement has made it further clear that he is involved in the murder of Benazir Bhutto. Therefore, he should be brought back to the country, and tried (for her murder),” Opposition Leader Khursheed Shah told local broadcaster ARY News.