Musharraf charged with providing Baitullah with ‘opportunity to murder Benazir’

Saturday, February 12, 2011

RAWALPINDI - Former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf provided Tehrik-i-Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud with the opportunity to carry out suicide attacks on former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, according to a detailed charge-sheet presented in Rawalpindi’s Anti Terrorism Court (ATC).

Benazir was targeted in a gun and bomb attack as she was leaving Liaqat Bagh in Rawalpindi after addressing a public rally on December 27, 2007.

Khalid Qureshi, head of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing Benazir’s assassination, met Interior Ministry officials and briefed them about the challan submitted by the Federal Investigation Agency in the ATC earlier this week, the Dawn quoted sources, as saying.

The sources also claimed that the challan contained 12 charges against Musharraf.

According to the FIA, “Pervez Musharraf had prior knowledge of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto by accused Baitullah Mehsud, the TTP chief, but he (Musharraf) withheld this piece of vital information.”

The sources claimed that the FIA, in its challan, had said: Based on motive, circumstantial evidence and statements mentioned above, it is prima facie established that Musharraf is equally responsible with criminal mens rea for facilitation and abetment of assassinating Benazir Bhutto through his government’s unjustified failure in providing her the requisite security protection her status deserved as twice prime minister.”

Mens rea is a legal term that means “the intention or knowledge of wrongdoing that constitutes part of a crime”.

The FIA also alleged that Musharraf did not take any action against the police officers responsible for protecting Benazir.

The sources said the FIA had informed the Interior Ministry that it had applied for non-bailable arrest warrants of Musharraf to “compel him” to appear before Rawalpindi’s ATC.

According to the agency, the fact that the former military ruler did not order any judicial inquiry into Benazir’s murder lent strength to its suspicions against him. (ANI)

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