Playing on own turf | Pakistan Today

Playing on own turf

Benazir Bhutto murder case – the government goes official with nothing new but leaving more questions to be answered. A go-getting team, led by Interior Minister Rehman Malik, on Tuesday briefed the Sindh assembly on the progress into the investigation of former prime minister and chairperson of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Benazir Bhutto’s murder.
Understandably, the briefing was arranged following the provincial assembly’s resolution to apprise the members about the progress made to not only expose the culprits but also arrest them. Having listened to the lead investigator and an emotionally-charged Rehman Malik, one concludes that it was an old story repeatedly told but the significance of its timing was certainly politically important – we are in the election year.
Why such a briefing has not been arranged for the members of the National Assembly? Answer: The Sindh assembly had passed a resolution for the briefing to the members. Are the PPP members in the National Assembly not interested in knowing what progress has been made in the murder case of their leader? Answer: They must be. Then, why it was Sindh assembly and not the National Assembly? Answer: Because, the PPP members of the National Assembly did not seek such a briefing.
No. It’s because the PPP relates itself to Sindh more than any other part of the country – the Sindh card remains its strength. Another reason of not organizing such a hi-tech briefing with multi-media by the investigators for its National Assembly members was because the PPP does not have a majority in the lower house of parliament where the members from other political parties, particularly some pro-Musharraf PML-Q ones, would surely ask poignantly pungent questions – it was not the PPP’s turf.
So the choice was rightfully Sindh assembly. Though some members did ask a couple of questions which continue to boggle the minds of many, the Speaker tactfully called it a day to avoid any tantrums being thrown. The most pointed question was: Why the autopsy was not conducted? Rehman Malik and the investigators comfortably put the blame on to the police officers. The nation was, however, told that Asif Ali Zardari, the husband of Benazir Bhutto, had disallowed the medical examination of his wife’s dead body.
The information in the briefing was not new as it had already been reported in media in bits and pieces but it was holistic and for the first time official by the PPP government. Rehman Malik claimed that former President Pervez Musharraf would be brought back home, through the Interpol, to stand in the dock and answer the questions. It’s a mere rhetoric for political consumption.
If anything revealing is expected, it will be the statement of Brigadier Javed Iqbal Cheema, former spokesman of the Interior Ministry, before the court. He is the man who had first officially appeared before media to give details of the December 27, 2007, ghastly incident. The investigators claimed Brigadier Cheema had told them that what he had said before the media was the information given to him by an “agency” and this decision was taken at a meeting chaired by Pervez Musharraf.
As for the killers of Benazir Bhutto, their names still remain unnamed. A conspiracy to kill Benazir Bhutto and its linkage with the TTP were what the briefing was all about. Asif Ali Zardari, who is now the president of the country, is husband of the former prime minister and father of her children as well. He has always said that he knows who had killed his wife. For all the three reasons, one cannot say that he does not know as to who had killed her. But he remains tight-lipped. Rehman Malik, however, dissociated himself from being part or in-charge of Beanzir Bhutto’s security detail – the briefing served his purpose, at least.



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