An anti-terrorism court on Saturday summoned six witnesses, including US journalist Mark Siegel, on January 5th in the Benazir Bhutto murder case.
Five years following Bhutto’s assassination, FIA has yet to submit a complete report on the twice elected prime minister’s murder case. While, FIA had included as many as 55 prosecution witnesses, it has recorded statements of only 17 witnesses so far.
Mark Siegel, who has served as a lobbyist for Bhutto in the US had stated that he was with Ms Bhutto in London when former president Pervez Musharraf called and threatened her of dire consequences if she returned to Pakistan before the 2008 general elections.
“Mark Siegel’s statement is very important. If he appears before the court it could be a turning point in the case because he is an independent witness and holds records of important emails sent to him by Benazir Bhutto,” FIA Prosecutor General Chaudhry Zulfiqar told Pakistan Today.
He said that Siegal in a statement recorded by FIA had claimed that former president Musharraf telephoned Benazir Bhutto in his presence and allegedly threatened her and told her that he would not be responsible for her security if she returned home before the elections.
Two months before her death, Bhutto also sent an email to Siegel telling him if she were killed, Musharraf ought to be held responsible.
In the email, Bhutto also told Siegel that Musharraf denied providing her with additional security following the October suicide attack on her in Karachi.
Musharraf, who is FIA’s proclaimed offender in the case, has been living in self exile in London and Dubai for the past four years. So far no serious effort has been made from the government’s side to bring him back for his alleged involvement in Bhutto’s murder.
Other summoned witnesses include SSP Yasin Farooq‚ SP Ashfaq Anwar‚ Professor Dr Musaddaq and Dr Abdul Rehman from Rescue 1122.
Meanwhile, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) informed Interpol that former president of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf wanted to kill Bhutto because he considered her a threat to his tenure.
The statement came after Interpol rejected Pakistan’s request to arrest Musharraf, saying it was moved under political pressure.
FIA recently dispatched another letter to Interpol, requesting them to arrest Musharraf who is currently residing in London.
The agency also attached some documents as evidence and Musharraf’s arrest warrants with the letter.
The evidence dispatched with the letter on Thursday included a statement by Siegel and records of emails sent by Musharraf to Bhutto.
While talking to Pakistan Today, Naeem Tanoli who is counsel for five persons currently facing trial for murdering Bhutto, said, “There is no concrete evidence against the accused. In 2008 police arrested them and subjected them to severe torture to make them confess to the crime”.
He said there were many flaws in the investigation carried out by police and FIA. “Investigators claimed that the accused used U-fone SIMs to complete their mission but documents reveal they had Warid SIMs with them,” he pointed out.
FIA Prosecutor General Chaudhry Zulfiqar talking to Pakistan Today admitted there had been extraordinary delays in this case, blaming the court for them.
He said FIA was tasked to investigate the case in 2009. The agency had put the names of two Punjab Police officers-former Rawalpindi CPO Saud Aziz and former Rawal Town SP Khurram Shahzad-in the list of accused besides former president Musharraf, he stated.
The FIA prosecutor went on to say that Bhutto’s murder case was the only one not being heard on a daily basis. “Normally, hearings of other terrorism cases are being conducted on a day-to-day basis,” he said. Zulfiqar added that FIA had also filed a petition with Lahore High Court’s Rawalpindi bench seeking orders for conducting hearings of this case on a daily basis.
Talking to Pakistan Today, Chaudhry Muhammad Aslam, former protocol officer of Bhutto said, “Until and unless those who were responsible for her security at Liaqat Bagh are not interrogated there is no chance that the real killers would be unmasked ever”.
He added that the back-up Mercedez-Benz car had left earlier than Bhutto’s convoy which raised many important questions that needed to be answered.
Chaudhry, who is also a witness of Bhutto’s killing, said the murder of Khalid Shahensha, who was a key witness of the murder, also raised many questions. He said that Shahensha’s murder should be properly investigated.
Shahensha, who was with Bhutto on December 27, 2007, when she was assassinated, was mysteriously murdered by unidentified killers.