Interior Minister Rehman Malik briefed members of the Sindh Assembly on Tuesday about the joint investigation team’s findings into Benazir Bhutto’s assassination that took place on December 27, 2007. He, however, failed to make the eager Pakistani, particularly her fans in the party, any wiser in that he unveiled virtually nothing new. Besides, the opposition parties have rightly termed his statement ‘full of contradictions’. That it should have taken the PPP-led government more than four years just to put the official seal on the reports of the tragic event that have been making the rounds in the country for quite some time constitutes a severe indictment on the party leadership for the lukewarm interest it took to probe its own leader’s murder. It must be recalled that the government had come under severe criticism for failing to institute a proper investigation into the case. It, instead, handed over to the UN the task that it should have done and though incurred millions of dollars in the process yet put aside its report rather than pursue the leads it had provided.
Mr Malik vowed to bring former President Musharraf back through the intercession of the Interpol “any time soon” to stand trial for not providing adequate security to Ms Bhutto. Interestingly, at the same time, Mr Malik charged Al-Qaeda and the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan with planning as well as executing the assassination. He maintained that as many as 27 terrorist groups had been involved and that Haqqania madrasah had been used for undertaking the sordid affair. He could not say, though, whether Maulana Samiul Haq, who runs the seminary, was in the know of it. The question is: How the Interior Minister would establish collusion between the self-exiled President and the militant outfits. It would hardly convince the man in the street, let alone an informed person, who is quite aware that General (retd) Musharraf was, in fact, fighting these outfits. That is what the war on terror is all about. He could not possibly be in league with them, facilitating the murder. It is, thus, doubtful whether the government would be able to persuade the Interpol to issue red warrant, arrest and deport him to Pakistan on the basis of the perception that he had not provided security in accordance with promise.
Reacting to Mr Malik’s statement, General Musharraf said that he was sure the Interpol would not touch him; the local administration and not he, as President, was responsible for her security. He raised two questions: who advised Ms Bhutto to raise her head out of the sunroof, and who was beneficiary of her death? Considering the loopholes in the charge against him in the PPP leader’s case, one should have wished that he was rather formally charged with the assassination of Nawab Akbar Bugti for which the evidence implicating him was much more solid enough for the Interpol to act. One really wonders whether the government is at all serious about getting hold of dictator Musharraf and bringing him to trial.