Former president Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf has blamed Pakistan Peoples Party supremo and former president Asif Ali Zardari for the murder of his wife and former premier Benazir Bhutto.
In a video message, Musharraf, the former army chief, said he was sending out this message as Zardari had personally called him out by blaming him for Benazir’s murder.
In his message, Musharraf says that a few days ago, the anti-terrorism court hearing the Benazir Bhutto murder case gave its verdict.
“Every Pakistani is concerned that two distinguished police officers got punished but the real terrorists were exonerated,” said Musharraf.
However, one day ago, Zardari remarked that I am responsible for Benazir’s murder. “This is the first time he’s called me out on this by name. I cannot tolerate this,” lamented the former army chief.
While political assassinations have stained this country’s past, Benazir Bhutto was an iconic leader of the modern era — the investigation and trials relating to her murder ought to have been conducted with clarity and purpose rather than hastily and seemingly with an intent to obfuscate.
If the investigations and prosecutions were poorly managed, then who was responsible for those lapses? Five terrorism suspects accused of direct involvement in the plot to assassinate her have been exonerated, but the judgement has offered little insight into whether they were wrongly implicated or some other troubling chain of events occurred during the investigation and prosecution phases.
Two senior police officers have been convicted in the case and they may bear personal responsibility for their actions, but it is inconceivable that they acted alone in the manner the court has suggested. Who instructed the police officers to behave in the unprofessional manner that they did?
Moreover, while Mr Musharraf has been declared an absconder in the case, there is no clarity on what specific charges a trial against him can be attempted — assuming the self-exiled former dictator ever returns to Pakistan to face them. Now Mr Musharraf’s ugly remarks threaten to eclipse the fact that the greatest tragedy of the modern era in the country remains unsolved.