Benazir assassination case accused disappears from Pak jail

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Lahore: A man acquitted in the assassination case of former Pakistan prime minister Benazir Bhutto was reported as missing from the high-security Kot Lakhpat jail Lahore, a media report said today.

Benazir, the first woman prime minister of Pakistan, was killed in a gun and suicide attack at an election rally in Rawalpindi on December 27, 2007.

The accused, Rafaqat Hussain’s father filed a plea to the Rawalpindi bench in the Lahore High Court (LHC) and claimed his son had gone missing from the prison, Express News reported.

He maintained that Hussain was acquitted in the case but was still being detained in jail.

Justice Sadaqat Ali Khan accepted the application for hearing and issued a notice to the local senior police official and directed for a reply to be submitted on July 16, the report said.

An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) had acquitted Hussain in August 2017, however, he was kept in detention, it said.

Earlier, an anti-terrorism court acquitted five accused for lack of evidence and branded former military ruler Pervez Musharraf a fugitive.

ATC Judge Mohammad Asghar Khan found two police officers guilty of “mishandling the crime scene”, making them the only people to have been convicted over the assassination of Benazir.

The judge not only declared Musharraf a “proclaimed offender”, but also ordered confiscation of his property.

In 2013, Musharraf was charged with murder, criminal conspiracy for murder, and facilitation for murder. But he has been in self-imposed exile in Dubai ever since a travel ban was lifted three years later, the report said. PTI