Former Pak police officer claims he was forced to implicate Musharraf in Benazir’s assassination case

Islamabad: A former high-profile police officer in Pakistan has claimed that he was forced by the then-interior minister Rehman Malik to implicate former military ruler General Pervez Musharraf in the probe into the assassination of ex-prime minister Benazir Bhutto, media reports said on Friday.
Responding to a question as to why he did not sign on purpose the report of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) constituted to probe the Benazir Bhutto assassination case, former police officer Rao Anwar in a telephonic interview told Geo News that Malik wanted Musharraf named without recording the former president’s statement or interrogating him.
“I did not sign [the JIT report] as Malik pressured me to accuse Musharraf,” Anwar said, adding that he “asked for evidence but he [the minister] did not have any”.
The former notorious police officer, who is now-a-days out on bail for being involved in about 400 fake encounter cases, also said that he was ready to give the statement under oath.
Bhutto, Pakistan’s first woman prime minister, was murdered on December 27, 2007 in a suicide bombing carried out by the Pakistani Taliban in Rawalpindi during an election rally.
Ikram Mehsud, who was said to be in-charge of the suicide attack, had been named as the main suspect. Baitullah Mehsud was named as the mastermind of the attack.
Anwar said that another terrorist group led by Tayyub Mehsud was involved in the October 18, 2007 attack on Bhutto’s motorcade in Karachi that left 180 people dead.
“They [Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party] could have arrested both Ikram and Tayyub and solved both cases,” Anwar said, adding that the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government in 2008, however, did not show seriousness in the cases.
The former police officer also raised doubts about Malik’s role and believed that the ex-interior minister should have been probed in the case as the head of Benazir Bhutto’s security, but was never interrogated.
Malik recently died of COVID-19 complications, and had not recorded his statement either with the Federal Investigation Agency or the Joint Investigation Team.
Anwar said there was no evidence to substantiate Bhutto’s claim in a letter to police that Musharraf, Chaudhry Pervez Elahi and Brig Ejaz Shah would be responsible if anything happened to her.
Asked as to why he was bringing these revelations to light now, the former police officer said he wanted to bring some “facts on record” after hearing about the deteriorating health of Musharraf.
Pakistan’s ex-military dictator Musharraf is in a UAE hospital in a critical condition with no possibility of recovery.
Musharraf, 78, who ruled Pakistan from 1999 to 2008, was charged with high treason and given a death sentence in 2019 for suspending the Constitution. His death sentence was later suspended.

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