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Benazir Bhutto murder case: ATC summons Rehman Malik

REHMAN MALIK

ISLAMABAD:(APS)FEB 3,2016- An anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Rawalpindi has summoned former interior minister senator Rehman Malik to record his statement in the Benazir Bhutto murder case against the former dictator General (Rtd) Pervez Musharraf.

Rehman Malik was the head of Benazir Bhutto’s security when she was assassinated in December 2007 at Liaquat Baagh, Rawalpindi. He is also one of the prime witnesses that the prosecution has presented the ATC against General Musharraf.

According to the prosecution, Rehman Malik claims that he was present with Benazir Bhutto when General Musharraf threatened her at the Dubai meeting in 2007. Mr. Malik testified that General Musharraf told the former prime minister that her future depended on her relationship with him (Musharraf).

The former interior minister also claims that he wrote numerous letters to General Musharraf requesting him to provide appropriate security for Benazir Bhutto but he never received any reply from the former dictator.

Last month, General Pervez Musharraf was acquitted in the murder case of former Baloch activist Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti by the anti-terrorism court in Quetta. The former dictator was indicted in the murder case back in January, 2015. The court also rejected the request of Nawabzada Jamil Akbar Bugti, son of late Bugti, to allow an exhumation of the body of Bugti who is buried in Dera Bugti.

Akbar Khan Bugti was killed in a military operation in Chalgri area of Bhamboor of Dera Bugti district on August 26, 2006. Protests were launched all over Pakistan against General Pervez Musharraf who was the president of Pakistan at the time of the operation. Bugti’s family had named Pervez Musharraf as the principle suspect in the murder case of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti and a formal FIR was registered against Musharraf under sections 302 and 304 in 2009.

Bugti’s son, Jamil Bugti had requested the court to invite International forensic experts to Pakistan so that a DNA test can be performed on the body. He also claimed that no member of the immediate family was present at the time of burial of Akbar Khan Bugti in Dera Bugti therefore a detailed DNA analysis was required to confirm the identification of the deceased.

The anti-terrorism court in Quetta rejected the appeal and acquitted Musharraf along with the two ministers who had been charged with murder. The lawyer for the Bugti family has shown displeasure and concerns over the decision made by the court.

“We are not satisfied with this judgment and we will challenge it,” Sohail Rajput told reporters outside the court.

In 2005, Bugti alongside Mir Balach Marri (leader of the Marri tribe) had presented a 15-point agenda to the Musharraf government which included the demand of providing more control over the resources of Balochistan and a temporary halt on making military bases in the province. In the meantime, the number of attacks on Pakistan’s military convoys increased in Balochistan which initiated an operation against Bugti in 2006 during which he was killed under unclear circumstances in a cave where he was hiding.

Moreover, American journalist, Mark Siegal claimed that he was present with the former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto when she received a threatening call from Musharraf, warning her not to come back to Pakistan. The journalist also mentioned his conversation with Benazir where she had claimed that President Musharraf refused her request of hiring foreign security teams for her security which eventually lead to her assassination in 2007.

 The former president rejected the statements made by journalist Mark Siegal and called the statements ‘a pack of lies’.

Mark Siegal recorded his statement for the ATC on January 20th via a video link from USA.

The prosecution claims that the testimony of Rehman Malik will strengthen the prosecution’s case against former president General (Rtd) Pervez Musharraf who is the prime suspect in the Benazir Bhutto murder case.

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