Thursday, 29 December 2011

New evidence in Benazir murder case

Dawn reports an interesting development in the investigation into the murder of Benazir Bhutto, almost exactly four years ago on 27 December 2007. The paper has published a five-line letter from Brigadier Abdul Basit Rana on behalf of the then head of the ISI, to Syed Kamal Shah, secretary of Pakistan's Interior Ministry.
The letter, dated 10 December 2007 and headlined 'al-Qaeda Threat', states: "It has reliably been reported that a few extremist groups related to al Qaeda have made some plan to assassinate Mrs.Benzir Bhutto and her adviser Mr Rehman Malik on 21 December 2007. The exact plan of execution not known."
Immediately on receiving the letter Kamal Shah added in his own writing "This is a threat with specific date, we should sensitize them". He directed Brig Javed Iqbal Cheema, then director general of the Interior Ministry's National Crisis Management Cell,  to speak to Rehman Malik and warn him. Cheema wrote back to say he had done so. Malik is known immediately to have written a three-page memo requesting a tightening of security around the recently returned politician.
According to Dawn, Brig Rana, who provided the intelligence, has yet to appear in front of the official investigation into Bhutto's murder, so it is uncertain where the information originated. Bhutto was killed in a gun and bomb attack on her car in Rawalpindi. It is widely believed that the killing was organised by Baitullah Mahsud, then leader of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan. Mahsud was killed in a drone strike in August 2009.
Bhutto in Rawalpindi moments before she was killed

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