DI Khan: Boy, key suspect held in BB murder plot
DERA ISMAIL KHAN: A teenaged boy arrested on Friday told investigators he was the next in line to kill former prime minister Benazir Bhutto had the Dec 27 attempt failed, a security official told Dawn on Saturday. “He appears to be part of the group that had planned the assassination, but not directly involved in it,” the official said in Peshawar.
The 18-year-old Aitzaz Shah, a native of Battal, in Mansehra district, used to live and study in Karachi. Aitzaz, according to the security official, also told the interrogators that he had been recruited by a cleric in Karachi and was sent to South Waziristan to train as a suicide bomber.
He said that he had trained in Makeen, South Waziristan, and knew about the group that had planned the assassination.
Aitzaz, who was arrested along with another man identified as Sher Zaman, was said to be cooperating with his interrogators. The official said that the real catch was Sher Zaman, who was Aitzaz’s handler. “He is the real catch.”
A police official said that Aitzaz had even identified as Bilal the man who had executed the plot and then blew himself up. Bilal was a member of the Al-Badar outfit. He claimed that he was the back-up for Bilal whose facilitator was Akram. Police are looking for Akram.
Police said that the two suspects were arrested while driving into the city in a car. On search, the police also recovered explosives. Police said that the teenager had been assigned by his handlers to target a Shia procession in the city that has seen spiral of sectarian violence in the past.
“The boy seems to be implicating militant commander, Baituallah Mehsud in Benazir’s assassination,” the official said.
He said the boy and his handler would be subjected to further interrogation to find more clues about Benazir’s murder and other terrorist acts in the country. “So far, what he has said is very sketchy but we would know more as we speak to him again,” he said.
Police refused to confirm and contradict Aitzaz’s statement and Interior Ministry’s spokesman, Brig (retd) Javed Iqbal Cheema told an international wire service he had no information to share.
But a spokesman for Mr. Mehsud denied Aitzaz had any link with his group. “We have denied our involvement in Benazir’s assassination before and are strongly denying this again. We are not involved in Benazir’s murder,” Maulvi Omar told Dawn in Tank near Dera Ismail Khan.
The complete article can be found at Dawn News.