Rawalpindi: ‘Five involved in assassination’
RAWALPINDI: A five-man group was involved in the assassination of PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto, but their link with militant commander Baitullah Mehsud has not been established, Chaudhry Abdul Majid, the Additional Inspector General of CID who is heading the government’s investigation into the assassination, told a press conference on Wednesday.
He said of the five, two had been captured, the man who fired shots later blew himself up and the fourth, another suicide bomber who was at the other end of Liaquat Bagh, escaped. He was waiting to strike if the first shooter failed. The “handler” is yet be traced.
It was the second press conference by Chaudhry Majid on Ms Bhutto’s assassination, but the question who was behind the plot remained unanswered.
“The planning of the Dec 27 assassination of Ms Bhutto was made by the group in Nov 2007,” he said, adding “Their link with militant commander Baitullah Mehsud has not been established so far.”
Officials had on Feb 7 claimed to have arrested two important suspects — Husnan Gul and Rafaqat — who allegedly facilitated the suicide attack on Ms Bhutto.
The AIG said Husnan Gul got jihad training in Merit Shah. There he developed acquaintance with some people who gave him the task to target the armed forces and police in Rawalpindi.
“Former federal minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed was on their target list and they had made some attempts on him but did not succeed. Ahmedia Library at the Committee Chowk and Abu Huraira Masjid near the Transit Camp were among their targets,” Mr Majeed said.
He said that the same group was behind the September 4 suicide attack in RA Bazar. One army officer and 10 other people were killed and 12 injured in the blast.
The AIG identified the suicide attacker of RA Bazar as Usman, adding that a suicide attack in the Golf Course club had been carried out by Shahid and the same group was behind it. Eight people were killed and 13 others injured in that blast.
Mr Majeed said Saeed alias Bilal, who carried out the suicide attack on Benazir Bhutto, and Ikramullah, who was covering the suicide attacker, had come to Rawalpindi on Dec 26. They were picked up by Rafaqat from the Pirwadhai bus stand. Rafaqat took them to Husnan Gul’s house in Quaid-i-Azam colony where they stayed.
He said Rafaqat and one of his accomplices had carried out a round of Liaquat Bagh.
“It was Husnan who provided a suicide vest and an optical device to Saeed, while suicide jacket, pistol and optical device were also given to Ikramullah,” the AIG added.
He said the group arrived at the Committee Chowk on a taxi and later went to Liaquat Bagh via Iqbal Road and College Road.
He said that one of their accomplices went inside the Bagh who informed the others outside about the arrival of Ms Bhutto. “They had attempted to bring Saeed alias Bilal inside Liaquat Bagh to carry out the suicide attack on the rally, but they could not do so due to security,” Mr Majeed said.
He said that there had been five people present in the vicinity of Liaquat Bagh and it was Saeed who fired shots and later blew himself up. Answering a question, Mr Majeed said the investigators had not been able to find Ms Bhutto’s “dupata” she was wearing at the time.
He said that during the interrogation, the accused said that they were angry over Ms Bhutto’s pro-West attitude and they were afraid of strong action against them if she came to power.
Husnan Gul had been a madressah student in Hazro. Rafaqat is his cousin and his sister is married to Husnan and lives in Quaid-i-Azam colony.
Meanwhile, the two suspects arrested in connection with the killing of Ms Bhutto’s were produced before the court of Special Judicial Magistrate Chaudhry Taufiq Ahmed on Wednesday where their statements were recorded amid tight security.
Husnan Gul and Rafaqat were brought to the court in a police armoured vehicle. They remained in the court for about five hours and were later taken to Adiala jail.
The complete article can be found at Dawn News.