Sunday , January 20 2019

Rehman Malik wants Benazir’s assassins brought back from Afghanistan – Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Senator Rehman Malik of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has urged the government to request Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani to hand over the assassins of his party’s former chairperson, the late Benazir Bhutto, and has suggested reaching out to Interpol for help in this regard.

Mr Malik, who is currently the chairperson of the Senate Standing Committee on Interior, has also taken notice of a recently-published book titled Inqilab Mehsud South Waziristan: From British Raj to American Imperialism, which claims responsibility for the assassination of the late PPP leader, and has suggested that the government take action against the writer and others mentioned in the book.

In a letter addressed to Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, the PPP senator demanded that the government of Afghanistan must be requested to deport Ikramullah, a surviving suicide bomber allegedly involved in the assassination of the late PPP chairperson, and Abu Mansoor Asim Mufti Noor Wali, the author of the book, both of whom are Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leaders, currently taking shelter in Afghanistan. He said that further facts regarding the PPP leader’s assassination would be revealed during their interrogation.

According to a statement issued on Friday, Mr Malik said the book had reportedly been written by a senior leader of the TTP, which has claimed responsibility for Ms Bhutto’s assassination. He said it was for the first time that the banned militant outfit had officially confessed to the murder of his party head. “As the book has made leading claims, therefore it is necessary that investigation into Benazir Bhutto’s case to be revisited,” he stressed.

Mr Malik, a former interior minister himself, said that the earlier investigation conducted by a joint investigation team had also concluded that the TTP and Al Qaeda had carried out the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and then TTP chief Baitullah Mehsud and his associates had planned the attack at Miranshah, North Waziristan Agency.

He said that according to earlier investigations conducted by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), two suicide bombers — Bilal aka Saeed, and Ikramullah — had been sent by Mehsud to assassinate Ms Bhutto. Bilal blew himself up at Liaquat Bagh, resulting in the martyrdom of Ms Bhutto, while Ikramullah escaped from the scene. Mr Rehman added that Ikramullah was currently based in the area of Paktia, which falls under the control of Afghanistan.

About the first assassination attempt on Ms Bhutto at Karsaz in Karachi, the author of the book says: “Prior to return of Benazir Bhutto for elections of 2008, Baitullah Mehsud had already planned action against her as she was coming back to carry out plans against ‘Mujahideen-e-Islam’ as per desire of America. In order to frustrate the American plan, two suicide bombers namely Mohsin Mehsud and Rehmatullah Mehsud carried out suicide attacks on Benazir Bhutto at Karsaz, Karachi, in October 2007, which resulted in killing of approximately 200 people but Benazir Bhutto escaped the attack. The reason for the unsuccessful attack was the deviation of the instructions by the suicide bombers. The suicide bombers abandoned their place of position, which was near the stage, and carried out their attacks in hurry.
Both the suicide bombers were associated with the training camp of Maulvi Azmatullah.”

Mr Malik has, in his letter, also referred to other claims made by the writer: “Benazir Bhutto was killed in a suicide attack in Rawalpindi on December 27, 2007, carried out by TTP. Two suicide bombers, Bilal aka Saeed and Ikramullah, were tasked to carry out the attack on Benazir Bhutto on December 27, 2007. The first suicide bomber, Bilal aka Saeed, fired at Benazir Bhutto from his pistol and the bullet hit her neck. Then he detonated his explosive jacket and blew himself up in the middle of the participants of the procession. The second suicide bomber, Ikramullah, a resident of Makeen Town in South Waziristan, escaped from the blast site and is still alive. According to Maulvi Imran, who was interviewed by the author of the book, he [Maulvi Imran] was assisted by Ahmed, Qari Ismail and Mullah Ehsan in the assassination attempt on Benazir Bhutto.”

Mr Malik said in his letter: “I demand the federal government to have these new disclosures verified and get Ikramullah and Author Abu Mansoor deported from Afghanistan to Pakistan for investigation to collect more information from them and take further legal action.” He has also asked the Sindh chief minister to ensure that the investigation into the Karsaz incident is reopened and revisited in the light of the new claims made in the book.

Senator Malik said that being chairman of the Senate Committee on Interior, he had taken up the issue in the committee, and requested that a high-powered inquiry team be formed to investigate the claims made by the writer.
He said the author had not only shared details about the assassination of Ms Bhutto, but also details of other hundreds of terrorist attacks.

Published in Dawn, February 3rd, 2018

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