Benazir 'betrayed by own party' more than Musharraf over assassination probe: Pak editorial

Islamabad, Nov 24 (ANI): Former Pakistan premier Benazir Bhutto, who had expressed apprehensions regarding her security and named three individuals- including former president Pervez Musharraf- to be held responsible if anything were to happen to her, seems to have been betrayed by her own party that failed to hold impartial investigations into her assassination even after coming to power, a Pakistani newspaper editorial has said.

"Benazir may not have been betrayed as much by Musharraf as she has been by her own party. Her spirit still hovers in a void, seeking closure and justice," the Daily Times editorial said.

Taking note of the latest development in Benazir assassination case, in which the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has decided to send a questionnaire to Musharraf, the editorial questioned why this exercise could not be undertaken while the former general "was still in Pakistan, and what legal value would this investigation hold when the prescribed procedure for law enforcement agencies is to collect all evidence and record necessary statements before presenting the challan."

It also raised doubts over how Musharraf would be disposed to reply to the questionnaire- yet to be approved by the interior ministry- and how his responses could be verified.

"The utterly dubious nature of this exercise seems to indicate that it is meant for public consumption rather than producing any meaningful evidence," the editorial said, adding that this instance was "symptomatic of the way the government has handled the matter throughout."

It pointed out that regarding the assassination, the buck stops with "Musharraf and his coterie of generals, who were then running the show. Why did investigators fail to probe accordingly? In the challan submitted to the court, the FIA makes ambiguous reference to the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) while expressing its inability to examine Musharraf despite efforts to that effect. Nor has it been able to question serving generals who formed part and parcel of Musharraf's coterie. Without these critical examinations, the probe remains incomplete."

"It may be concluded that the PPP, despite being in power, was too feeble to stand up to the formidable power of General Musharraf," the editorial stated, adding that ever since the PPP came to power, "there does not seem to have been any serious effort to unearth who committed this gruesome deed."

The editorial said that it was expedient to let Musharraf off the hook when the PPP had freshly received the present of the NRO from him, which paved the way for its coming back to power.

"Holding impartial investigations would mean also questioning two prominent ministers and close aides of President Zardari, who were in charge of Benazir's security and whose conduct on the day of the incident left many questions unanswered," it added. (ANI)

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