Benazir assassinated for supporting Lal Masjid operation

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Pakistan terror
Islamabad, Feb 13: In what can be seen as a major break through in Former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's assassination case, the anti-terrorism court has been told that she faced the terror attack for her support to the Lal Masjid operation.

The matter was mentioned in a report that appeared in the Dawn newspaper on the confessional statements recorded of the accused - Rafaqat Hussain, Husnain Gul and Aitzaz Shah on Feb 13, 2008. In the statement made before Magistrate Taufiq Ahmed, the accused stated that Bhutto was killed for the Lal Masjid operation that saw the death of 23 people.

The accused was quoted as saying to the magistrate that they regretted the incident and was ready to receive any punishment for the act.

The Lal Masjid operation is a dark period in Pakistan's fight against militants and Islamic fundamentalists in July 2007. The operation was ordered by the then President Pervez Musharraf.

In a hearing on the Bhutto assassination case at Rawalpindi's Central Jail, the magistrate read out the confessional statements before the anti-terrorism court. As per the statements, the accused had reportedly received Rs 3,60,000 from militant leader Baitullah Mehsood while his associates, Abdullah alias Saddam and Qari Ismail, provided them two suicide bombers Saeed alias Bilal and Ikramullah.

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