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Pervez Musharraf, former president of Pakistan, has been formally accused in the Benazir Bhutto assassination case in a report submitted by the Federal Investigation Agency Monday. Investigators have requested the Anti-Terrorism Court to declare him as an absconder according to FIA Public Prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali due to lack of cooperation.
Musharraf is suspected of giving inadequate protection to Benazir Bhutto at the time of the assassination; the two appointed police officials in charge of her security said that Musharraf removed a security detail shortly before she was killed. Both officials are under detention at present.
Musharraf is also accused of giving orders to hose down the scene of the crime, said Prosecutor Chaudry Zulfiqar Ali, which made it more difficult to gather evidence.
A report of the United Nations Commission of Inquiry into the Facts and Circumstances of the Assassination of Former Pakistani Prime Minister Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto reads:
“On 27 December 2007, former Pakistani Prime Minister Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto was assassinated as she left a campaign event at Liaquat Bagh, in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi … Ms Bhutto’s assassination could have been prevented if adequate security measures had been taken. The responsibility for Ms Bhutto’s security on the day of her assassination rested with the federal Government, the government of Punjab and the Rawalpindi District Police. None of these entities took the necessary measures to respond to the extraordinary, fresh and urgent security risks that they knew she faced.”
According to Zulfiqar, Musharraf did not respond to repeated requests for questioning at his London home and has denied accusations in the past; he had blamed the Taliban leader Baitullad Mehsood for Bhutto’s murder at the time, an accusation that was denied by the Pakistani Taliban. The prosecutor requested the court to declare Musharraf a proclaimed offender if he fails to appear in court at the next hearing on Feb. 12.
Musharraf ousted elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a coup in 1999 as chief of Pakistan’s army. In 2008, he resigned as president.