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Old Sunday, December 19, 2010
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Default Murder will out - Roedad Khan

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Murder will out

Roedad Khan

Political crimes are far worse than common crimes because, in the former case, only individuals are wounded, whereas in the latter, the existence of free society itself is threatened. I was frightened for my country the day Benazir was assassinated and horror of horror, the scariest moment of all, when Zardari was elected as the president of Pakistan.

Who killed Benazir? Who cut short her life so full of promise? The UN commission assigned to enquire into the facts and circumstances of her death does not answer this question. For some inexplicable reason, its hands seemed to be tied. It was appointed, it seems, not to unmask the killer, but only to determine the facts and circumstances of the assassination! The duty of carrying out a serious, credible, criminal investigation to determine who conceived, ordered, and executed this heinous crime remains with the PPP government. Isn’t it tragic that even after 28 months of her assassination nobody knows who killed her?

“Men may lie. Circumstances never lie,” is a guiding principle of the law of evidence. Some facts and circumstances determined by the UN commission of inquiry speak for themselves and are worth quoting:

* “The Commission is persuaded that the Rawalpindi Police Chief, CPO Saud Aziz, did not act independently of higher authorities, either in the decision to hose down the crime scene or to impede the Post-Mortem examination.” -Section 259 (x)

* “The rapid departure of the only back-up vehicle in which Mr Malik and other senior PPP leaders rode, was a serious security lapse.” -Section 236. (It allowed Ms Bhutto’s damaged vehicle to become isolated?)

* “There was not an effective criminal investigation of either the Karachi or the Rawalpindi attacks. This is inexplicable.” -Section 238

* “Ms Bhutto was killed more than two years ago. A government headed by her party, the PPP, has been in office for most of that time, and it only began the further investigation, a renewal of the stalled official investigation in October 2009. This is surprising to the Commission.” -Section 247

* “The Commission’s effort to determine the facts and circumstances of Ms Bhutto’s assassination is not a substitute for an effective, official criminal investigation. These activities should have been carried out simultaneously.” -Section 247

Many questions arise in one’s mind that remain unanswered:

* Mr Zardari is on record having said – not once but a number of times – that he knew who the killers of his wife are. If so, why hasn’t he brought this vital piece of information to the notice of the police?

* The FIR is a very important document as it sets the process of criminal justice in motion. The success or failure of the prosecution in a murder case depends to a large extent on the contents of the FIR and when it was lodged. Why didn’t Zardari lodge an FIR in the police station at the earliest opportunity?

* The post-mortem, the examination of a body after death, is a legal requirement and is carried out by pathologists in order to identify the cause of death. Why did Zardari refuse to have post-mortem performed on BB’s body? Why was it refused by the police? Why were they not interested in identifying the cause of BB’s death?

* Why was General Musharraf, a known suspect in the murder of BB, allowed to leave the country by the PPP government which was firmly in position at the time of his exit from the country? Was it all part of some deal?

The assassination of Benazir, a stain on the nation’s conscience, still haunts me. Tragically, her death is fast becoming a non-event. It seems no one is interested in unraveling the mystery surrounding her assassination or unmasking the perpetrator or perpetrators of this dastardly crime. Should the high and mighty, with blood on their hands, get off so easily when ordinary people committing petty crimes are sent to jail?

“It is essential,” the UN report says, “that the perpetrators of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto be brought to justice. The government of Pakistan should ensure that the further investigation into the assassination of Ms Bhutto is fully empowered, and resourced and is conducted expeditiously with no hindrance.”

Is the PPP government prepared to do that? Even though it’s already very late, will the PPP government set up a high-powered judicial commission headed by a judge of the Supreme Court?

The blood of Benazir calls for justice, not revenge. The PPP government owes it to its martyred leader to unmask her killer, whoever he may be, and bring him to justice. Let an enquiry be held in broad daylight. We will not be able to live with ourselves if we do not see to it that the truth is unveiled. The interests involved are too great and the men who wish to stifle the truth are too powerful, and the truth will not be known for sometime. But there is no doubt that ultimately every bit of it, without exception, will be divulged.

Truth carries a power within it that sweeps away all obstacles. And whenever its way is barred, whenever someone does succeed in burying it for any time at all, it builds up underground, gathering such explosive force that the day it bursts out at last, it blows up everything with it.

The writer is a former federal secretary.

When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk. ~ The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
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