Nearly three years after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, a senior police officer, who was incharge of the security of the former premier, has said he was asked to leave the venue of Bhutto’s election rally before the attack.
Ashfaq Anwar, a superintendent of police (SP), has become an approver against the then city police officer in Rawalpindi, the city in Punjab province where Bhutto was allegedly killed in an attack in December, 2007.
Anwar, who was assigned the task to head the security at c where the public rally was to be held, has submitted a statement before magistrate Farrukh Nadeem Malik in Islamabad a few days ago, Express TV reported.
In the statement, Anwar has said that “he was responsible for the security of Benazir’s squad but city police officer (CPO) Saud Aziz ordered him to leave the premises and go to Koral Chowk (almost one km away) with his personnel on duty”.
“From there on, I was asked to go and check the security of public rally in Sadiqabad city that was scheduled to be addressed by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif,” he stated. “SSP operations Yasin Farooq ignored the vital elements while checking the security,” he alleged in his statement.
On the issue that who ordered the evidences from the blast site to be washed away immediately after the attack, Anwar said that “rescue officials did that on the clear instructions of SP Khurram Ishtiaq and CPO Saud Aziz”. “Similarly, SHO Kashif Riaz did not allow post-mortem of any body,” he pointed out.
According to an inquiry report, additional inspector general of police Abdul Majeed Chaudhury and Khusro Pervaiz, the then home secretary Punjab, have been cleared of any charge and their names have also been excluded from the exit control list (ECL).
The Federal Investigative Agency (FIA) is supposed to present the detailed challans of all the accused in the court Oct 30. The probe is being carried out by a joint investigation team that was constituted on the directions of the Punjab government more than a year ago.
Bhutto was assassinated Dec 27, 2007 after addressing an election rally in the northern Pakistani city of Rawalpindi. A teenaged shooter was seen aiming for her head in the CCTV footage before a powerful suicide blast killed at least 24 people participating in the rally.
The interior ministry at that time had accused Taliban of plotting to kill Bhutto while the doctors had said that “her head banged against the lever of the sunroof which caused her death”.
The actual cause of her death is still being debated among the quarters concerned while close associate Naheed Khan, who was also with her in the vehicle at that time, stressed that “she was killed by the gunshot because when she fell down, I saw a wound in her skull and the blood pouring out”.
A fact-finding commission of the UN also held “security lapse responsible for her death”.
Pakistani Anti-graft body wants travel ban on Nawaz Sharif, kin
Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdog has asked authorities to place ousted premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law on the Exit Control List to prevent them from leaving the country.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) sent a formal request to the ministry of interior. The interior ministry officials confirmed that the NAB wrote that names of Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar should be put on the Exit Control List (ECL), which listed individuals not allowed to leave Pakistan.
The NAB argued that as the trial of the three nears its conclusion, it is feared that they would leave the country.
Earlier, a similar request to place name of finance minister Ishaq Dar on ECL was not accepted, allowing him to go to London and never return.
Sharif, 68, and his family this week filed an application with the accountability court seeking a fortnight’s exemption from personal appearance from February 19 onwards to let them go to London to see Sharif’s ailing wife. Three cases were filed against Sharif and his family last year, including Avenfield properties, Azizia & Hill Metal Establishment, and Flagship Investments.
Maryam and Safdar are accused only in Avenfield properties case. The NAB had filed two supplementary references against Sharif, his sons Hasan and Hussain regarding Al-Azizia Steel Mills & Hill Metal Establishment and Flagship Investment cases.
Pakistan “breaches obligations’ on nuclear arms reduction, UN court told
The Hague: Pakistan is violating its “obligations” to the international community by failing to reduce its nuclear arsenal, the Marshall Islands told the UN’s highest court on Tuesday.
The small Pacific Island nation is this week launching three unusual cases against India, Pakistan and Britain before the International Court of Justice.
Majuro wants to put a new spotlight on the global nuclear threat, its lawyers said yesterday, by using its own experience with massive US-led nuclear tests in the 1940s and 1950s.
“Pakistan is in breach of its obligations owed to the international community as a whole,” when it comes to reducing its nuclear stockpile, said Nicholas Grief, one of the island nation’s lawyers.
DeBrum warned that even a “limited nuclear war” involving the two countries would “threaten the existence” of his island nation people.
Pakistan and India have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, two of them over the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir.
In 1998, the rival neighbours both demonstrated nuclear weapons capability.
The ICJ’s judges are holding hearings for the next week and a half to decide whether it is competent to hear the lawsuits brought against India and Pakistan — neither of which have signed the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
A third hearing against Britain — which has signed the NPT — scheduled to start on Wednesday will be devoted to “preliminary objections” raised by London.
The Marshalls initially sought to bring a case against nine countries it said possessed nuclear arms: Britain, China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia and the United States.
Israel has never admitted to having nuclear weapons.
But the Hague-based ICJ, set up in 1945 to rule in disputes between states, has only admitted three cases against Britain, India and Pakistan, because they have accepted the ICJ’s compulsory jurisdiction.
Pakistan’s lawyers did not attend Tuesday’s hearings.
It did however file a counter-claim against Majuro’s allegations saying “the court has no jurisdiction to deal with the application” and insisting that the case is “not admissible”, said ICJ President Ronny Abraham.
Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus
New Delhi: Bangladesh is likely to drop Islam as its official religion following a series of attacks on people from other faiths in the country. The country’s Supreme Court is hearing a plea challenging the status of the official religion of the country to Islam.
Bangladesh, which was declared a secular country after its formation in 1971, was declared an Islamic country following a constitutional amendment in 1988.
According to a report in the Daily Mail, the plea has challenged the declaration of Islam as the national religion of the country.
The move is being supported by leaders from the minority communities like Hindus, Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.
Bangladesh has 90 per cent of Muslims, 8 per cent Hindus and remaining constitutes Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.
In last month, a Hindu priest was hacked to death following an attack on a temple in Panchgarh district. Two others were seriously injured in the attack. There have been several lethal attacks on writers and bloggers.
According to a report in the Independent, Islamist groups Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh and Ansarullah Bangla Team are believed to have carried out at least seven attacks on foreign and minority people in Bangladesh in the past year.
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