Islamabad: Pakistan’s former military ruler Pervez Musharraf is denying that he bears any responsibility for the 2007 assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who was killed in suicide attack in the city of Rawalpindi while campaigning to replace him as president.
In a video message from his exile in London on Friday, Musharraf says Bhutto’s husband, Asif Ali Zardari, was the only one who “benefited from Bhutto’s murder” and later became president while he, Musharraf, had to step down.
A Pakistani court last month sentenced two former police officers to 17 years in prison for failing to protect Bhutto.
Musharraf, accused of complicity in the assassination, had pleaded not guilty at a 2013 court appearance. The judge in August ordered his property seized after he failed to appear in court. Bhutto’s daughters on Friday hit out at Musharraf for accusing their father of being responsible for her assassination, calling the former dictator a “murderer” and “coward”.
On Thursday, Musharraf claimed that Zardari was responsible for Benazir’s death and said the former president gained the most from the assassination of the country’s first woman prime minister.
Benazir’s younger daughter, Aseefa Bhutto Zardari, tweeted she was “disgusted and appalled by media houses that are giving attention to this murderer, who ran away”.
“Blaming the victim. #ShameOnMusharraf,” she said in another tweet.
Benazir’s elder daughter, Bakhtawar, slammed Musharraf too.
“Musharraf should quit talk shows and come talk in the courts of Pakistan. Coward. #ArrestMush #BlamingTheVictim,” she said in a tweet.
“And he ran away crying like a coward. Musharraf too busy on golf courses please come to Pakistan and face real courts #ArrestMusharraf,” she said.
Bakhtawar also retweeted her sister Aseefa’s tweet.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Khursheed Shah wondered if there was a close link between Zardari and Tehreek-e-Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud, how come Musharraf didn’t disclose it earlier, Geo News reported.
The 54-year-old PPP chief and a two-time prime minister was killed along with more than 20 people in a gun and bomb attack in Rawalpindi’s Liaquat Bagh during an election campaign rally on December 27, 2007.
Former president and army chief Gen Musharraf, who was last month declared a fugitive by an antiterrorism court which ordered seizure of his property in the Bhutto murder case, accused PPP co-chairman Zardari of “having the most to gain from Benazir Bhutto’s murder” in a video posted on his official Facebook page yesterday.
Musharraf, 74, who came to power in a bloodless coup in 1999, has been living in Dubai since last year when he was allowed to leave Pakistan on the pretext of medical treatment.