Benazir Bhutto
Former premier Benazir Bhutto. — File photo

RAWALPINDI: Hearing in the Benazir Bhutto assassination case took an uncanny twist on Saturday when the defence counsel pointed out that the call data of the Zong cellular company provided by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) was not admissible as evidence because the firm launched its business in Pakistan in 2008, whereas the tragedy occurred in 2007.

Naseer Tanoli, counsel for accused Rafaqat Hussain and Husnain Gul, during a cross-examination of prosecution witness Ahmed Faisal, a manager at Zong, told anti-terrorism court judge Shahid Rafique in Adiala jail that the call data of his clients and Nasrullah, an aide to the late Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan leader Baitullah Mehsud, could not be linked with the assassination because the cellular company did not exist in the country when the incident occurred on Dec 27, 2007.

The FIA produced three more witnesses for cross-examination. Chaudhry Mohmmad Taufique, a judicial magistrate, who recorded confessional statements of the accused, told the court that Rafaqat Hussain, Husnain Gul and Aitzaz Shah had confessed to their crime and signed their statements with their thumb impressions.

The defence counsel did not cross-examine magistrate Taufique and the court, while giving them final opportunity for cross-examining, adjourned the hearing to Feb 4.—Malik Asad

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