RAWALPINDI: Two main prosecution witnesses in Benazir Bhutto's murder case on Thursday apprised an anti-terrorism court that the crime scene was washed off after collecting all necessary evidences as per practice followed in such incidents.
District Emergency Officer Dr Abdul Rehman and Firefighting Officer Ghulam Muhammad Naz appeared before Special Judge of ATC-1 Chaudhry Habibur Rehman for cross-questioning and informed that if the incident site was not cleansed timely, the law and order situation would have worsened there.
The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) chairperson and the former prime minister was assassinated at Liaquat Bagh, Rawalpindi on December 27, 2007.
The witnesses told the court that it has been a practice of the city's concerned departments that sites of bomb blasts or suicide attacks are washed off within 90 to 105 minutes aimed at avoiding public provocation.
Naz said that when he reached the site, security personnel and police team were busy in collecting evidences. “When all evidences were collected from the site, the firebrigade washed off the area after receiving the orders,” he said.
Dr Abdul Rehman informed the court that there was no negligence as all evidences were gathered with due care.
He said law and order situation in the city could have worsened, if the blood spots and wreckage of destroyed items were not removed from the incident site timely.
Senior Public Prosecutor of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ahmed and counsel for former police officials Malik Rafiq accused former city police officer Syed Saud Aziz and former superintendent of Rawal Town Police Khurram Shahzad.
Malik Rafiq asked various questions to the prosecution witnesses about hosing down the crime scene.
On Feb 13, the Lahore High Court had directed the ATC to complete the Benazir Bhutto murder case trial in three months.
The court issued the order on a petition filed by the FIA on Jan 5. The FIA had earlier filed three petitions for daily trial and the LHC had directed the ATC for expeditious disposal of the case.
The high-profile case has lingered on in courts for more than five years now.