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LAHORE: The Counter Terrorism Department, Rawalpindi, has arrested a prime suspect in the murder case of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto after he was released from Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore.

The Kot Lakhpat jail authority has released suspect Rafaqat Hussain after he managed to secure bail in the Benazir Bhutto murder case.

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairperson and two-time former prime minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in a gun and bomb attack at an election campaign rally in Rawalpindi’s Liaquat Bagh on Dec 27, 2007.

An official seeking anonymity told Dawn that Rafaqat was shifted to Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat Jail from Rawalpindi prison following some administrative arrangements.

He said the Kot Lakhpat jail officials got his release orders on June 23, 2018, and following written orders, they released Rafaqat Hussain.

His elder brother received him outside the jail, he said adding that as soon as he reached his destination, a CTD team from Rawalpindi raided and arrested him in a terror attack case lodged with a local police station.

“The CTD arrested him in another suicide attack carried out on Feb 6, 2007 at Rawalpindi International Airport,” the official said.

According to this case, he said, the terrorist had detonated a bomb in a parking area of the airport wounding some law-enforcement agencies personnel and killing himself after a brief exchange of fire.

Meanwhile, the official said, the suspect’s father also filed a plea to the Rawalpindi bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) claiming that Rafaqat Hussain had gone missing from the prison.

He claimed that his son was acquitted in the murder case of Benazir Bhutto in August 2017 but was detained in Punjab’s various jails.

Lately, Rafaqat was shifted to the Kot Lakhpat Jail from where he went missing under mysterious circumstances, he claimed.

Earlier, an anti-terrorism court acquitted five suspects for lack of evidence and declared former military ruler Pervez Musharraf a fugitive.

ATC Judge Muhammad Asghar Khan found two police officers guilty of ‘mishandling the crime scene’, making them the only people to have been convicted of the assassination of Benazir in a gun and suicide attack in Rawalpindi on Dec 27, 2007.

The judge not only declared Musharraf a ‘proclaimed offender’ but also ordered confiscation of his property.

Published in Dawn, July 12th, 2018