ISLAMABAD: The government is learnt to have decided to formally include former president Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf in the extended investigation into the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
A joint investigation team (JIT) of the Federal Investigation Agency has prepared a 32-point questionnaire which will be sent to the former president in the UK in a few days.
“We have prepared a questionnaire for the former president to record his statement,” FIA Director General Waseem Ahmed said, adding: “We want to record the statement of everybody who has any connection with the case.”
When asked why was Gen Musharraf being involved in the case after the JIT had completed its report and submitted it to an anti-terrorism court, the DG said the case would remain open until all supplementary information was obtained.
He said the questionnaire had been sent to the interior ministry for approval. “After getting the approval, we will send it to Musharraf through both e-mail and by post.”
When asked what would the FIA do if Gen Musharraf did not reply to the questionnaire, Mr Ahmed said: “It is too early to ask this question.”
Interior ministry sources said the document contained questions relating to security lapse. It asks the former president why did he not provide foolproof security to Ms Bhutto after she had narrowly escaped a bomb blast in Karachi’s Karsaz area on Oct 18, 2007.
Former interior secretary Syed Kamal Shah had said the security provided to her was the same as given to a sitting prime minister.
Former Rawalpindi SP Ashfaq Anwar, who was Ms Bhutto’s security in-charge at the time of the gun-and-bomb attack in Liaquat Bagh on Dec 27, 2007, is reported to have confessed before the court that adequate security arrangements could have averted the incident.
Fawad Chaudhry, Gen Musharraf’s close aide and spokesman, said the former president had nothing to do with the security of Ms Bhutto. He described the government’s move to send the questionnaire to Gen Musharraf as an attempt to politicise the case and damage him politically.
“The FIA should know that a Scotland Yard team which completed its investigation into the case had met Musharraf and recorded his statement,” he said.
The JIT has held Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan responsible for killing Ms Bhutto and accused the slain TTP chief, Baitullah Mehsud, of masterminding the murder.
However, a UN commission in its report on the assassination said that blaming the TTP leader was an attempt to divert the investigation from the right course.
Sources said the JIT did not record the statement of any government official in the case, including Interior Minister Rehman Malik. Earlier, the investigation team had decided to send a questionnaire to Mr Malik, but it was not done.
Ashfaq Anwar, one of the main accused in the case, has gone to the UK on a scholarship. He was head of the Rawalpindi Elite Force and responsible for providing security to Ms Bhutto. Maj (retd) Imtiaz, former personal security officer of Ms Bhutto, has been made DIG Quetta.