Former president Pervez Musharraf –AFP File Photo

RAWALPINDI: The Federal Investigation Agency submitted on Monday a fresh 57-page report in the Anti-Terrorism Court-III, declaring former president Pervez Musharraf as an accused in the Benazir Bhutto assassination case.

FIA’s Special Public Prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali said in the court that investigators, while reinvestigating the case, had tried time and again to contact the former president for questioning him but he did not respond.

He said that the FIA had mentioned him as an absconder in the fifth interim investigation report.

When Special Judge ATC-III Rana Nisar Ahmed asked the prosecutor whether the investigators had declared him a proclaimed offender, Chaudhry Zulfiqar said the former president had been mentioned as an accused and as an absconder, adding that the court could be requested to declare him as a proclaimed of-fender if Musharraf did not submit himself before the law.

The investigators have cited the name of Musharraf in column-II of the fresh investigation report under section 173 of criminal procedure code. They have put the former army chief at the disposal of the trial court, saying they had found no direct evidence against the former president so far. They said the former president could not be completely cleared at this stage.

Official sources close to the investigations said a Joint Investigation Team of FIA had tagged statements of former intelligence bureau chief Ijaz Shah and former director general of the crisis management cell of the Ministry of Interior Brig (retd) Javaid Iqbal Cheema with the report.

Sources said that the former IB chief had stated that Musharraf was annoyed with Ms Benazir Bhutto because she was inclined towards a political reconciliation.

Brig (retd) Cheema informed the investigators that former president had directed him to arrange a press conference only three hours after the assassination of Ms Bhutto.

They said the investigators had also attached an email sent by Musharraf to Ms Bhutto saying that her security depended on the nature of her relations with him.

The email is being considered as a threat hurled by Musharraf.

The investigators have also submitted a letter written by Ms Benazir to Mark Siegel, a foreign journalist, saying she felt threatened from Mr Musharraf, former Punjab chief minister Pervaiz Ellahi and Ijaz Shah.

The joint investigation team has added three new charges in its fresh interim report.

It has included section 21-I (abetment in terrorism) of Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, section 119 (public servant concealing design to commit offence which is his duty to prevent) of Pakistan Penal Code and section 120.B (criminal conspiracy).

Interestingly, another Special Public Prosecutor Chaudhry Azhar has avoided speaking about the investigation report submitted in the trial court and even said that no fresh report had been submitted.

Separately, the trial court dismissed bail applications of two arrested police officers Saud Aziz, former Rawalpindi CPO, and Khurram Shahzad, the then SP of Rawal Town division.

The police officers arrested in December last year had denied allegations of hosing down the crime scene and stopping the post-mortem of Ms Bhutto, saying her personal security was responsible for the breach of security.

They said that investiga-tors should give details of the circumstances which forced the former prime minister to emerge out of the sunroof of her bullet-proof vehicle after addressing the public meeting in Liaquat Bagh.

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