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Benazir assassination: Mark Siegel receives summons

January 01, 2013

Former prime minister Benazir Bhutto. — File photo

KARACHI: Mark Siegel, a key witness in the Benazir Bhutto murder case, has received the summons issued to him by an anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi, DawnNews reported.

The court had issued summons for the US lobbyist for Jan 5 in order to record his testimony in the case.

The summons for Siegel had been formally sent to the United States and the lobbyist had also been informed of the developments through telephone calls, DawnNews quoted sources as saying.

Siegel's statement would be recorded by anti-terrorism court number 1 in the premises of Rawalpindi's Adiyala jail.

Apart from Siegel, the court had also issued summons for former principal of Rawalpindi Medical College Dr Mussadaq Khan, Senior Superintendent of Police, Islamabad, Yasin Farooq, and other police officials, who are prosecution witnesses, to record their statements on Jan 5.

After the recording of the testimonies of the above stated witnesses, the statements of the members of the Federal Investigation Agency's Joint Investigation Team (JIT) would be registered.

Siegel’s statement to the JIT

Earlier, Siegel had recorded a statement under Section 161 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) before a joint investigation team constituted in 2008.

“He will again record his statement before the ATC judge because his earlier statement was recorded by an investigation officer and it cannot be used as evidence unless the witness is cross examined by the defence counsel,” FIA’s Special Prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali had stated in Dec 2012.

Siegel had moreover stated before the JIT that Benazir had received a telephone call on Sept 25, 2007, in his presence in Washington in the office of US Congressman Tom Lantos.

She had told him it was a very ‘bad call’ from Pervez Musharraf, who had used “threatening and abusive language”.

Benazir had added that Musharraf had warned her that her “safety depends on the state of our relationship” and that her security would only be guaranteed if she returned after the elections.

According to Siegel, Benazir had sent him an email on Oct 26, 2007, in which she had expressed her sense of insecurity and informed him that if something happened to her, she would hold Musharraf responsible for that, apart from the individuals mentioned in her Oct 16 letter to the former president.

In that letter, Benazir had named Brig Ejaz Shah (a former ISI official and then director-general of the Intelligence Bureau), Lt-Gen (retd) Hameed Gul (former director-general of Military Intelligence) and Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, the incumbent Deputy Prime Minister.