Benazir's daughters lash out at Musharraf, call him 'murderer'

Benazir's daughters lash out at Musharraf, call him 'murderer'

Former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf on Thursday directly accused Pakistan People's Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari of being involved in the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

In a video message aired on several local TV channels on Thursday, Musharraf, who stands trial in murder case of Bhutto, for the first time held Zardari "responsible" for assassination of former prime minister.

"Zardari did nothing to investigate the murder of Murtaza Bhutto as he enjoyed his stay in the presidency for five years". In 2008, Zardari was acquitted of the charges of ordering the murder.

On Monday, Latif Khosa, acting on behalf of Zardari, filed three separate petitions in the Rawalpindi bench of the Lahore High Court challenging the verdict.

Turning down his request to think about his allegation against their father "with an open mind", Aseefa Bhutoo Zardar and Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari also called Musharraf a coward for fleeing the court proceedings in the Benazir murder case. "In this case, I had everything to lose as I was in power and the murder put my government in a hard situation", he said.

The allegations followed the judgment of the murder case by an anti-terrorism court earlier this month, in which the former military ruler, who was serving as president at the time of the assassination, has been declared absconder.

"The charge they are levying against me is that I did not provide Benazir adequate security - something I was not responsible for - the only question I have is, who took the decision to create a hatch in the roof of a bullet and bomb proof vehicle?, he said".

There is another possibility that former Afghan president Hamid Karzai and Afghanistan's intelligence agency orchestrated this attack on Benazir Bhutto through Baitullah Mehsood, he further said.

Senator Dhamrah said Musharraf had threatened Benazir not to return to Pakistan before the general elections, adding that Musharraf did not provide security to her as she had challenged his illegal and unconstitutional rule.

"It was Baitullah Mehsood who organized attack on me. I as well as the government wanted him dead", he said.

"There was just one person that had everything to gain from Benazir's assassination and that was Asif Ali Zardari", he added, proceeding into what he termed as his analysis of the case. "Her phone was not found for over two years after the assassination attempt", he alleged. The former president questioned why testimonies of the eyewitnesses like Makhdoom Amin Fahim, Naheed Khan and Safdar Abbasi were not recorded before the court. "Even more unusual is that the man who had murdered Shahenshah was also killed". "Who is capable of eliminating him?" The petition claimed that statement of American journalist Mark Siegel and foreign ministry's former spokesperson Javed Iqbal Cheema as well as probes by the Scotland Yard and United Nations had offered "concrete evidence" of Musharraf's involvement.