Thursday, January 24, 2008

Musharraf is Not Serious About Investigating Benazir Bhutto's Murder; But that Should Not Surprise You, He was Not Serious About Keeping Her Alive

Benazir Bhutto in Karachi (AFP Photo/Amir Qureshi
Copyright AFP/Corbis)

Musharraf is Not Serious About Investigating Benazir Bhutto's Murder; But that Should Not Surprise You, He was Not Serious About Keeping Her Alive

By Richard Power

There is damning evidence refuting the claim that Pervez Musharraf is a "strong ally" in the "war on terror," and it is growing all the time:

We are approaching the seventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and yet, the mass murderers Bin Laden and Zawahiri have *apparently* eluded capture and avoided death -- on Musharraf's watch (and under his nose).

In 2002, WSJ investigative reporter Daniel Pearl was murdered -- on Musharraf's watch. (Danny was probing into Al-Qaeda.)

In 2004, the big daddy of Pakistan's nuclear bomb, A.Q. Khan, confessed to selling nuclear weapons secrets to Iran, North Korea and Libya, and yet he was pardoned and lives in luxury under house arrest -- yes, on Musharraf's watch.

And, of course, in recent weeks, Benazir Bhutto, Musharraf's leading political rival, was assassinated -- yes, on his watch.

Furthermore, the hit went down on the very day she was going to provide US officials with evidence of a plot to fix the upcoming election, yes, again, -- on Musharraf's watch.

And now Human Rights Watch is calling on Scotland Yard not to lend its credibility to Musharraf's faux investigation into the killing of Bhutto.

So just to re-cap -- two mass murderers and a nuclear weapons merchant alive and well, an investigative journalist and a democratic opposition leader silenced by killers, plus the official inquiry into the assassination of a national hero compromised from its very inception.

Musharraf is someone's "strong ally," but he is not ours.

Here is the text of Human Right Watch's press release:

The UK’s Scotland Yard should not be part of a flawed Pakistani investigation into the assassination of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch urged Pakistan to seek an independent international investigation of the murder, such as under United Nations auspices.

Human Rights Watch said that the Pakistani government has a well-documented record of failing to conduct impartial investigations of human rights abuses, including political killings.

On January 4, the UK’s New Scotland Yard’s Counter Terrorism Command dispatched a team of investigators to Pakistan at Islamabad’s request. The Scotland Yard team has a narrow mandate and will not conduct an independent inquiry. According to the terms of reference made public on January 11, the Scotland Yard team will “support” and “assist” Pakistani authorities in investigating the “precise cause” of Bhutto’s death. The team “will assist and report to” Pakistan’s senior investigators and “the primacy and responsibility for the investigation remains with the Pakistan authorities.”
“Pakistan’s investigation into Bhutto’s murder lacks independence, transparency and credibility,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Scotland Yard should never have agreed to only investigate the cause of death, instead of who was responsible. It should not tarnish its reputation by lending its imprimatur to this dubious inquiry.”

The Pakistani government’s findings are unlikely to gain acceptance in Pakistan. Many Pakistanis accuse the government and the military’s feared intelligence agencies of complicity in the assassination of Bhutto on December 27. President Pervez Musharraf has rejected these allegations and blamed militants acting on behalf of al Qaeda for the killing.

The Pakistani government’s actions in the immediate aftermath of Bhutto’s assassination served to heighten suspicions of a cover-up. Officials had the assassination site hosed down within hours despite protests from observers. And the government denied Bhutto had even been shot until video footage was aired by Pakistani and international media showing otherwise.

Prior to her death, Bhutto had repeatedly accused elements within Pakistan’s government and the military’s intelligence agencies of plotting to kill her.
Human Rights Watch called upon the United States, the United Kingdom, and other concerned governments to urge Pakistan to accept an independent international inquiry, such as one led by the United Nations, to best ensure that those responsible for the killing are found, no matter where the evidence leads.

“Given Pakistan’s dismal record at investigations, the need for an independent international inquiry to uncover Bhutto’s killers is obvious,” said Adams. “Anything less would only increase political tension and instability in Pakistan.”

Human Rights Watch, 1-24-08

See also Hard Rain Journal: Bhutto, Bin Laden, 9/11, What Should Have Been Uttered From the Well of the US Senate Several Years Ago, & What Must Be Done Now and Osama Bin Laden, the Terrorist, is Safe in Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto, the Democrat, was Not; Musharraf Truly is Bush-Cheney's "Strong Ally"

For an archive of Words of Power posts on 9/11, Terrorism, etc., click here.

Richard Power's Left-Handed Security: Overcoming Fear, Greed & Ignorance in This Era of Global Crisis is available now! Click here for more information.
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