Why has Benazir murder case been delayed

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Islamabad The biggest hurdle at present in conclusion of trial of the crucially important Benazir Bhutto murder case is the absence of former president General Pervez Musharraf from the country.General Musharraf is alleged to be the part of the conspiracy of killing of former Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto. The killing was ultimately ordered by the then Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud and was executed by his men in Rawalpindi on December 27, 2007, according to the details of the case.

“General Musharraf is one of the accused and we have presented before the court whatever evidence regarding his involvement was available with us,” Khawaja Imtiaz, one of the prosecutors in the case, told The News, adding: “Without the statement of all the accused under Section 342 CrPC, the trial of the case could not be concluded.” He said that an application on this count has already been moved in the court praying that the exemption given to General Musharraf under section 205 of CrPC should be withdrawn immediately. The application is yet to be decided and the next date of hearing in January 2.

However, it seems that even if court ordered the accused to return and appear before it, a few elements in the govt, who allowed ex-dictator to go abroad despite a Supreme Court order, will not allow start of a process for return of ex-dictator.Khawaja Imtiaz explained that in case Musharraf does not return to Pakistan, it will be prayed that file of General Musharraf be separated from main file and the case is decided in the matter of others involved. He said that in this way the case will not be concluded and General Musharraf’s coming back to Pakistan and appearing before court is very important.Khawaja said that he was hopeful that the remaining part of trial, the statement of accused and the argument will be concluded in few weeks and the case must be decided till the month March 2017.

Three accused persons General Musharraf, CPO Saood Aziz and SSP Khurram Shehzad are free on bail while five accused persons i.e. Rafaqat (taxi driver, facilitator), Husnain Gul (provided residence to suicide bomber, facilitator), Sher Zaman, Aitzaz Shah, Abdul Rasheed (all three knew conspiracy of killing but never disclosed) are in jail. None of them was directly involved in act of killing.However, Khawaja Imtiaz said all these persons, including General Musharraf, were part of the conspiracy to kill Benazir Bhutto in one way or the other.Seven other characters of the conspiracy included Baitullah Mehsud, Ibadurehman, Abdullah, Faiz Muhammad, Ikramullah, Nasrullah and Nadir are all proclaimed offenders according to the record of the case. However, most of them were reportedly killed in US drone attacks on Pakistan or during different operations against the terrorists in tribal areas and other parts of the country.

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