Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for assassination of Benazir Bhutto

Vastavam web: The Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in 2007, saying it killed her as she allegedly planned to collaborate with the US against the ‘mujahideen’ if she returned to power, says a book by the banned terror group.”The return of Benazir Bhutto was planned at the behest of the Americans as they had given her a plan against the ‘Mujahideed-e-Islam’. Baitullah had received information of the plan,” the book claimed, in a reference to slain Pakistani Taliban founder Baitullah Mehsud.Former president Pervez Musharraf had blamed the Tehreek- e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) for the attack but the outfit had denied it.

The book says suicide bombers Bilal, also known as Saeed, and Ikramullah were tasked to carry out the attack on Bhutto.”Bomber Bilal first fired at Benazir Bhutto from his pistol and the bullet hit her neck. Then he detonated his explosive jacket and blew himself up among the participants of the procession,” the book claimed.Military sources say most of the TTP fighters, belonging to the Mehsud tribe, had crossed into Afghanistan’s Paktika and Paktia provinces after the military launched a major offensive in 2009.

The book says the TTP was also involved in a suicide bombing two months earlier at Bhutto’s procession in Karachi in October 2007, which had killed nearly 140 people though Bhutto had escaped unhurt.It says Ikramullah, a resident of Makeen town in South Waziristan, escaped from the blast site and is still alive.It does not say if it is the same Ikramullah, who was declared an absconder by an anti-terrorism court along with five others, including TTP chief Mehsud who was killed in a US drone strike in South Waziristan in 2009.

Musharraf had been formally charged in the case by an anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi in August, 2017. The ATC also declared Musharraf an absconder in the case.Bhutto’s son and PPP co-chairman Bilawal had again blamed Musharraf for his mother’s killing in his speech to supporters on her 10th death anniversary on December 27 last year.The five TTP suspects in Bhutto’s murder case Rafaqat Hussain, Husnain Gul, Sher Zaman, Aitzaz Shah and Abdul Rashid were cleared of all charges in the murder trial last August.

The ATC had, however, convicted two police officials Saud Aziz, who was police chief of Rawalpindi when Bhutto was assassinated and Khurram Shahzad, a former Superintendent of Police at Rawal Town.The book says investigators had blamed the TTP for the killing of Bhutto but Baitullah Mehsud had initially denied involvement, insisting that her killers were the same people behind the assassinations of her father Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and two brothers Murtaza Bhutto and Shahnawaz Bhutto.