Friday, January 4, 2008

Bhutto Email Named Killers Weeks Before Assassination


(Daily Mail) - Benazir Bhutto claimed three senior allies ofPakistan's [Tyrant] General [Pervez] Musharraf were out to kill her ina secret email to [UK] Foreign Secretary David Miliband written weeksbefore her death.

Astonishingly, one of them is a leading intelligence officer[Pakistan's Intelligence Bureau (IB) Director-General, Army Brigadier(R) Ejaz Shah] who was officially responsible for protecting MissBhutto from an assassination.

The second is a prominent Pakistani figure [Pakistan Muslim League(PML-Q) President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain], one of whose family members was allegedly murdered by a group [allegedly] run by MissBhutto's brother. The third is a well-known [former Punjab] Chief Minister [Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi] in Pakistan who is a long-standing opponent of Miss Bhutto.

Miss Bhutto told Mr. Miliband she was convinced that the three were determined to assassinate her on her return to the country and pleaded with him to put pressure on the Pakistan government to stop them. The disclosure is bound to lead to questions as to whether the [UK]Foreign Office did enough to safeguard Miss Bhutto.

Her return was organised in close co-ordination with the UK and U.S. governments, which saw her as the best hope of restoring democracy in Pakistan while preventing it from falling into the hands of extremists.

The email concerning the three alleged would-be killers identified by Miss Bhutto emerged as rival political factions in Pakistan continued to dispute the details surrounding her assassination.

The Pakistan government said she was killed by "Al-Qaeda", but her[Pakistan] People's Party [PPP] dismissed that as "a pack of lies" andinsisted Musharraf's regime was implicated. Wajid Shamsul Hasan, Pakistan's former High Commissioner to the UK and a British-based adviser to Miss Bhutto, said: "She sent an email to the [British] Foreign Office before she returned to Pakistan naming certain people."

In the email, she said: 'The following persons are planning to murder me and if any harm comes to me they should be held responsible'." Miss Bhutto wrote her prophetic email to Mr. Miliband in September[2007], shortly after she met him to discuss her return to Pakistan. She named the same three individuals in a letter to General Musharraf in October [16 October 2007].

The Mail on Sunday has been informed of the names. One is a senior intelligence officer and retired Army officer[Pakistan's Intelligence Bureau (IB) Chief Ejaz Shah] who worked for Pakistan's sinister Inter Services Intelligence [ISI] spy agency, which has close links to the "Taliban" and has been involved in drug smuggling and political assassinations. He allegedly directed two terrorist groups and reportedly once boasted that he could pay money to hired killers to assassinate anyone who posed a threat toMusharraf's regime.

He was given another senior intelligence post by Musharraf after his bid to become a senior overseas diplomat for Pakistan failed when thehost country refused to let him in because of his past [illegal,criminal and terrorist] activities. He was also linked to [Ahmed] Omar [Saeed] Sheikh, the former Britishpublic schoolboy convicted of kidnapping U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl,who was murdered in 2002 by having his throat cut and being decapitated by terrorists.

The second individual [PML-Q Chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain] named byMiss Bhutto is well known in Pakistani political circles and has been involved in a vicious family feud with her for decades. One of his relatives was said to have been [allegedly] murdered by the"Al-Zulfiqar" group [allegedly] run by Miss Bhutto's brother, Murtaza[Bhutto]. The organisation was [allegedly] set up to avenge the execution of Miss Bhutto's father [Pakistan's ex-President and former Prime Minister] Zulfiqar [Ali] Bhutto by ex-Pakistan [Army] dictator[General Muhammad] Zia ul Haq.

The third individual is a [former Punjab] Chief Minister [Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi] who has repeatedly denounced Miss Bhutto - and faced political annihilation if she won the elections scheduled for nextweek. He made an outspoken attack on her only hours before her death.

A senior source said: "She knew the risk she was taking when she decided to go back but also took the precaution of informing theBritish Government of the names of those she thought presented the biggest danger to her." She hoped Mr. Miliband would use his influence with General Musharraf to remove certain people from positions where they were able to plot against her. She gave the same names to General Musharraf but she knew there was only a limited possibility of any action being taken. "She had to rely on Mr. Musharraf and countries such as Britain and America, who supported her return and have close connections with Mr.Musharraf's government, to take her concerns seriously."

Events have shown she was right to be worried. If any of the three people she named turn out to have been involved in this assassination, there will be serious repercussions."The Mail on Sunday has also learned that after an earlier attempt to assassinate her in October [2007], the [UK] Foreign Office told Miss Bhutto to stop making wild allegations against Musharraf - or face greater danger.

A [British] Foreign Office spokesman said: "Miss Bhutto had a series of meetings with the [UK] Foreign Secretary [David Miliband] and other[UK] officials. She raised her concerns about particular people and we raised them in turn with the authorities in Pakistan and asked them to put in place more strict security measures to protect her."

Source: Daily Mail newspaper - 29 December 2007 - London, UK.

Pakistan: Restore Democracy

The International Crisis Group Crisis Group Press Briefing
After Bhutto's Murder: A Way Forward for Pakistan

Islamabad/Brussels, 2 January 2008: If Pakistan is to be stable in the wake of Benazir Bhutto’s murder, President Pervez Musharraf must resign and a quick transition follow to a democratically elected civilian government.

After Bhutto’s Murder: A Way Forward for Pakistan*, the latest briefing from the International Crisis Group, concludes that Musharraf, who seized power in a 1999 coup, is no longer, if he ever was, a factor for stability. Particularly the U.S. must recognise he is a serious liability, seen as complicit in the death of the popular politician. Unless he steps down, tensions will worsen and the international community could face the nightmare of a nuclear-armed, Muslim country descending into civil war from which extremists would stand to gain.

“Bhutto’s death has drawn the battle lines even more clearly between Musharraf’s military-backed regime and Pakistan’s moderate majority, which will settle for nothing less than genuine parliamentary democracy”, saysMark Schneider, Crisis Group's Senior Vice-President.

Crisis Group agrees with the Election Commission decision to postpone the parliamentary election scheduled for 8 January to 18 February – but only if additional steps are taken so that the delay contributes to the creation of conditions for free and fair elections and the restoration of democracy.These include, in addition to Musharraf’s resignation: appointment, in consultation with the political parties, of caretaker governments at federal and provincial levels; full restoration of the constitution; and restoration of judicial independence, including reappointment of the judges Musharraf dismissed because they would not do his bidding in November when he declared martial law.

The international community should also support an independent, fixed-deadline investigation into Bhutto’s murder.“It is time to recognise that democracy, not an artificially propped-up, defrocked, widely despised general – has the best chance to provide stability and turn back extremists’ gains”, says Robert Templer, Crisis Group’s Asia Program Director.

Student Action Committee issues call for the 8th

The Student Action Committee (lahore) has called for a protest on the 8th of January 2008 at 2 pm at Minar e Pakistan. In collaboration with civil society groups, lawyers and activists; this protest is to be registered against the removal of the pre Nov 3rd judiciary that stood for a just rule of law and against the inefficiency displayed by the establishment which lead to the assassination of a pwerful leader of opposition and in the year 2007 thousands of others.

The students demand that the pre Nov 3rd judiciary be restored without which elections cannot be accepted.

Aitzaz Ahsen's baseless dentention keeps getting prolonged while the stringent treatment meted out to him suggests that our current regime shuns standing for principles and only favours partisan attitudes.

While Pakistan is on the bring of being considered a 'failed state', the SAC (lahore) urges the nation to join forces on the 8 th and stand loud and strong at Minar e Pakistan at 2 pm.

While the country's being exploited by opportunistic leaders and political parties, the country has a chance to literally stand up and on the basis of right and wrong, on previous false promises, failed governments decide the future.