Musharraf chargesheeted in Bhutto killing case

Compounding his legal woes, Pakistani investigators today included ex-military ruler Pervez Musharraf in the list of main accused who conspired to assassinate former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in 2007.

The Federal Investigative Agency (FIA) submitted a chargesheet against 69-year-old Musharraf including him in the list of main accused in the case in the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Rawalpindi.

The FIA presented a four-point chargesheet against Musharraf in the ATC, accusing him of hatching a conspiracy to assassinate Bhutto.

54-year-old Bhutto was assassinated in a suicide attack outside Rawalpindi on December 27, 2007, after she addressed an election campaign rally.

The chargesheet submitted contained the statements of four witnesses, including an American journalist Marc Siegel, as well as Bhutto’s own statement.

FIA officials said that the chargesheet has been prepared on the basis of Marc Siegel’s statement, who had claimed that Musharraf called and threatened her when he was sitting with Benazir Bhutto.

Siegel, who served as lobbyist for Bhutto in the US, had also stated that she had told him that Musharraf would be responsible for any harm to her.

He had earlier stated that he was with Bhutto in London when Musharraf had denied the allegations.

The chargesheet stated that the statement of the American established Musharraf as the prime accused in Benazir’s murder.

The chargesheet also levelled terrorism accusations against the former president.

The document stated that Musharraf had failed to prove his innocence in the case.

The ATC last year summoned Siegel to personally appear in the court and record his statement. However, he has not yet appeared before the court.

The ATC judge Chaudhry Habib-ur-Rehman ordered that Musharraf must be produced in the court on July 2, when the court will resume hearing of the case.

The court asked the police to ensure security for the former President.

Musharraf was not produced in the court today over security concerns.

The former army chief was chargesheeted in Bhutto’s murder case a day after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced initiation of a high treason case against him for abrogating the constitution.

He has been kept at his home in Islamabad over security concerns and his house has been declared as a sub-jail.

Musharraf was arrested shortly after he returned to Pakistan in March after years in self-exile.

A court subsequently barred him from contesting polls for the rest of his life.

Musharraf also faces charges in two other high-profile cases, the 2006 killing of Baloch nationalist leader Akbar Bugti in a military operation and for allegedly committing high treason by subverting the Constitution and sacking judges of the higher judiciary in 2007.

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