Separate Religion from State. Declare Pakistan to be Secular – Petition

Petitioning
The Government
The Judiciary and
The Army of Pakistan!

candle-lights

To assure that incidents such as the tragedy of Peshawar and ongoing violence against minority populations do not continue to happen, and that the Taliban and other violent religious formations do not flourish in Pakistan, please acknowledge one of the root causes of it.

Separate Religion from State!

Declare Pakistan to be a Secular Democracy.

Secular Pakistan
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Shaheed Bibi Ghazala Javed: Peshawar Pakistan – June 18/12

Shaheed Bibi Ghazala Javed was a renowned singer and a brave woman, who despite being in an extreme conservative social environment, was continuing to follow her glorious career that had earlier required for her to escape Taliban by moving from one area to another. As well, she was demanding a divorce from her influential and polygmous husband.

Pushto singer Ghazala Javed shot dead

PESHAWAR: A popular Pakistani singer who fled the Taliban to pursue her music career away from their repressive dictats was shot dead in the northwestern city of Peshawar, police said Tuesday.

Ghazala Javed, 24, was shot six times by gunmen as she left a beauty salon, although police do not believe the Taliban was responsible for her murder and said her ex-husband was a suspect in the case.

Her father, who was with her, was also killed, police said. “Two men on a motorbike sprayed bullets and fled leaving them in a pool of blood,” senior police officer Dilawar Bangash told AFP. She was shot six times and her father once in the head, Bangash said.

“We have registered a case and launched an investigation. The murder seems to be result of some internal dispute,” he added. Police official Imtiaz Khan said the ex-husband was suspected of involvement in the murders.

The singer had fled to Peshawar in 2009 to escape the then Taliban-dominated northwestern district of Swat as the army launched a sweeping offensive.

From 2007 to 2009, Taliban fighters controlled by radical cleric Maulana Fazlullah effectively seized control of the district, terrorising people with murders, beheadings, attacks on girls’ schools and music shops. Singers and dancers were singled out in particular until the army reasserted control in July 2009, winning praise from the United States for eliminating an Islamist threat 100 kilometres (60 miles) from the capital Islamabad.

Javed sung in her native Pashto language and released more than two dozen albums that were popular among Pashto speakers in the northwest. She married businessman Jahangir Khan in 2010, but demanded a divorce after finding out he had another wife and because he tried to ban her from singing, the family said. It is rare for women in the deeply conservative northwest to solicit a divorce and under Islamic law men can have up to four wives at once.

http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-54932-Pushto-singer-Ghazala-Javed-shot-dead

Information pointed to by Ismat Shahjehan
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The Crimson Earth

By Noreen Haider

December 22, 2010, Gujranwala
Shumila, a newly wed bride, murdered by the bridegroom, who staged a dacoity-cum-murder drama to mislead the police after killing his bride over the demand of a car in dowry which the parents of the girl could not afford. Shumaila was offering prayers when Sajid opened fire on her temple and later wounded himself by shooting on his one leg. He later confessed to the killing.
January 16, 2011, Multan
Hina, nine years old, subjected to sexual assault before being murdered in Multan according to the postmortem report. The unfortunate child, left her home to buy some food items from a nearby shop, but she never returned. Her body was later recovered from Basti Khudadad.
January 19, Lahore
Allah Rakhi, forty, killed by her husband on the allegation of illicit relations in Ghaziabad Lahore. Police arrested the accused who confessed his crime and also admitted to killing his 17-year-old daughter Surriya Bibi by strangling her five months ago. Allah Rakhi was hit by hammer repeatedly on her head, which resulted in her instant death. The body of Surriya Bibi was recovered from an empty plot by the police.
January 19, Dera Ghazi Khan
Khursheed twenty one and Nadra twenty three were ambushed by their father and uncles and showered with bullets while returning to their home town of Mozah Marhaata in Pir Adil Village of Dera Ghazi Khan. The two women were allegedly trying to escape a forced marriage. They left their home nearly 18 days ago. The family members were trying to bury their bodies when a SHO, managed to recover the bodies of the victims.
January 20, Khanewal
Asma, eight months pregnant, beaten by iron rods to death by her husband abetted by his family. Asma was tortured in front of her mother, who was held in place by some men, at Kot Abdullah village in Khanewal. The postmortem report confirms torture and death by poison. The police have arrested her husband who has confessed to the killing.
January 20, Vehari
Shaista, seven months pregnant, killed by her husband allegedly over suspicions of having an illicit relationship. She was choked to death by stuffing a piece of cloth in her mouth. Her husband Yousaf and his father, Hafeez, were arrested by the police where they admitted to killing Shazia.
January 21, Multan
Zainab Bibi, wife of a laborer was gang raped after her husband Arshad Muhammad asked a local landlord Ameen to pay his wages. The landlord owed him thirty thousand rupees. On the demand of payment, Arshad was verbally abused and brutally beaten with sticks by the hit men of the landlord. Later, Zainab was abducted by Ameen and his accomplices and was taken to Ameen’s farmhouse where she was gang raped. A few hours later she was thrown near her house badly injured. Local police officials refused to file the FIR against the criminals. The case was registered only after Khanewal district session judge Ijaz Ahmed Butt took notice of the case. Ameen and his accomplice fled the district and are now at large.
22 January, Lahore
Shazia, 26, was brutally beaten by her husband along with his brothers and other members of his family and then thrown from the roof critically injuring her and breaking her legs, arms, jaw and head. Police initially refused to file a case against the culprits. She, the mother of four children, is still hanging between life and death. Her family is constantly receiving death threats from her in-laws in case they pursue the case. The main culprit is still at large.
January 22, Burewala
Najma Bibi is reported missing for days after her in-laws disgraced her in the name of honor in Mochiwala, Bherowala. In line with the decision of the panchayat, the in-laws of Najma Bibi, 24, cut her hair, blackened her face and paraded her in the streets on the allegation of having illicit relations with a man of the same village. Najma and her children were later evicted from the village on the orders of the Panchayat which ruled that an example should be made of her before she was turned out of the village.
January 23, Bahawalpur
Saima, 17, electrocuted to death in Bahawalpur district on the orders of a Panchayat that comprised of her father and three uncles. Her crime was that she had eloped with a man in the neighborhood and married him. According to eye witnesses there were signs of severe torture and burn injuries on her body.

It may seem that these cases are taken out of the plot of some horror movie or are stories from the land of barbarians who have never seen the light of modern day world but in reality these are but a few of the reported cases of violent crimes against women, in the very first month of the new year. Every day women are being killed in excruciatingly painful ways and there is no apparent end to it. All the above cited cases have occurred in the Punjab where the rulers have tall claims of “good governance”

It is preposterous that Panchayat (the informal local councils) are still continuing in Pakistan and handing out verdicts including death sentences against women. These courts have no legal or constitutional authority and they have no business running a parallel system of vigilante justice.

It is the complete failure of the provincial governments, district administrations and the law enforcement agencies that the Panchayats are handing out death sentences to helpless women.

The Chief Minister Punjab, Home Department, IG Police and the Law Minister are directly responsible for the horrendous situation in Punjab regarding violent crimes against women.

The regular occurrence of these cases has exposed the crumbling administrative system in Punjab and the even poorer intelligence system. The Central Intelligence Department is doing a poor job of gathering intelligence about developing situations which precipitate into such violent crimes. The police are lagging behind most of the time, and actually do nothing to prevent crimes against women. Even after the occurrence of such crimes, the inertia continues. The family members of rape victims have to virtually get raped themselves in order to get the police to come out of their slumber and register the case.

But the real cause of alarm is not just the brutal killings, rape and maiming of women by their own family members, but the effortless ease and fearless ways these horrific crimes are now being carried out right under the noses of the district administration, in broad daylight. The killers and abettors have neither any fear of the law nor of any social condemnation. In fact in many cases the killing of the “allegedly tainted women” by the family is taken as a sign of honour and he-man-ship.

Although the response of the police and the law enforcing agencies is pitiable and they have a dismal record in handling the cases of violence against women but how the communities and society reacts towards it is much more significant. The reaction of the neighbors, larger family, religious leaders, prayer leaders, local mystics, influentials and elders, whose words hold importance, all constitute the overall society that matters to an individual and if there is no condemnation there and no adverse reaction then it is, in fact a tacit approval for the act. In this scenario the state and its organs can not work effectively in the prevention or control of the crime.

The shocking rapidity with which these crimes are occurring is a commentary on the overall deteriorating psyche of the regressive society in Pakistan generally and in Punjab particularly as majority of the crimes against women are being reported in Punjab. It is also a reflection on how the weak segments of the community are becoming more and more vulnerable with the traditional social protection networks deteriorating fast and the state being a total failure in providing protection to any of its citizens.

The society which does not show any abhorrence for horrendous crimes against humanity is a morally dead society. We are now living in a country of dead men walking. Oblivious to the blood and gore stories around them and in a state of self imposed trance. If there was any life left in them they would have protested for young Hina, for the seventeen year old Saima, for Najma. They would have protested for someone. But the silence is deafening. There is no one willing to take a stand for any of these women.

As for the ruling elite they are busy playing the fiddle like Nero and enjoying their super luxury lifestyles comparable to any oil rich Shiekh in the Middle East.

I want to ask all the leaders of the religious groups and parties the reason for this strange silence against the brutality of men slaughtering their wives, daughters, sisters and mothers. Why such abhorrence for women? What is preventing them from coming out in public and declaring “Fatwas” against the perpetrators and abettors of the crimes against women in the name of honour? How can a man justify his act by taking refuge in religious decrees against immoralities when he himself is committing murders?

As the sanctions for these crimes are inferred through the morality derived through religion, I beseech the Islamic scholars “The Ulemas” to come out of their inertia and play a positive role to save women from the blood bath going on. I beg them to pass their declarations, “Fatwas” now about men butchering women and clearly state where they stand in the scheme of things. Why can’t the Ulema use the power they have to pressurize the governments and mobilize public to rally the around this issue? Is it not also blasphemous that men are butchering women in a country where the love for the Prophet (SW) is sworn by all? What would the Prophet (SW) think of His faithful being silent spectators in the face of such brutality?

It is the obligation of the religious scholars to come out and declare the right of women with regard to their own marriage. Regarding a woman’s right to marry a person of her choice, a point that is relevant in Saima’s case, is a right granted to women by Islam and the constitution of Pakistan and upheld by numerous court judgments. All consensual marriages are perfectly legal and “Islamic”.

The blood of Shumaila, Hina, Allah Rakhi, Saima and Najma and all the slain women is calling every conscientious human being left in this country. Their blood will not run dry but will continue to seep in the earth staining every inch of this land until it becomes the Crimson Earth.

January 29, 2011
From SPN Newsletter.
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FAISALABAD VIGILANTE KILLINGS: Rashid and Sajid Emmanuel

ISLAMABAD-RAWALPINDI CIVIL SOCIETY OUTRAGED AT FAISALABAD VIGILANTE KILLINGS

Islamabad, 20th July, 2010

Civil Society Organizations, Peace and Human Rights Activists are once again shocked and outraged at the vigilante killings in Faisalabad of two young men under trial, accused under the infamous Blasphemy Law.

We strongly condemn the absence of law enforcement, the lack of protection to the under trial accused, and the impunity with which the fanatics who carry out extra-judicial killings are allowed to get away with murder – quite literally.

Whether or not 35-year old Sajid and Rashid would ever have received justice is now an academic debate. They are dead, killed by religious intolerance in the prime of their youth, for no fault of their own except the accident of being born Christian in the theocratic Islamic State of Pakistan, where, two and a half years into its five-year rule, the self-professed progressive Government is unwilling or unable to provide its non-Muslim citizens the required protection and security that the Constitution guarantees them; and where the elected Legislature shows neither the political will nor the commitment to repeal the Zia-imposed Blasphemy Laws.

We demand that the Punjab Government should immediately increase security at law courts, prisons, all places of worship, and should particularly provide protection to all non-Muslim Pakistani citizens in view of recent intelligence reports on specific targeting of non-Muslims and Muslim minority sects. We demand that the killers of Sajid and Rashid should be apprehended immediately and dealt with by the full force of the Law, without any leniency or mitigation.

We demand that the federal Ministers for Religious Affairs and Minority Affairs should immediately jointly table a Bill in Parliament to repeal at least Sections 295 B and C of the Blasphemy Laws for a start.

We ask: How many more Shanti Nagars and Gojras and Ayub Masihs and Bishop John Josephs and Sajids and Rashids and Hafiz Farooqs and Naimat Ahmars and Dr. Akhtar Hameed Khans must we suffer before the alarm bells start ringing in the corridors of power? What more will it take?

Tahira Abdullah
socialist_pakistan_news@yahoogroups.com

PAKISTAN: The killing of two Christian brothers

AHRC-STM-151-2010
July 20, 2010

A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission
PAKISTAN: The killing of two Christian brothers is the result of the negligence and bias of the Punjab government and police

The abuse of the Blasphemy law, misuse of mosque loudspeakers and the impunity offered to Muslim extremists are the main causes of the persecution of religious minorities.

The shooting deaths of Rashid Emmanuel and in broad daylight in front of hundreds of people in the district courts compound in Faisalabad on July 19 came as no surprise. As was expected Muslim extremists carried out the murder just five days after the issuance of an Urgent Appeal by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) in which it was feared that they were vulnerable to attack. The AHRC had also demanded that immediate action be taken to provide protection for the men so that their case might be taken up in accordance with the laws and procedures of the country. Please see the Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-102-2010.

The investigation officer of Police, Mr. Muhammad Hussain was also seriously injured during the attack as he tried to seize one of the attackers all of whom escaped unhindered. The two brothers had been arrested on charges of Blasphemy on the complaint of a printer on July 2, 2010.

Both brothers were produced before the court of Civil Judge, Mr. Aamir Habib, for their remand. Banned Muslim extremist groups, which enjoy freedom from the government of Punjab province, made announcements through the mosque loudspeakers asking Muslims to gather at the district courts building when the Christian brothers would be produced. They also spread rumors one day before that the Christian brothers would be free to go home from the Civil Lines Police Station, Faisalabad.

During the court proceedings the investigating officer told the court that there was no evidence of Blasphemy against the brothers and that therefore the police had no cause to further remand them in custody. The court ordered that Rashid Emmanuel and Sajjid Emmanuel be held in Judicial custody until the next date to issue further orders.

As both the brothers came out from the court suddenly some persons emerged from the crowd and opened fire at them. The elder brother Rashid died instantly whereas the younger one Sajjid died on the way to hospital. The police officer, Muhammad Hussain also received a bullet injury and is in critical condition.

Despite the threats by extremist elements from the banned Muslim militant groups to kill the Christian brothers the administration of Faisalabad city and the Punjab government did not take any security measures for their protection. Only three police officials, including the investigation officer, were assigned for the production of the accused brothers at the court whereas the Christian community had already asked the administration to provide sufficient policemen to protect them.

The AHRC has also mentioned in its Urgent Appeal that violent rallies by radical Muslims in the area have called for the men’s death, and Christians have reportedly begun to leave the neighbourhood. They fear that a new attack is planned for the end of the month, around the anniversary of a deadly attack on Christians 50km away in Korian village, Tehsil Gojra where six people were set alight and burned to death. Mosque loudspeakers are also being freely used to incite violence, which is illegal.

The killing of the Christian brothers in broad daylight was due to the sheer negligence and biased attitude of the Punjab provincial government and police. The Punjab government is notorious in appeasing the banned Muslim militant organisations. The Punjab provincial government, during the bye elections in 2009 has released some extremist leaders from the jails, who were involved in sectarian violence and killings, which helped them to win the elections. The younger brother of the Chief Minister of Punjab is also associated with one of the banned militant Muslim groups and is involved in spreading communal and sectarian violence.

It is very sad that after the killing of the two brothers some groups have attacked the Daud Nagar of Warispura, Faisalabad where there is 100,000 strong Christian communities. Different groups carried out processions inside the Christian area until the late hours of the night and threatened the residents. They warned them that they will face the same fate as happened in Gojra last year where nine people were killed and six were burned to death.

The other factor which suppresses the freedom of religious minority groups in Pakistan is the illegal use of loudspeakers from the mosques against the religious minorities as the easiest tool to instigate the Muslim population. The government is not taking any action against the misuse of loudspeakers. According to the law it is illegal for the loudspeakers in mosques to be used for anything other than Friday sermons in Arabic and the call to prayer.

Religious minority groups in Pakistan remain vulnerable due to the continued use and abuse of blasphemy charges, despite section 295C of the Pakistan Penal Code. This must be strongly implemented if minorities are to be protected. Police who fail to follow the code and who operate under the directives of extremists in the community must face strong legal action. Charges of blasphemy are still met with the death penalty in Pakistan, and desecrating the Quran carries a life sentence.

The AHRC urges the government to appoint a judicial commission to probe the incident of killing of the two Christian brothers and the attacks on the Christian community, the high police officials must be prosecuted for their negligence in providing security to the Christians when it was very obvious that the extremists would attack them.

The government should immediately abolish the Blasphemy law which was introduced by a fundamentalist military dictator in the 1980s for the purpose of prosecuting religious minorities. The government should also follow the amendment made in the Blasphemy law that no FIR for Blasphemy can be filed without an officer of the rank of Superintendent of Police. Therefore the government should take action against the responsible police officers who, without proper investigations, filed the FIR for Blasphemy at the pressure from some Muslim extremist groups.

The government should also provide compensation to the family of the assassinated brothers.

Asian Human Rights Commission
19/F, Go-Up Commercial Building,
998 Canton Road, Kowloon, Hongkong S.A.R.
Tel: +(852) – 2698-6339 Fax: +(852) – 2698-6367
twitter/youtube/facebook: humanrightsasia

About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation monitoring and lobbying human rights issues in Asia. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.
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List of Young Baloch Men/Women killed by Iranian Regime 2004-2010

Following is an incomplete list of young Balochi men and women killed by the Iranian regime between 2004 to 2010.

Prison…………….…………… Hanged/Killed ………… Name ………..…. Date

Qazalhesar prison, Karaj …… Hanged ……  Ahmad Shahbakhsh ….. 20100608

Qazalhesar prison, Karaj…… Hanged……….. Sanjar Totazahi ………..20100608

Qazalhesar prison, Karaj …… Hanged ………..Baqhi Amini ……20100608

Prison of Zahedan ……………… Hanged ………..Jamshid Mir ……20100526

Prison of Zahedan …………Hanged……….. Abdol Hamid Rigi ……20100524

Balochistan ……………………Killed………… 4 , unkonwn ……….. 20100523

Jask ………………………………Killed …………Zaman Balouchi ……20100522

Nasir Abad ……………………Killed ………..Dorra Shahdostzahi…… 2010-05

Nikshahr………………………Killed ………..1 , unkonwn …………….20100509

Prison of Kerman …… ……Hanged ………Abdolnaser Moradzahi ……20100419

Prison of Kerman …………Hanged ………..Nezar Berahui …………….20100418

Prison of Kerman………… Hanged ………..Faizullah Berahui ……20100418

Prison of Isfahan …………Hanged …………….Ghader …………………20100412

Sarawan ……………………Killed …………….Three, unkonwn ……20100406

Jakigwar/Negor …… ……Killed……………. Three, unkonwn …… 20100406

Balochistan ………………Killed …………….Barkat Zamorani ……20100318

Balochistan………… …… Killed …………….?? , Unknown ……20100318

Balochistan/Kerman …… Killed …………..Mohamad Ali Bolaidai ……20100227

Iranshahr…………………… Killed ……….. One, unkonwn …………….20100224

Prison of Zahedan ……Hanged …..Dadelah Rigi Kordi Tamandani……20100221

Iranshahr ………………Killed …………….Eisa Dostkam …………………20100204

Sarawan …………………Killed ……………. Two, unkonwn ………………..20100131

Zahedan …………………..Hanged ………..Khodayar Rahmatzahi …… 201001-?

Prison of Khash ………..Hanged ……Allahnezar Naroi(Shahbash) ….. 20100120

Iranshahr ……………………Killed ……Moradbakhsh Kadkhodai ……20100107

Taybad ………………………… Killed …………Four, unkonwn ………..20100101

Prison of Zahedan ………………Hanged …………Mosa M …………….20091216

Prison of Zahedan……………… Hanged …………Haleghdad F ………..20091216

Prison of Zahedan ……………… Hanged ………..Ghader R …………….20091216

Mirjaweh …………………………Killed …………….One, unkonwn…… 20091207

Khash ………………………………Killed ………..Three, unkonwn ………..20091114

Prison of Zahedan……………… Hanged …… Abdolhamid Rigi ……20091103

Prison of Zahedan ………… Hanged ……….Khairmohamad Ozbak ……20091028

Balochistan…………………… Killed ………..Four, unkonwn …………….20091022

Sarawan …………………… Killed……………. One, unkonwn ……….. 20091014

Balochistan/Kerman………… Killed …… One, unkonwn ……20091003

Taybad………………………… Hanged ……….. Five, unkonwn ……20090929

Balochistan…………………… Killed ………..?? , unknown……….. 20090927

Taybad………………………… Killed ………..9 , unkonwn ………..20090914

Mirjaweh…………………… Killed ………..One , unkonwn ………..20090913

Mirjaweh…………………… Killed ………..One , unkonwn ………..20090901

Prison of Zahedan…… Hanged ………..Masoud Ghamshadzahi…… 20090725

Prison of Zahedan ……Hanged …………Ayub Rigi ……………………..20090725

Prison of Zahedan …… Hanged ……Manucher Shahbakhsh ……20090714

Prison of Zahedan…… Hanged …… Mohamad Hasan Shahuzahi…… 20090714

Prison of Zahedan…… Hanged ……Abdolrazaq Rashidi ……20090714

Prison of Zahedan…… Hanged ……Yaqub Ghamshadzahi …… 20090714

Prison of Zahedan…… Hanged ……Abdolbaset Shaihaki …… 20090714

Prison of Zahedan…… Hanged …… Edris Noutizahi …………….20090714

Prison of Zahedan…… Hanged ……Abdoqeyas Didan Naroui ……20090714

Prison of Zahedan…… Hanged ……Abdosaboor Rakhshan ……20090714

Prison of Zahedan…… Hanged…… Asadullah Wafaee ……………. 20090714

Prison of Zahedan ……Hanged ……Abdolhahaleq Mirbalouchzahi….20090714

Prison of Zahedan ……Hanged ……Tareq Abadiyan …………………20090714

Prison of Zahedan …… Hanged ……Yahya Rigi ……………………..20090714

Prison of Zahedan …… Hanged …… Khalil Ahmad Rigi ……….. 20090714

Balochistan……………… Killed ………..One, unknown …………….20090707

Karaj…………………… Hanged……….. Khodabakhsh Rigi …………….20090704

Karaj ……………………Hanged ……….. Najibullah Gorgij ……………20090704

Karaj…………………… Hanged ………..Jamshid Haleqdadi ……20090704

Qum…………………… Hanged …………….Mohamad- Kh …………….20090701

Prison of Zahedan…… Hanged…… Ahmad Dastgoshadeh Naroi…… 20090620

Prison of Zahedan…… Hanged…… Esmail Qaderi…… 20090620

Khash………………… Killed …… Haji Hozoor Bakhsh Shahnawazi …… 20090608

Prison of Zahedan…… Hanged ……Abdol Hamid Rigi …… 20090606

Prison of Zahedan ……Hanged ……Reza Qalandarzahi…… 20090606

Zahedan…………………..Killed ……Abdolbasir Mosazahi ……20090605

Zahedan-Bam………………… Killed …… 4, unknown……………. 20090605

Kerman …………………………Hanged ……….. 1-5 persons……….. 20090603

Zahedan…………………… Killed ………..Saeed Hashomzahi ……….. 20090603

Zahedan…………………… Killed ……… 10 , unknown …… 20090531-20090606

Zahedan ……………… Hanged ………..Haji Noutizahi ……………. 20090508

Zahedan ……………… Hanged……….. Qolamrasool Shahuzai ……20090508

Zahedan……………… Hanged ………..Zabiullah Naroei …………….20090508

Khash ……………………Killed ……….. One, unknown …………………20090525

Prison of Iranshahr…… Hanged ………..Abdol Qafour – K ………..20090522

Zabol………………………… Killed ……….. One, unknown …………….20090522

Zahedan…………………… Killed ……….. One, unknown ……………. 20090515

Hajiabad/Zahedan…… Killed ……Allah Nezar Shahbakhsh ……20090513

Prison of Zahedan…… Hanged ………..Reza Qoli – S ……………. 20090508

Prison of Zahedan…… Hanged ……Mohammad Mehdi -Kh ……20090508

Balochistan……………… Killed ……….. 3, unknown …………….20090505

Taybad ……………………Hanged ………..8, unknown …………….20090502

Khash………………………… Hanged …… Abdolbari Norzahi ……20090429

Balochistan/Kerman………… Killed …… 4, unknown ……20090420

Zamuran/Balochistan/Pak…… Killed ……Bibi Moluk……………. 20090414

Prison of Zahedan …… Hanged ……Normohamad Ismailzahi ……20090310

Prison of Zahedan ……Hanged ……Mojib Rahman Kord …………….20090310

Prison of Zahedan ……Hanged …………….Babak Kord …………….20090310

Prison of Zahedan ……Hanged …..Mohamad Joma Khan Hossseini ..20090310

Balochistan border …… Killed ……….. 6 , unknown …………………20090308

Iranshahr……………… Killed …………….Behzad – Sh ………………… 20090305

Prison of Zahedan ……Hanged ……………. 1, unknown …………….20090303

Prison of Zahedan …… Hanged ……Molawi Khalil Bahramzahi ……20090303

Prison of Zahedan ……Hanged ……Salahudin Zardkohi ……20090303

Mirjaweh ……………… Killed …… 4, unknown ……20090302

Esfahan……………… Hanged ……Omid ……20090221

Taybad ………………Killed ……9, unknown …… 20090203

Taybad ………………Killed ……10, unknown ……20090131

Taybad……………… Killed …… 6, unknown ……20090121

Taybad ………………Killed ……2, unknown …… 200901-?

Prison of Zahedan …… Hanged ……Bohadoor Naroi ……20090103

Prison of Zahedan .Hanged.. Jalal Akbar Joma Aloshi(JalalShirani)..20090103

Nikshahr ………… Hanged …… Abdolrahman Balochzahi …… 20081228

Khash ………………Killed ……Jalal Rigi ……20081225

Zabol……………… Hanged ……Faiz Ahmad Naroi ……20081223

Balochistan………… Killed ……One, unkonwn …… 20081220

Prison of Sarakhs…… Hanged …… MohamadAmin Berahui ……20081213

Taybad…………………… Killed …… 4, unknown ……20081210

Prison of Zahedan ……Hanged …… P – D ……20081206

Prison of Zahedan…… Hanged …… M – M…… 20081206

Prison of Zahedan ……Hanged ……A – R ……20081206

Prison of Zahedan…… Tortured to death …… Mohamad Berahui ……20081202

Mirjaweh ……………………Killed…… One, unknown ……20081202

Prison of Zahedan ……Hanged ……A – N ……20081129

Prison of Zahedan …… Hanged ……H – F ……20081129

Taybad ……………………Killed…… 15, unknown ……20081126

Prison of Zahedan …… Hanged ……Hossein Nohtani ……20081124

Prison of Zahedan ……Hanged …… Abdullah Dahmardeh…… 20081124

Prison of Zahedan …… Hanged …… Mohamad Berahui …… 20081124

Mirjaweh ……………… Killed ……4, unknown ……20081118

Prison of Zahedan ……Hanged…… Nazir Ahmad Nasiri ……20081110

Prison of Zahedan ……Hanged ……Jamali Bolizadeh ……20081110

Balochistan ………………Killed ……10, unkbown ……20081108

Balochistan ……………… Killed ……5, unknown ……20081103

Prison of Zahedan ……Hanged …… E – M ……20081027

Prison of Zahedan ……Hanged ……Kh – N ……20081027

Jask …………………………Killed ……Shahmorad ……200810-?

Iranshahr ……………… Killed ……2, unknown …… 20081026

Rodbar/Kerman …… Hanged ……One, unknown ……20081022

Prison of Zahedan …… Hanged …… Watan – Y ……20081021

Prison of Zahedan ……Hanged ……Mohamad Salim ……20081021

Prison of Zahedan ……Hanged ……Zahor – Sh ……20081021

Prison of Zahedan ……Hanged ……Anwar – D…… 20081021

Zabol ……………………Killed ……Akbar Sancholi ……20081016

Zahedan /Pir Soran ……Killed ……Ahmad Wafaee ……20081013

Zahedan /Pir Soran ……Killed ……Nader Rigi ……20081013

Zahedan /Pir Soran ……Killed…… Nser Shahbakhsh …… 20081013

Zahedan /Pir Soran…… Killed ……Allah Nezar Kebdani ……20081013

Prison of Zahedan…… Hanged…… Shahram Aywani ……20081013

Prison of Zahedan…… Hanged ……Ramazan Rafiee ……20081013

Prison of Zahedan…… Hanged ……Sasan Dogushkani ……20081013

Kottgan/Zamuran/Pak…… Killed ……Mulla Salim Sorkizahi ……20081010

Balochistan…………………… Killed…… About 38 ,unknown …… Last 2 months

Zahedan/Sapid sang………… Killed ……Abdullah Shahbakhsh ……2008.10.06

Zahedan/Sapid sang …………Killed…… Hamid Shahbakhsh ……2008.10.06

Nikshahr………………………… Killed…… One, unknown ……2008.09.26

Zahedan …………………………Killed…… One , unknown ……2008.09.18

Iranshahr ………………………Killed ……Mohamad Hossein Borr ……2008.08.24

Prison of Zahedan………… Hanged ……Habibullah Pirwali …… 20080826

Prison of Zahedan………… Hanged …… Hossein Ali Shahraki ……20080826

Prison of Zahedan …………Hanged ……Mojtaba Mozafari ……20080826

Sarbaz/Iranshahr ………… Killed ……Sharif Sarkoeri …… 20080824

Prison of Zahedan …………Hanged ……Bahram N…… 20080820

Prison of Zahedan………… Hanged …… Hassan Sadeqpoor ……20080813

Prison of Zahedan ……Hanged ……Golmohamad Salehzahi ……20080811

Prison of Zahedan ……Hanged ……Rahim baranzahi ……20080811

Prison of Zahedan …… Hanged ……Lalmohamad Zainadini ……20080811

Prison of Zahedan ……Hanged ……Asadullah Eshaghzahi ……20080811

Prison of Zahedan…… Hanged…… Yaghub Mehrnehad ……20080804

Prison of Zahedan …… Hanged ……Abdolnaser Tahri Sadr ……20080804

Zahedan ……………… Killed…… One, unknown …… 20080804

Zahedan……………… Hanged …… Hadi Amri son of Hamid ……20080729

Tehran-Evin ………… Hanged …… Abdolreza Shahbakhsh ……20080727

Tehran-Evin …………Hanged ……Sohrab Kamalzahi ……20080727

Balochistan ………………Killed ……One, unknown ……20080724

Balochistan ………………Killed…… One, unknown …… 20080724

Zahedan…………………… Killed ……One , unknown …… 20080721

Iranshahr…………………… Killed ……Three, unknown ……20080720

Balochistan…………………… Killed ……One, unknown …… 20080719

Zahedan………………………… Killed …… One, unknown …… 20080708

Prison of Chabehar …………Hanged ……Mohamad Zareh …… 20080706

Balochistan ……………………Killed ……Three, Unknown ……20080628

Zahedan …………………………Killed …… Abdosamad Shahbax …… 20080620

Prison of Zahedan …………Hanged ……Alireza Berahui…… 20080616

Prison of Chabehar………… Hanged ……Yunes Rahmandost ……20080615

Prison of Chabehar ……. Hanged ……Mohamad Hussein Noorzai ……20080615

Balochistan ……………………Killed …… One, unknown ……20080611

Khash-Paskoh ………………Killed ……Khodad Shohlibor ……20080607

Balochistan ……………………Killed …… 7 unknown …… 20080601

Prison of Zahedan …………Hanged ……Mousa Narouei ……20080531

Prison of Zahedan …………Hanged …… Kabali Cheraghi…… 20080531

Balochistan …………………… Killed ……9 unknown …… 20080527

Balochistan ……………………Killed ……2 unknown…… 20080519

Balochistan ……………………Killed …… One , unknown …… 20080518

Balochistan ……………………Killed ……Farhad Shanbehzai …… 20080515

Balochistan ……………………Killed ……4 unknown …… 20080515

Balochistan ……………………Killed…… One , unknown ……20080426

Balochistan ……………………Killed ……4 , unknown ……20080422

Prison of ESfehan…… Tortured to death ……Morad Borokzahi ……20080417

Daman …………………………Killed ……Shirbakhsh Sohrabzahi 20080412

Zahedan …Disapeared and killed… 2 girls from Hasshomzahi tribe… 20080411

Prison of Zahedan ….Hanged…..Molawi Abdolqodus Mollazahi ……20080409

Prison of Zahedan ….Hanged….Molawi Mohamad Yousuf Sohrabi …20080409

Balochistan/Kerman …… Killed ……One, unknown …… 20080406

Sarbaz …………………… Killed …… One, unknown ……20080401

Balochistan/Kerman ……Killed ……Three, unknown …… 20080330

Pishin …………………………Killed ……Three, unknown…… 20080328

Zahedan ……Tortured to death …. Three women from Rigi tribe ……20080323

Khash(Gohar Kouh)…… Killed …… Alam Khan Shahbax…… 20080218

Khash(Gohar Kouh) ……Killed…… One, unknown…… 20080218

Zahedan/Kerman…… Killed …… Ahmad Shahbax ……20080216

Kerman/Zahedan ……Killed ……One, unknown ……20080212

Sarawan………… Hanged ……Mohamad Aslam Mobarakzahi…… 20080131

Balochistan …………Killed ……14 , unknown ……200801

Balochistan…….. Killed …… S/O Molawi Abdolrahman Chabhari ……20080112

Giroft ……………………Killed ……5, unknown ……20080105

Prison of Zahedan …… Hanged ……Abdolghayum Shahgi ……20080102

Prison of Zahedan …… Hanged …… Babudin Karbalaei ……20080102

Balochistan/Kerman ……Killed ……Two, unknown ……20080102

Zahedan ……………………Hanged ……Mehdi Rigi Jawan …… 20071231

Zahedan ……………………Hanged ……Naser Hadieh Sasoli…… 20071231

Balochistan ………………Killed…… Three, unknown ……20071226

Prison of Zahedan …… Hanged ……Ezat Sarani ……20071226

Prison of Zahedan ……Hanged ……16 , unknown …… 20071226

Zahedan ……………………Killed ……One unknown ……20071224

Prison of Iranshahr ……Hanged ……Yaqoub Setodeh ……20071218

Prison of Zahedan ……Hanged ……Khodadad Shahbax …… 20071217

Prison of Zahedan …… Hanged ……Mohamadreza Saleh…… 20071217

Iranshahr ……………………Killed …… 12, unknown ……20071213

Balochistan/Bam …………Killed…… Khodadad Naroei…… 20071204

Qum …………………………Hanged…… Ataullah Polzahi ……20071202

Prison of Zahedan …………Hanged …… One, unkonwn ……20071202

Iranshahr …………………… Killed ……Bakhshok Shohlibor ……20071125

Balochistan ………………Killed ……Three,unknown ……20071124

Prison of Zahedan…… Hanged ……Shamsodin Darvakh Gorgij …… 20071124

Prison of Zahedan ……Hanged ……Mahmudshah Pashtoon 20071124

Saravan…………………… Killed ……Two, unkonwn …… 20071113

Prison of Zahedan …………Hanged ……Rostam sepahi ……20071115

Prison of Zahedan …… Hanged ……Nader Klabali…… 20071111

Balochistan ………………Killed ……??-unknown ……20071107

Iranshahr ………………Hanged ……Abdolmajid A …… 20071031

Prison of Iranshahr ……Hanged …… Ismail Barani Piranwand ……20071030

Prison of Zahedan ……Hanged ……Joma Gamshadzai ……20071030

Jakigwar_Sarbaz …………Killed ……One, unknown ……20071030

Mahan ……………………Hanged ……Two,unknown ……20071028

Iranshahr ………………Hanged ……Ali Khashi ……3/3/86

Yazd …………………………Hanged …… Three unknown…… 20071027

Prison of Zahedan …………Hanged …… A.M ……20071025

Prison of Zahedan …………Hanged ……Z.Gh. ……20071025

Prison of Zahedan …………Hanged ……A.M ……20071025

Birjand …………………………Hanged ……Five , unknown ……20071022

Birjand …………………………Killed…… Two , unkonwn…… 20071019

Zahedan ……………………Hanged ……A. ……20071016

Iranshahr ………………… Hanged…… Two, “Ostadi” in aftername ……20071009

Balochistan ……………………Killed ……Six, unknown…… 20071002

Dashtyari-Chabhar …………Killed…… One, unkonwn ……20070929

Mahan …………………………Hanged ……Mohamad Bamari ……20070912

Mahan …………………………Hanged ……Omar Bamari ……20070912

Zahedan ……………………Killed …… Abdolshakor sh. aka Shakori …..20070909

Sarbaz ……………………….Killed …………One, unkonwn ……20070910

Shiraz ………………………..Hanged…… Gazawo Mahmudzahi ……20070905

Shiraz ………………………..Hanged ……Alireza Berahuei ……20070905

Khash-Zahedan ……………Killed ……Two, unknown ……20070904

Mirjaweh_Rek Malek …… Killed ……Morad Gamshadzahi …………20070828

Iranshahr ……………………Hanged …… Two, unknown …………20070824

Prison of Zahedan …………Hanged …. Shkrollah Kordi Tamandani….20070821

From Idrees Kamal at idreeskamal@googlemail.com

Socialist Pakistan News (SPN)

Last moments of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto‏

This article is an abridged translation of one of the chapters from Col Rafi ud Din’s Urdu book “Bhutto kay akhri 323 din” (The last 323 days of Mr. Bhutto). Col. Rafi ud Din was the Special Security Superintendent of Rawalpindi Jail.

Official Notification of Mr. Bhutto’s Execution

According to the orders of the SMLA, the following officials were to inform Mr. Bhutto of his execution on the night of 3-4 April 1979:

1) – Jail Superintendent, Mr. Yar Mohammad
2) – Security Battalion Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Rafi-ud-Din
3) – Magistrate First Class, Mr. Bashir Ahmad Khan
4) – Jail Doctor, Mr. Sagheer Hussain Shah

This party entered the jail cell at 6:05 p.m. in the evening on April 3rd and found Mr. Bhutto lying on the mattress on the floor.

Jail Superintendent, Yar Mohammad, read the execution order to Mr. Bhutto, “According to the 18th March 1978 order of the Lahore High Court, You, Mr. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto are to be hanged for the murder of Nawab Mohammad Ahmad Khan. Your appeal in the Supreme Court was rejected on 6th February 1979 and the review petition was turned down on 24th March 1979. The president of Pakistan has decided not to interfere in this matter. So it has been decided to hang you.”

I did not see any signs of panic on Mr. Bhutto’s face while the Jail Superintendent was reading out the orders. Instead, I could see that he was quite calm & relaxed and had a smile on his face. I was really surprised at the way Mr. Bhutto had handled the news. I was thinking that we were about to hang a leader who had listened to the orders of his execution with such calm and serenity. I could hear a voice inside me that the death of this person would be disastrous for our nation & our country. Probably for the first time in my life I felt that I was losing control over myself.

Bhutto Sahib looked the Jail Superintendent in his eyes and said to him (these words are Mr. Bhutto’s own) “I should have been informed by the competent authority 24 hours prior to the execution, but it has not been done. On the contrary when my daughter and wife met me today at 11:30 hours, they were not sure about it. I called Jail Superintendent and asked him for necessary clarification. He told me vaguely that the required order for the execution has been passed and it was with him. He also told me that my relations: my sister Monawar ul Islam and my cousin, Mr. Mumtaz Ali Bhutto would be seeing me after my daughter and wife left me. He also told me that after the visitors, he would come himself to get my ‘will’ etc. at 13:50 hours. No written order of my execution has been shown to me so far. I want to see my counsels as soon as possible. My other relatives should have been allowed to see me. My teeth are very bad and I would like to see my dentist, Mr. Zafar Niazi, immediately”.

After these words from Mr. Bhutto, Magistrate First Class, Mr. Bashir Ahmad Khan introduced himself and told Mr. Bhutto that he could write his will if he wanted to. He would be provided with paper etc. for this. After this, the official message read by the government party was over and the officials started to leave. I was still in a state of confusion at that time. I felt as if I was petrified. Bhutto Sahib tried to get up but stumbled. I helped him by supporting him with my arm. He said that he was feeling sick in his stomach.

Bhutto Sahib called out for his helper, Abdur Rehman, and asked him to bring some warm water for his shave. He then turned to me and asked me, “Rafi! What is this drama that is being staged?”

I remained silent for a while so he repeated his question.

I answered, “Sir, have I ever tried to joke with you?”

He said at once, “What do you mean?’ and then repeated the question again.”

I answered, “Sir, the order has been given. You will be executed today.”

For the first saw I saw a bewildered look on Mr. Bhutto’s face. He waved his hand and said in a loud voice “OK… It’s finished… OK… It’s finished.” I said, “Yes Sir.”

It seemed like Bhutto Sahib’s eyes had exploded because of fear. His face turned yellow and dry. I cannot accurately describe the condition he was in
at that time.

Then he said, “At what time? Today?”

I showed him 7 fingers of my hand just like a jump master tells the time before the jump.

He said, “After 7 days?”

I went near him and told him, “Sir, hours.”

He said, “Tonight, after 7 hours?”

I answered by nodding my head in affirmation.

When Bhutto Sahib was brought to the Pindi Jail he seemed as hard as a rock, but now he seemed to be evaporating. At that time I felt the reality of life.

After silence of a few moments he said; “Rafi, that’s all?” I said yes by nodding again.

After a brief silence I told Mr. Bhutto that Begum Bhutto and Benazir met me after their last meeting with him and the part I had played in conveying their mercy appeal to Gen. Zia. At that time I saw that Mr. Bhutto was feeling very nervous and weak. I helped him sit on the chair inside the cell. I told him that by now Begum Sahiba probably would have met Gen. Zia and I hoped that Allah would be merciful and would create a way out of this situation. Mr. Bhutto stood up from his chair and embraced me. He said, “You are a brave man. I wish I had met you earlier.” At that point I felt a slight bit of trembling in his body, but I could see that his nervousness had faded away to a great extent and he looked almost normal.

After a short pause, he said, as if talking to himself, “My lawyers have messed up this case. Yahya* is responsible for my hanging. He kept on telling me all the wrong things. He has screwed everything up.” Then he said that his party needed a dead- not an alive- Bhutto.

He held my hand when I exclaimed that I was sorry to hear all that. He said that he was sorry that his lawyers had not treated me (Col. Rafi) properly. I told him that I had no ill feelings about it. Bhutto Sahib said that Pirzada** & Yahya had given statements against me in the press. I told him that I had not been questioned by the authorities and that he should not worry about these things.

He then thanked me for my kindness and how I had treated him with honor & dignity. I also thanked him & reminded him that he should start writing his will. He wanted me to sit beside him but I had strict instructions not to be with him alone. It would have been very useful to spend some more time with him and he could have shared a lot of personal feelings with me at that particular time. But just that moment a warder came in to deliver some writing material and I had to leave the cell.

As I have written before, Bhutto Sahib had never seriously thought that he would one day be taken to the gallows. He always thought that the case was cooked up against him, was politically motivated and was without any substance. On the 3rd of April, his wife and daughter had realized that the government had decided to hang him.But Bhutto Sahib still thought that to be a hoax because the jail authorities had not shown him the execution orders 7 days before the hanging as they were legally supposed to do.

After that, even after the government officials had informed him at 6 p.m. of his imminent execution, he was still in doubt. But I believe all his doubts were washed away when he asked me what all this drama was and I had answered plainly that he was to be executed that day. I believe that was the time when he realized that he was face to face with death. He was human after all and it was but natural to panic and be afraid when facing death.

After I left his cell, Mr. Bhutto shaved in the presence of Deputy Superintendent of Police, Khawaja Ghulam Rasul at 7:05 p.m. During the shave he had the following conversation with the Deputy Superintendent: “Deputy Sahib, where will you find a leader like me? But why would you need a leader like me in the first place? I am needed by the poor, not by the likes of you. I used to make speeches to mochis (cobblers) at Mochi Gate because I am a mochi myself. You people are taking away the leader of the poor from them. I am a revolutionary. I am a supporter of the poor. Yaar, if you had to kill me, why didn’t you kill me 2 years back? Why didn’t you respect me like the whole world does? I could have been kept in a rest house and could have been killed with dignity. Today, the Chairman of the Islamic Council, who was selected by Muslims all over the world, cannot even shave on his own. You are standing near me so that I don’t hurt myself with the blade. Yes, another thing, yaar… I have troubled you a lot… please forgive me. You have forced the other accused in this case to lie about me so that I can be hanged and they can go scot free.”

Then he called the sentry who was on duty outside his cell and told the Deputy Superintendent to give his wrist watch to the sentry after his death.

Tears came into Bhutto Sahib’s eyes when at 8:05 p.m. his helper, Abdur Rehman, brought a cup of coffee at Bhutto Sahib’s request. Bhutto Sahib said to him, “Rehman, please forgive me if I’ve ever treated you badly. I will be hanged anyway and tonight is my last night with you. I am your guest for just a few more hours.”

Mr. Bhutto worked on his will from 8:45 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. After that, for about 10 minutes, he tried to organize his mirror, comb, hair brush, prayer mat etc. on his table.

Then, till 9:55 p.m., he brushed his teeth, washed his face and combed his hair.

After that, for about 5 minutes, he cleaned the ashes of his cigar and some burnt papers.

He again started to write from 10:10 p.m. to 11:05 p.m. He then burnt all the papers on which he had written. The ashes spread all over in his cell. He called Abdur Rehman and asked him to clean his cell. He asked the sentry how much time was left. The sentry replied that there’s enough time left. Bhutto Sahib again asked how much time was left but the sentry remained quiet. Bhutto Sahib then said to himself that he could probably sleep for 1-2 hours.

The cell was opened at 11:10 p.m. and helper Abdur Rehman came in and cleaned the ashes from the floor. The cell was then closed and Bhutto Sahib lay down quietly.

At 11:25 p.m. he said that he’ll try to sleep for a while because he was not able to sleep properly last night but you people should wake me up at 12a.m. He called out Sanam’s (Bhutto Sahib’s daughter) name a few times while he was sleeping.

At 11:55 p.m., Assistant Superintendents Majeed Ahmad Qureshi & Kazim Hussain Baluch arrived. They tried to wake Mr. Bhutto from outside, but he did not respond. Mr. Qureshi telephoned the jail office and asked what he should do. He was told to enter the cell and try to wake up Mr. Bhutto. He went inside but Bhutto Sahib still didn’t wake up. Mr. Qureshi informed over the phone that Mr. Bhutto was not answering, as if he was unconscious. I got worried at that state of affairs, as it was my responsibility to ensure that under no circumstances should Bhutto Sahib commit suicide.

One minute before the clock struck midnight, I entered the security ward along with the jail superintendent, the jail doctor and the magistrate. Bhutto Sahib was lying on the mattress inside the cell and his face was towards the cell. Chaudhry Yar Mohammad & the jail doctor saw that Bhutto Sahib had opened one eye and after seeing all of us he closed it at once.

Chaudhry Yar Mohammad and I called Mr. Bhutto’s name a few times but to no avail. I asked the jail doctor to check Mr. Bhutto. The doctor checked his pulse and then listened to his heartbeat with a stethoscope and whispered to me that Bhutto Sahib was fine. I again called Mr. Bhutto’s name but didn’t get a reply. I asked the jail doctor to check Mr. Bhutto again. The doctor checked him again and told me that he was fine. I asked the doctor to come outside with me and enquired why Bhutto Sahib was not answering. The doctor assured me that Mr. Bhutto was perfectly fine and that I need not worry. He told me that Mr. Bhutto was only faking. I told the doctor that he’ld be responsible if anything happened to Mr. Bhutto and told him to check Mr. Bhutto again. The doctor checked for the third time and told me that he was fine and was just faking.

At 1:10 a.m. in the night, Mr. Bhutto got up himself. Mr. Qureshi told him that warm water was available for his shower but Mr. Bhutto answered that he did not want to shower anymore.

The Execution

According to the orders, Bhutto Sahib was to be executed on the night of 3-4 April, 1979, in the presence of Inspector of Jails. Chaudhry Nazeer Akhtar – who was present at the Rawalpindi Jail since morning on April 3rd. A stretcher had been arranged keeping in view Mr. Bhutto’s physical condition because of the hunger strike that he had been on. Arrangements had been made for a few petromax lamps as the night was extremely dark and there were thick clouds on the horizon.

The following officials entered the security ward at 1:35 a.m:

1) – Jail Superintendent, Mr. Yar Mohammad
2) – Security Battalion Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Rafi-ud-Din
3) – Magistrate First Class, Mr. Bashir Ahmad Khan
4) – Jail Doctor, Mr. Sagheer Hussain Shah
5) – Deputy Superintendent Jail, Khawaja Ghulam Rasool

Assistant Superintendents of Jail Majeed Ahmed Qureshi, Kazim Hussain Baluch, Mahabat Khan and warders selected by the Jail Superintendent also followed the above mentioned officials up to the security ward. Inspector of Jails Chaudhry Nazeer Akhtar went straight to the gallows from his office. Additional army personnel had been deployed on the route from the security ward to the gallows.

The officials entered Mr. Bhutto’s cell. Bhutto Sahib was awake and was resting on the mattress. Magistrate Mr. Bashir Ahmad Khan asked him whether he wanted to leave any will. Bhutto Sahib remained quiet. He had turned yellow and pale and seemed very weak physically. His voice was barely audible because of weakness. He said something to the effect:

“I…had…tried…but…my… thoughts…were…so…upset…that…I…could…not…do…it…I…have….burnt…it.”

I went near him and said as I bent over him, “Sir, are you able to walk or shall we pick you up?” He did not answer me, but kept looking into my eyes. I again repeated my question after a while. He kept on looking at me like that and then said, “I pity.” (He said something else also but we could not understand what it was).

I again leaned forward and told him that I could not understand what he said. He repeated the same sentence again but I could not comprehend the last one or two words. I bent fully upon him and said, “Excuse me Sir, but I did not understand what you said.”

After a pause and with a lot of effort he said, “I…pity…my…wife…left.”

He was in a very sad state at that time. May be what he wanted to say was that he could not walk but he also did not want to be carried. May be he was thinking that his wife could have given him support, had she been present.

The magistrate again came forward and asked him if he wanted to write a will. Bhutto Sahib remained quiet. The magistrate repeated his question. Bhutto Sahib replied, “Yes…I…would…like…to…dictate.”

At that moment, the time was up and the jail superintendent ordered the head warder to call his men inside and to lift up Mr. Bhutto. Four warders entered the ward. Two of them grabbed Mr. Bhutto’s feet and two his arms, and lifted him up.

While he was being lifted, Mr. Bhutto said, “Leave me.”

Mr. Bhutto’s back was almost touching the floor while he was being brought out of the cell. The lower part of his shirt got entangled in the warder’s shoes and I heard the sound of the shirt being torn. He was put on the stretcher in the lawn. His hands were placed on his stomach and he was handcuffed. In the meanwhile, helper Abdur Rehman came with the cup of tea that Bhutto Sahib had ordered before we had entered his cell. I wondered: “on the other side of the Jail house’s wall, in the Prime Minister House, Mr. Bhutto used to get anything that he wished for, from anywhere in the world. And today he could not even fulfill his simple wish of having a cup of tea.”

The four warders lifted the stretcher from each corner. Bhutto Sahib lifted his head but remained motionless otherwise. His feet were yellow as if all the blood had been sucked out of him. He remained motionless till we reached near the gallows. The warders put the stretcher down on the ground near the gallows. Two of the warders put their arms under Mr. Bhutto’s arm pits and helped him stand up on the plank of the gallows. I was the one closest to Mr. Bhutto. I was just keeping my feet away from the wooden plank of the gallows, but my ears were only a few feet away from his face. His handcuffs were removed, his hands and arms pushed to his back with a forceful jerk, and he was handcuffed again.

In the meanwhile Tara Masih (the executioner) came and placed a mask over his face. He was either having trouble breathing because of the mask or he was feeling pain because of the way his arms were twisted when he was handcuffed. He said, “These”. May be he wanted to say: ” these are hurting me.” I was very close to him. I had come so close to him, while avoiding the plank, that the distance between his face and my ears was not more than 1 or 2 feet. But I could not hear his last sentence.

At exactly 2:04 a.m. on 4th April, 1979, the executioner pressed the lever and Bhutto Sahib was executed. I climbed down the stairs to reach one level below to where Mr. Bhutto’s body was hanging. I saw that Mr. Bhutto’s body was moving slightly but that was because of the momentum of the body falling down. He was certainly dead at that time. I went and sat down near the Inspector of Jails on one of the chairs that had been placed near Mr. Bhutto’s hanging body.

The scene of Bhutto Sahib’s hanging body is something that I have never been able to forget. I shiver even now when I think of that moment again.

After a few minutes I saw someone moving Mr. Bhutto’s body. I asked Chaudhry Yar Mohammad who it was. Instead of him, IG Prisons spoke up and told me that it was Tara Masih and he was straightening the arms & the legs so that the body would not get twisted due to spasms.

Mr. Bhutto’s Burial

Half an hour after the hanging, and after the jail doctor had issued the death certificate, Bhutto Sahib’s hanging body was taken down at 2:35 a.m. His dead body was given a bath, the arrangements for which had already been made at the spot. A photographer, who had been sent by an intelligence agency, took some photographs of Mr. Bhutto (of Mr. Bhutto’s private parts, which the author also mentioned in an earlier chapter). The authorities wanted to confirm whether Mr. Bhutto had been circumcised in Islamic manner or not. After the photographs were taken, it was confirmed that he was circumcised in the Islamic way.

His body was then placed in a wooden casket and was sent towards Chaklala Airport. I also had to accompany Mr. Bhutto on this journey. I conducted this caravan to PAF Chaklala where a VIP C-130 was waiting for us. Bhutto Sahib’s casket was loaded on to the plane along with a few other boxes and the plane started its journey towards Jacobabad. While the plane was over Sakesar (which is near Mianwali), I was told that there was some technical fault and the plane had to be taken back to Rawalpindi where another plane would take us to Jacobabad.

Another C-130 was waiting for us at Chaklala. Bhutto Sahib’s casket was loaded onto the plane and we again started our journey towards Jacobabad. We landed at Jacobabad Airport on the morning of 4th April, a few minutes before 7 a.m. A helicopter was waiting for us. Commanding Officer of 7 Punjab Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel Mohammad Sadiq, received Bhutto Sahib’s casket from me, had it placed in the helicopter and then took off for Nau Dero. Mr. Bhutto was buried in a grave already dug for him in Garhi Khuda Baksh.

* Yahya Bakhtiar, was one of Mr. Bhutto’s lawyers
** Abdul Hafeez Pirzada, another of Mr. Bhutto’s lawyers.

From Shahzad Nazir Khan at shazkhan1@hotmail.com

Who murdered Benazir Bhutto? by Christina Lamb

From The Sunday Times
May 2, 2010

Benazir Bhutto was brought back to Pakistan from exile as part of an international deal. Then she was killed — and all traces of evidence were immediately swept away. Our award-winning correspondent follows the clues to her killers in London, Karachi and Washington
Across fields of cotton and baked mud in the village of Garhi Khuda Bakhsh in southern Pakistan rises a white marble mausoleum with Mughal-style cones that shimmer in the heat. Inside lie four bodies — a father and his three children — all murdered over a 30-year span. The father was hanged by a military dictator, one son poisoned and one son shot, both by unknown assailants. The daughter was still building the mausoleum when she, too, was assassinated. Her killing was captured on live television, yet who did it — as well as how — remains a mystery.

Benazir Bhutto was Pakistan’s most important political figure, the leading female politician in the Islamic world, an Oxford and Harvard graduate who was the West’s best hope of tackling terrorism. Yet 2½ years on, and despite a $5m United Nations commission of inquiry, her murder remains unresolved.

Almost every Pakistani has a theory about who did it; practically nobody expects to find out. Pakistan’s history is dotted with unexplained political assassinations, but this time there was an unexpected twist. Bhutto’s widowed husband ended up as president, with all the government apparatus at his disposal. One might think that for once there was a good chance of establishing a culprit. Instead he had called in the UN to investigate, claiming “This thing is bigger than us.”

I had my own reasons for wanting answers. I’d known Bibi, as friends called her, since 1987, when her kind wedding invitation to a 21-year-old led to me falling in love with her country and starting a life as a foreign correspondent, covering both her spells as prime minister. I was with her on the truck in Karachi the first time they tried to kill her: two bombs killed 150 people, but she survived.

Ten weeks later, just after 5pm on December 27, 2007, they succeeded. As Bhutto left an election rally in Liaquat Park, Rawalpindi, she stood up through the sunroof of her armoured car to wave. Moments later she was dead, blood gushing from a wound to her temple, as a suicide bomber exploded himself in the crowd.

Bhutto’s action had been foolhardy when she knew there were people out to kill her, and her death sadly unsurprising in a family that has sacrificed everything for politics. What was less explicable was what happened next.

“Everything was manipulated,” says Athar Minallah, a leading lawyer who sits on the board of the Rawalpindi hospital where Bhutto was taken. “The evidence was washed away and no autopsy or investigation allowed. As a lawyer I can’t come to any conclusion, but it’s all too sinister to believe there wasn’t mala fide in this.”

In the 20 years I knew Benazir I had been both captivated by her and infuriated by her, once even deported by her. But I had also personally witnessed the lengths gone to to stop her by what she called “the Establishment” , the old guard of Pakistan’s military and intelligence, which at the time of Bhutto’s death had ruled the country for 32 of its 60 years. Despite being warned off by friends in the Pakistani media, I travelled from London to Dubai, Karachi to Kabul, Waziristan to Washington, asking questions from those involved, many of whom had never spoken out before.
If ever there was a death foretold, this was it. Bhutto’s days were numbered from the time she decided to end eight years in exile in Dubai and return home, following a deal with President Pervez Musharraf backed by the US and Britain. Under the deal, corruption charges against her, her husband and senior members of her Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) would be dropped, enabling them to contest elections. In return they would allow Musharraf to remain president. But neither trusted the other, and the military ruler had sworn he would never allow her back in power.

“We might as well have painted a bull’s-eye target on her head,” admitted a British Foreign Office minister involved in the negotiations.

Her closest friends begged her not to go back. “I said, ‘You’ve been prime minister twice, why do this?’ ” said Peter Galbraith, a former UN envoy to Afghanistan, who had been a friend since 1969, when a primly dressed Bhutto arrived at Harvard aged 16 and went to dinner at his parents’ house.

Mark Siegel, a Democrat strategist who co-wrote her last book, said goodbye to her in the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton in Washington. As he turned back to wave, he recalled the scene in The Graduate of a rain-soaked Anne Bancroft standing bereft after realising that her lover, Dustin Hoffman, is in love with her daughter. “I had this terrible feeling,” he said.
In London before her return, Bhutto told me she knew the risk. “I know there are people who want to kill me and scuttle the restoration of democracy,” she said. “But with my faith in God and the people of Pakistan, I’m sure the party workers will protect me.”

She then flew to Dubai to say goodbye to her daughters, Bakhtawar and Asifa. On October 16, the day before she was due to fly to Pakistan, she was warned by UAE and Saudi intelligence of a plot to kill her. She immediately wrote to Musharraf naming three suspects: Pervez Elahi, then chief minister of Punjab; General Hamid Gul, the retired head of Pakistan’s military intelligence, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI); and Brigadier Ejaz Shah, the former head of the Intelligence Bureau (IB). But there was no changing her mind. “The time of life is written and the time of death is written,” she insisted.

When the plane landed at Karachi and Bhutto came down the steps, she could not hold back the tears. Huge crowds had lined the streets. Waving from the top of a special bus, she was transformed, her face alive, so different to the Bhutto of the last few years in exile, gorging on ice cream and reading self-help books. I understood then why she had gone back.
But her security people were worried. The jammers promised by the Pakistan government to impede remote-control bombs were not working. Bhutto refused to go behind the special bulletproof screen in her bus that would separate her from her people. Eventually, she went to the armoured compartment on the lower deck to work on her speech. It was nearly midnight and we had been on the bus nine hours when the first blast came, throwing us to the ground. Moments later came a second, much larger, blast. There was silence, then screams, sirens and little pieces fluttering down like black snowflakes: bits of charred skin.

Bhutto had no doubt who was behind it. She emailed Mark Siegel on October 26: “Nothing will God-willing happen. Just wanted u to know if it does I will hold Musharraf responsible.”

She also called Musharraf. “He told her, ‘I warned you not to come back until after the elections,’ and threatened her, ‘I’ll only protect you if you’re nice to me,’ ” said Husain Haqqani, a former Bhutto aide who was living in the US and is now Pakistan’s ambassador in Washington.

Instead of stepping up her security, it was reduced. She was even told not to travel in vehicles with tinted windows, as this was against the law of the local government.

She appealed to the American and British officials who had helped negotiate her return. “I called everyone,” said Haqqani. “I even got the US ambassador in Pakistan, Anne Patterson, to visit her.” It did not go well. “Patterson wasn’t nice to her,” said Bhutto’s cousin and confidant, Tariq Islam. “She harped on, ‘You must not talk against Musharraf.’ The Americans never trusted her. It was a marriage of convenience.”

In November, Bhutto returned to Dubai for a few days. Her daughters believe she knew then she would not see them again. “She kept on telling us life is in God’s hands,” said her youngest, Asifa, interviewed for Bhutto, a film about her mother’s life that opens in June. “It was going to be my 18th birthday in January, and she said she wanted to wish me happy birthday in advance,” said her older daughter, Bakhtawar. “I said, ‘Don’t wish me in advance, wish me then.’ ”
The next morning, after her mother left, she found a be-ribboned box containing a silver jaguar head on a pendant. A note wished her “Happy birthday, all my love, Mummy”.

Back in Pakistan, on December 26, the day before the Rawalpindi rally, she addressed a public meeting in Peshawar and a suspected suicide bomber was caught trying to get in. That night her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, called her, begging her to let him campaign in her place. “I pleaded with her, ‘You stay home and I’ll go do the rallies. You’re the mother.’ But she said, ‘What can I do? I have to go and meet my people.’ ”

In the early hours of December 27, she was visited by General Nadeem Taj, the head of the ISI, the agency that in the past had done all it could to stop her becoming prime minister, from printing propaganda leaflets to creating a new political party. What he told her is unknown. Despite the late night, Bhutto was up early sending emails, including one to Peter Galbraith asking him to contact his friend, the Iraqi president Jalal Talabani, to send some of his jammers.
Back at her Islamabad home for a light lunch, she called her political secretary, Naheed Khan, to sit with her. Naheed had worked for her for 23 years and accompanied her through beatings, tear gas and arrests. Bhutto told her some American politicians would be coming that evening. Convinced that Musharraf was planning to rig the elections, Bhutto had collected information of a secret ISI rigging cell based in a house in Islamabad, which she planned to present to the Republican senator Arlen Specter and the Democrat congressman Patrick Kennedy.

Around 2pm, the two women climbed into her armoured, white Toyota Land Cruiser with an entourage of five men, including Makhdoom Amin Fahim, who had led her party while she was in exile, and Senator Safdar Abbas, Naheed’s husband and also a long-time aide.

As they left manicured Islamabad for the dusty streets of Rawalpindi, passers-by waved at the motorcade. In front was a blue police van and a black Mercedes containing her security chief and other officials. Behind were two pick-up trucks of her bodyguards.

Once they reached Rawalpindi and saw people massing, Bhutto stood up as usual. “ ’Pindi was hard for her,” said Naheed. Her father was killed in ’Pindi jail and she was too much excited. It was a huge gathering, we weren’t expecting, and such a charged crowd.”

As they drove out of the back of the park with dusk falling, the gates were opened. The crowd flooded out and gathered round her chanting “Jiye Bhutto” [long live Bhutto], “wazir-i-azam Benazir” [prime minister Benazir]. She stood up, climbing on the seat so that she could be seen.

Then they heard shooting. “Suddenly I felt some pressure, she had fallen on me,” said Naheed. She sobs as she recalls cradling Bhutto’s bleeding head. “She was completely unconscious, her blood seeping over me. That scene is still going on in front of me two years on,” she said.

All those in the car, and her spokeswoman Sherry Rehman, in the car behind, insist that Bhutto fell first, then a bomb went off. “As soon as she ducked down, after three to four seconds there was a bomb blast,” said Naheed. Safdar checked Bhutto’s pulse. “There was nothing.”

A bodyguard shouted “Move the car!” but the left tyres had burst in the blast. The backup car had mysteriously disappeared, so the bodyguard carried her into Sherry Rehman’s 4×4 and they rushed to Rawalpindi general hospital.
“I thought she was already dead,” said Zahid, the driver, showing the back seat of the Jeep where the bloodstains are still visible. “She was unconscious and bleeding from the left side of her neck and top right of her skull.”

At the hospital, doctors tried to resuscitate her. Sherry Rehman describes the chaos of bloodied, injured and dead victims being brought in and party workers crowding the building. Rehman found Naheed and Makhdoom Fahim in a state of shock. “The hospital wanted us to get the body out,” she said. “The whole place was heaving with people. Makhdoom and I created a diversion by driving out so they could get the body out without supporters realising. It didn’t occur to us to demand the medical report. I was sure she was shot, I heard the shots, then our heads being shoved down in the drill we’d had since Karachi, then the boom of the bomb. We never thought anyone would contradict this.”
In Dubai, Bhutto’s family had been watching on television. “All we knew was something had happened,” said Zardari. “I said, ‘Arrange a plane.’ When I came back into the room, the TV was announcing she was dead.” Bhutto’s body was placed in a makeshift plywood coffin and taken to the nearby military airbase of Chaklala.

Around 1am, the family arrived, and both they and the coffin were flown to Moenjodaro in the southern province of Sindh, to drive through the night to Bhutto’s ancestral home town of Naudero. In keeping with the Muslim tradition, she was buried the next day.

On December 30, just three days after her death, Zardari summoned a meeting of the party’s central executive committee. He asked their son, Bilawal, to read out a handwritten letter from Bhutto to the PPP. It stated: “I would like my husband, Asif Ali Zardari, to lead you in this interim period until you and he decide what is best. I say this because he is a man of courage and honour.”

Zardari told me afterwards he had no idea she had drawn up such a will. “The day her remains came to Naudero, a person came from Dubai and said, ‘I have this document Madam left with me.’ ” He said he did not know the person.
It was dated October 16, two days before Bhutto returned to Pakistan. “That was the day she’d been warned not to go back,” Zardari said, “and she wrote that letter to Musharraf showing apprehensions about certain people.”
In a shrewd move, Zardari named their son, Bilawal, as co-chairman, adding Bhutto to his name to make him Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, and said he would take over the leadership when he was old enough. Bilawal was then only 19, and starting his second term at Christ Church college, Oxford. He freely admitted he was more interested in Facebook and movies than politics.

Still in shock, nobody on the party’s executive questioned the document. Afterwards, Fahim, the party’s former leader, who had expected to take over, told me he was astonished that Bhutto would hand the party over to Zardari. Known in Pakistan as Mr Ten Per Cent, his alleged corruption was thought to be largely responsible for the demise of both Bhutto’s governments.

Torn apart with grief, Naheed was also too stunned to say anything. “She never mentioned it [the will] to me, nor had I seen it,” she told me.

Back in Islamabad, the Musharraf government appeared to be in panic. Within an hour of the attack the scene had been washed down with high-pressure hoses, wiping out almost all the evidence. Saud Aziz, then chief of Rawalpindi police, said he issued these orders after receiving a phone call from a close associate of Musharraf. The interior ministry said they were worried about “vultures picking up body parts”.

This was in stark contrast to what had happened after two assassination attempts on Musharraf in the same city, when the area had been sealed off for weeks.

With the country in chaos, there was an unseemly rush to announce the cause of death and to name an assassin. At 5pm on Friday December 28, less than 24 hours after her death, Brigadier Javed Cheema, the interior ministry spokesman, held a press conference. He said the hospital report showed Bhutto had been killed by striking the lever of the sunroof as she ducked to avoid the bomb. “There was no bullet or metal shrapnel found in the injury,” he said.

He also said intelligence services had intercepted a call from Baitullah Mehsud, head of the Pakistani Taliban, proving he was behind it. A transcript was later made available — though no audio tape — on which the militant leader is self-congratulatory and gives away his location. A week later, journalists including myself were called in to our respective embassies to be told that MI6 and the CIA had authenticated the transcript and were convinced Baitullah had carried out the attack. The former Pakistani cricket captain-turned- politician Imran Khan was incredulous. “The day after the murder they produce a tape of Baitullah saying, ‘I’m sitting here, tomorrow I’ll be having breakfast. Well done, boys.’ Is this a joke? The guy is being hunted down, on the run. Would he be talking like that?”

Baitullah insisted he was not responsible. “I strongly deny it,” he said via his spokesman, Maulvi Omar. “Tribal people have their own customs. We don’t strike women.”

In years of reporting on Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, never once had I known them not take responsibility for something. Moreover, Bhutto had told me that after the Karachi attack Baitullah had sent a message saying: “Identify your enemy. I’m not your foe.”

Meanwhile, footage had emerged in which a clean-shaven man in dark glasses was clearly visible waving a gun and firing three shots. A TV station had filmed bullets lying on the ground. Other footage showed Bhutto’s chief bodyguard, Khalid Shahenshah, gesticulating strangely from the stage as Bhutto left.

Aside from Bhutto, 22 others were killed in the attack. Family members told Pakistani media that some had bullet wounds. But no autopsies were carried out, even though they are required by law.

I started my own investigation in the sprawling port city of Karachi on the basis that whoever had tried to kill her there on October 17 was probably the same person that eventually got her.

That bombing was Pakistan’s most lethal terrorist attack, yet I was shocked to find from the local police chief that there was no investigation under way. It wasn’t even clear whether it was a suicide bomb or a car bomb, though a retired army colonel who lived round the corner sent me photographs of a burnt-out car that had its chassis number scratched off so it could not be identified.

Many of those who died were “Martyrs for Benazir”, young party volunteers who formed a human chain round the bus and prevented the bomb getting nearer. One was 25-year-old Intukhab Alam. I went to see his widowed father, Mahmood Yunis, 70, in Muhammadi Colony, Liaquatabad, one of the poorest parts of Karachi. He cannot believe the government is not investigating Bhutto’s death. “My son was a small person, but she was a great leader,” he said. “No Zardari can take her place.”

Someone else with little time for Zardari is Benazir’s niece Fatima. It was eerie going to see her: she lives in 70 Clifton, the house of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, her grandfather and Benazir’s father. He was the first Bhutto to be murdered, hanged by his former army chief, General Zia, in 1979.

Fatima was just 14 in September 1996 when her father, Murtaza, the elder of Benazir’s two brothers, was gunned down on the street, along with six of his men. The murder scene was also washed clean before investigators could arrive.
Fatima and her stepmother, Ghinwa, Murtaza’s second wife, invited me to stay for lunch. They talked of the rivalry between Zardari and Murtaza, who they told me kept a cartoon of his brother-in-law genuflecting to the Sultan of Oman in the guest toilet. It is clear who his wife and daughter believe responsible for his death. “The orders could have only come from the highest levels,” said Fatima. Her Aunt Benazir was prime minister at the time.

Bhutto’s friends and family say she was devastated by Murtaza’s death. Her cousin Tariq Islam accompanied her to the morgue in Karachi. “We went to the cold room where his blood-soaked body was and she collapsed, put her head between his feet and cried and howled, ‘You’re my baby brother, don’t do this to me.’ ”

Bhutto, who was prime minister at the time, called in a Scotland Yard team to investigate and asked Islam to be the liaison person. “Even though it was her government, they were stymied at every turn,” he said. “They wanted to see the scene, but within hours it had been pressure-washed. They wanted to see the vehicle in which Murtaza’s body was flung and taken to hospital but were told it had been taken to a garage.”

Six weeks after the murder, a coup took place and Benazir was ousted as prime minister. Scotland Yard was sent home.
Zardari was detained for allegedly being involved in the murder, as well as a number of corruption cases. He was released from jail into exile in 2004 by Musharraf and acquitted on the murder charge in 2008 owing to lack of evidence.
Last December, 18 police officers also alleged to have been involved in Murtaza’s murder were all acquitted. Some had been highly promoted. “Shoaib Suddle, the police chief who was there on the night, was made head of the IB,” said Fatima. “Zardari’s defence lawyer in the case is now attorney general.”

Similarly, following Benazir’s death, nobody has lost their job despite clear lapses in security and failures to investigate. Bhutto’s security chief, Rehman Malik, who disappeared with the backup car, is now interior minister and Zardari’s closest adviser. “My enemies are talking nonsense that I ran away,” he said when I asked why he left the spot. “I wasn’t a security officer that I had to be there. I’m not a guard or a gunman.”

Musharraf’s interior secretary, Kamal Shah, is still in his post, though it was his ministry that put out the version of events Bhutto’s friends and family dispute. Saud Aziz, who ordered the roads to be washed, was transferred to Multan, the prime minister’s constituency, but was suspended last week following the UN report.

Then there is the unexplained shooting of Benazir’s bodyguard Khalid Shahenshah, who was also in the car the night of her killing. I tracked down his best friend, Mohammed Yarwar, a former US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agent, who met me in a house full of caged snakes on a busy Karachi road. A student activist for the party, Shahenshah ran a grocery store in Connecticut and seems a strange choice as chief bodyguard. “We hung out in New York,” said Yarwar. “He had a connection with Zardari and got to know Benazir because he would drive her when she visited.”

Shahenshah was heading security at Bhutto’s residence in Karachi, Bilawal House, when, on July 22, 2008, Yarwar got a panicked call from one of his guards, who was outside his friend’s house. “He was screaming, ‘There’s firing going on!’ ”
The guard later told him that Shahenshah had arrived home and got out of his car outside the gate. A small car approached with three men inside who began firing. “They shot 62 rounds, of which seven bullets hit Khalid,” said Yarwar. The car was later abandoned. Yarwar denied rumours that it was a gangland killing. “There was no proper investigation,” he said. “People say he might have known something about Benazir’s death. If he did, he never told me: all he ever said was that she was definitely shot. But I don’t like it. I’ve quit the PPP. ”

Fear is tangible when I start asking about Benazir’s death, something the UN commission noted, describing themselves as “mystified by the efforts of certain high-ranking government authorities to obstruct access”.

In Rawalpindi I went first to Liaquat Road, where Benazir was killed. The spot is marked by a garish painting of her on a red background surrounded by what look like pink bathroom tiles. In front lay a dried-up wreath. Behind a few barricades was a cabin where five policemen were sitting around drinking tea under a lightbulb hanging from a wire.
When I started to take photographs they became animated, telling me to go away. They noted down my driver’s numberplate, after which he refused to take me anywhere else.

I hailed another cab to take me to Rawalpindi’s police headquarters and found the charming chief police officer, Rao Iqbal. When I asked what was the usual procedure after a bombing, he said: “Our priority is to get life back to normal and remove all the rubble, but after collecting the evidence, not before.” Why did this not happen after Bhutto’s death? “The orders may have come through the mouth of CPO Saud Aziz, but it was a government agency that ordered the washing, not a policeman,” he replied, adding: “In my view it should not have been washed.”

As a result, they collected only 23 pieces of evidence, in a case where there would normally be thousands. One of the pieces was her car, and that had also been washed of any evidence. The UN commission pulled no punches, stating: “The failure of the police to investigate effectively Ms Bhutto’s assassination was deliberate.”

Police did find the blown-off face of the suicide bomber, who they say was a 15-year-old boy, on a roof. And to my surprise they told me they have five suspects in custody picked up in 2008, and five more they plan to arrest. They believe they were recruited from madrasahs and part of a team sent to target Bhutto in different cities — but they did not seem to be interested in who had sent them.

The lack of evidence has made it very difficult to establish how Bhutto died. Under pressure, Musharraf called in Scotland Yard to investigate her death. They backed his government’s version that Bhutto died after hitting her head, rather than from an assassin’s bullet. Yet every single person in her car insists she fell before the blast.
I went to the hospital hoping to see Professor Mussadiq, who led attempts to resuscitate Bhutto. I was first refused entry, then told he was at the Holy Family hospital. When I got there, they told me he was not at work. Eventually I met one of the other doctors who attended her; he would only speak off the record.

“Our main concern was saving her life, not what caused the injury, because that is done in an autopsy,” he said. “We all thought she had been shot.”

Because she was an emergency patient, the medical team had made no official report, just clinical notes. They were horrified then when the interior-ministry spokesman held the press conference in which he cited their report, attributing the cause of death to hitting the lever of the sunroof.

“They were very perturbed,” said Athar Minallah, the lawyer who sits on the hospital board. “When they couldn’t revive her, they told the police chief three times there needed to be an autopsy. He was constantly on the phone to someone else and refused, even though by law it’s mandatory.”

If how Bhutto died cannot be properly established, it seems unlikely we will ever find out who did it. In August last year, Baitullah Mehsud, the Taliban suspect, was killed by an American drone.

The person fingered by Bhutto, Musharraf, now lives in exile in London, accompanied everywhere by six Scotland Yard officers. Before Christmas I met him at a dinner at the home of a mutual Pakistani friend, where he lounged on the sofa, drinking whisky, smoking a fat cigar and handing out £50 notes to the singers.

When a reporter asked him if he had blood on his hands, he retorted that the question was “below my dignity”, going on to say: “My family is not a family which believes in killing people. For standing up outside the car I think she was to blame — nobody else. Responsibility is hers.”

The UN disagrees. “Ms Bhutto’s assassination could have been prevented if adequate security measures had been taken,” states the report. Describing the government protection as “fatally insufficient” , they point out that there were few police present to guard her, and that those posted on roofs to watch for threats did not even have binoculars.
Ask most Pakistanis who killed Benazir and they ask who benefited. A Google search on Zardari turns up Zardari jokes, Zardari corruption, Zardari assets and Zardari killed Benazir as among the most common searches. Bhutto had told friends that she would not let her husband be involved in politics again. The plan was for him to stay in Dubai. They had lived separate lives for years. He argues this was because in 20 years of marriage, he spent 11 years in jail. But when he was released, instead of Dubai he went to New York, ostensibly for medical treatment.

Her closest friends say the will is in her writing, and they believe she wanted to keep the party in the family, in the South Asian tradition. “She thought it would split into factions otherwise,” said Bashir Riaz, who knew her all her life. But they are at a loss to explain why, when Zardari became Pakistan’s president in September 2008, he did not begin an investigation.

I put this to Zardari when I went to his house in Islamabad. “The stature of Bhutto called for an independent, transparent and above-board investigation so no accusation of bias could be made,” he said. “This is bigger than us.”
He showed me a framed copy of the will. “This was the joker in the pack,” he said. “Whoever killed her wanted a weak PPP minus Benazir. They thought they would get their own choice.”

His interior minister, Malik, claimed the government are now investigating and will soon release their own report. “We are after just one more person, then the circle will be complete,” Malik said.

“I don’t want nine people strung up to avenge her death — it’s the whole system,” said Zardari. “Only when we’re prospering and we’re Singapore will she be avenged.”

Fine words. Last week, Pakistan’s parliament voted to repeal a constitutional amendment used by military dictators to give themselves sweeping powers. But it remains a nation besieged by bombings and power cuts where militant leaders go free, even holding public rallies, and intelligence agencies make people disappear. When a government delegation went to Washington last month it was clear that the army chief, General Ashfaq Kiyani, was the real power. This is the same army whose generals suggested to Zardari last time Bhutto was prime minister that he replace her because they didn’t like saluting to a woman.

From IJAZ SYED
syedi@sbcglobal.net

Female professor of university murderd by fundamentalists

QUETTA: Unidentified assailants riding a bike gunned down a University of Balochistan assistant professor of media and journalism on Tuesday.

Nazima Talib was shot thrice from behind near the private residence of the Balochistan governor on Saryab Road as she was traveling in a rickshaw to Radio Pakistan for participation in a programme.

The governor’s security guards – who called in an ambulance – said they heard no gunshots.

The body was initially taken to Civil Hospital, and later sent to the professor’s hometown of Karachi.

A case has been registered against unidentified attackers and an investigation launched. Police described the attack as a target killing.

By Mohammad Zafar
[cmkp] Digest Number 2145

On the UN Report on Benazir Bhutto’s Assassination

VIEW: After the UN commission report
By Haider Nizamani

Some forces in Pakistan have already gone into overdrive to discredit the report of the UN Commission of Inquiry into the facts and circumstances of the assassination of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. The 65-page report’s focus is on the circumstances surrounding Ms Bhutto’s assassination and the subsequent criminal investigation, or lack of it thereof, but it offers insights into questionable practices that pass as statecraft in present day Pakistan. The legitimacy of the state is already quite low among significant sections of the Pakistani population, and if these deeply entrenched practices continue unabated, it will further corrode those shaky foundations.

The report has done Pakistanis a favour by defining what is known as the ‘establishment’ of the country. Here is how the report defines it: “The Establishment is generally used in Pakistan to refer to those who exercise de facto power; it includes the military high command and the intelligence agencies, together with the top leadership of certain political parties, high-level members of the bureaucracy and business persons that work in alliance with them. The military high command and intelligence agencies form the core of the Establishment and are its most permanent and influential components” (page 50). It states further, “The capability of the Establishment to exercise power in Pakistan is based in large part on the central role played by the Pakistani military and intelligence agencies in the country’s political life” (page 6).

The commission was understandably “mystified” by “the efforts of certain high-ranking Pakistani government authorities to obstruct access to military and intelligence sources”. This attitude speaks volumes about the arbitrary power of the establishment in viewing itself as above the ordinary procedures of law and its ability to get away with it. Although the US and the British governments acknowledge their role in paving the way for Ms Bhutto’s return to Pakistan in 2008, the US authorities frustrated the commission by not permitting it to meet US intelligence officials.

The report castigates the federal government led by Pervez Musharraf for not providing adequate security to Benazir Bhutto, and finds the manner in which the post-assassination criminal investigation was conducted “inexcusable”. Thus, Ms Bhutto joins scores of Pakistani political activists whose deaths were “avoidable” and where the law enforcement and justice institutions did little to bring to justice the perpetrators of those crimes.

We do not have to agree with every sentence of this report, but summarily and prematurely dismissing it is tantamount to accepting “hosing down” the crime scene, allowing higher ups in the police to subvert investigations, letting intelligence agencies hunt and hound individuals without any judicial mandate or political oversight.

Intelligence agencies are part and parcel of modern states. In Pakistan, they have gone a tad too far in subverting the state they are supposed to serve. The commission is correct in observing that “pervasive involvement of intelligence agencies in diverse spheres, which is an open secret, has undermined the rule of law, distorted civilian-military relations and weakened some political and law enforcement institutions. At the same time, it has contributed to widespread public distrust in those institutions and fed a generalised political culture that thrives on competing conspiracy theories” (page 60).

What can the current government do? It should take two of the following three steps without any delay. Taking of the third step is vital, but partly contingent upon the power of the PPP government relative to other forces of the establishment.

Ordinary Pakistanis, especially those who cannot read English, should be given the opportunity to access the report in its entirety, instead of leaving them at the mercy of spin-doctors and prejudiced television anchors trashing the report. The government can, and should, commission speedy and authentic translation of the report in Urdu and regional languages and use the Ministry of Information and other methods to ensure wide distribution of the report.

Secondly, the resourceful forces directly and indirectly named in the report would ensure that the television talk shows put excessive focus on the fact of the passengers of Benazir Bhutto’s backup vehicle leaving the crime scene instead of coming to meaningful help of their fatally injured leader. Moral propriety and political sagacity makes it imperative for all passengers of that car currently holding ministerial berths to resign without any delay and cooperate fully in any future criminal investigation to ascertain the truth behind the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. Their timely resignation will significantly deflate the efforts to distract the public’s attention from the main findings of the report. However, if these passengers refuse to part with their ministries for the time being, and are allowed to retain their portfolios by the prime minister and the president, this act will cast its shadow over the sincerity of the current government in carrying out “credible criminal investigation that determines who conceived, ordered and executed this heinous crime of historic proportions”.

Carrying out a credible criminal investigation should be the ultimate and long-term goal of the government. And it is necessary not just to answer many unanswered questions surrounding Benazir’s assassination, but doing so, as the report puts it, “would constitute a major step toward ending impunity for political crimes in this country”. This will not be an easy feat to accomplish. The forces that frustrated the UN commission will inevitably hamper a transparent and vigorous criminal investigation.

The current government has partly redeemed Benazir Bhutto’s political legacy by ensuring the passage of the 18th Amendment to the constitution. Initiating a credible and rigorous investigation into Ms Bhutto’s assassination will go a long way in restoring people’s trust in Pakistan’s political system.

Contact Haider Nizamani at hnizamani@hotmail.com

From: The Daily Times, Pakistan

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