Saturday, November 5, 2011

Pakistani Police Implicated in Assassination of Benazir Bhutto

A Pakistani prosecutor, Zulfikar Ali, has announced that two more suspects in the December 27, 2007 assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto have been added to the prosecution's investigation, stating that new charges have been made against two active police officers. Both are alleged to have failed to provide Bhutto adequate personal protection and for destroying evidence incident to the assassination.

Five other suspects already on trial in the case are members of the Pakistani Taliban. The five, plus the two police officers, will all be charged together in a new trial. A Pakistani judge read out the charges against all seven defendants at a closed-door hearing earlier today (November 5) in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, where Bhutto was killed.

COMMENT: Bhutto was assassinated in a combined small arms and suicide-bombing attack at a rally just weeks after returning home from years in self-imposed exile. One explanation for the high level of lawlessness in Pakistan is because the government is unable or unwilling to expel military and police officers from its ranks who are sympathetic to extremist groups.

It should also mentioned that the skill-level of governmental personal protective agents assigned to Pakistani officials is very poor, either because the agents have been unwilling to provide adequate protection or because they have not been professionally trained.

Upon her return to Pakistan from exile in October 2007, Bhutto survived two bombing attacks shortly after her motorcade left the international airport, but the two suicide bombing attacks killed 139 people and wounded 450 0thers. As a result of that attack, Bhutto requested the Pakistani government's permission to bring in highly trained US and UK personal protection experts to protect her, but the government refused to issue them visas. This should have been a clue to Bhutto that her days were numbered.

Whomever it was that was running her protective detail at the time of the December 27, 2007 attack that killed her, incompetently or intentionally permitted her to stand waving to the crowd through an open sunroof. Had she remained inside of the ballistic-resistant limousine she might well have survived the attack. After surviving the October assassination attempt, she should have learned that physical exposure to crowds would have irreversible results. Then again, perhaps in going back to Pakistan, she may privately found solace in a death wish.

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