Perez Musharraf Charged With Murder In Death Benazhir Bhutto
Former Pakistani President Perez Musharraf has been charged with murder in the 2007 death of former Prime Minister Benzashir Bhutto:
The former Pakistani army chief and president Pervez Musharraf was charged in the 2007 assassination of Benazir Bhutto, according to officials, the AP reported.
Former prime minister Bhutto was killed in 2007 during a rally in the city of Rawalpindi.
“He was charged with murder, criminal conspiracy for murder and facilitation for murder,” public prosecutor Chaudhry Azhar said at the anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi hearing the case Tuesday. Six others were also indicted in Bhutto’s murder, Radio Pakistan reported.
Prosecutors have said Musharraf, who was president at the time, failed to properly protect Bhutto.
Afsha Adil, a member of Musharraf’s legal team, said Musharraf pleaded not guilty.
“These charges are baseless. We are not afraid of the proceedings. We will follow legal procedures in the court,” Adil said.
Musharraf, 69, has faced a litany of charges relating to his rule since returning to the country in March from self-imposed exile. The four-star general, who came to power in a 1999 bloodless military coup, served as president of Pakistan from 2001 to 2008.
An investigative journalist and academic based in Pakistan, Naveed Ahmad, told Al Jazeera that “Musharraf was the all-powerful man in Pakistan” when Bhutto was murdered.
If Musharraf is convicted, “it will not trigger any political storm,” Ahmad said. “The military generals will be upset but without stating it in public at all.”
Musharaff’s arrest on these charges has been expected ever since he returned to Pakistan earlier this month. Whether the substance of the charges, which seem to essentially be that as President he had failed to adequately protect Bhutto rather than that he was directly involved in her death, can withstand legal scrutiny is something that we’ll have to wait until the trial to see.