By: Nazia Memon
Verdict in the high-profile murder case of the former Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto by Rawalpindi’s Anti-Terrorism Court has raised a few eyebrows in Pakistan and around the world. The legal circles have expressed surprise while political parties have shown disappointment over the court’s decision.
Usually, the high-profile murder trials attract the most scrutiny but a decade after the trial of Benazir Bhutto case; this verdict had proved that justice can be elusive.
The verdict of the former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s murder case led to plenty of heated discussions among the intellectuals and admirers of the Bhutto family.
One of the most controversial trials in Pakistani history has ended by failing to bring its most prominent suspect, former military dictator and ex-president Musharraf, to justice. There has also been debate on whether the judge was fearful of convicting the suspects allegedly associated with the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan and Al Qaeda. The TTP had demanded their release in the recent past.
The suspects had also reportedly confessed to their involvement in the murder plot, even then they have been acquitted by the court.
Benazir Bhutto was assassinated at the age of 54 on 27thof December 2007 in Rawalpindi. She spent three decades navigating the turbulent and often violent world of Pakistani politics, becoming in 1988 the first woman to be democratically elected to lead a modern Muslim country.
She was twice elected prime minister and twice expelled from the office.
She claimed in later years that she had clamped down on Islamic militants, established a strong basis for democracy by paring away many of the restrictions on civil liberties imposed by the generals, and provided a boost to the economy, especially in her second term, by attracting a flow of foreign investment. But on both occasions, she was dismissed under pressure allegedly from the military on charges of corruption and incompetent governance that ultimately propelled her into self-imposed exile in London, New York and Dubai. After several years she returned back home, defying threats to her life as she embarked on a bid for election to a third term in office, billing herself as a bulwark against Islamic extremism and a tribune of democracy.
Despite her aides’ appeals for caution in the wake of a double suicide bombing that narrowly failed to kill her on the night of her return from exile in October 2007, she said, “we will continue to meet the public, we will not be deterred.”
On 27th December 2007 the combined bombing and shooting attack killed her as she left a political rally, standing through the open roof of her car to greet milling crowds of supporters.
After that ghastly attack on Benazir Bhutto which took her life, left people mourn for several days.
Very few Pakistani politicians have sacrificed their lives for secular, prosperous and democratic Pakistan but Bhutto family have a long track record for laying lives to this end. The Bhutto admirers cherish this and extend lifelong loyalty to their party.
After Benazir Bhutto’s Murder several joint investigation committees were formed, the help of Scotland Yard and even the United Nations was acquired. But all that seems to have failed to bring the culprits to justice. More than 300 hearings took place in the case and the former military dictator Pervez Musharraf declared a fugitive and court ordered confiscation of his property. Two police officers, however, have been convicted and sentenced, were found guilty only of negligence and mistreatment of evidence. It’s totally absurd and preposterous, while five accused militants were acquitted.
The verdict of Benazir Bhutto case hasn’t solved the mystery of who killed the most courageous and charismatic leader, instead raised many questions..! But the most striking one, that who had ordered to wash out the place of occurrence and destroy crucial evidence, has not been addressed? Justice cannot be served until Musharraf is brought home to stand trial.
When will we stop making high-profile murders a mystery?