Updated: 10:27 AM 02-Mar-08
Related Posts: Benazir Bhutto assassinated
|Sun Mar 2, 2008|
Baitullah Mehsud, an al-Qaeda-linked militant commander based in the tribal area of South Waziristan, is accused by the Pakistan government and the United States CIA of masterminding the assassination."The court has declared Mehsud and four other suspects absconders in the case and issued non-bailable warrants for their arrest," the official said but declined to give further details.Five other people have already been arrested in connection with the gun and suicide attack in Rawalpindi on December 27.Pakistani security forces on Monday arrested Qari Saifullah Akhtar, a top militant with links to Osama bin Laden, in connection with an October assassination attempt on Ms Bhutto in the southern city of Karachi.Police say two of the men already being held over the assassination, Hasnain Gul and Rafaqat, who goes by one name, confessed before a court on Wednesday to plotting the attack. Bhutto was the target of militants because she had backed the government's action against terrorists and was seen as pro-Western, according to investigators.
Bhutto Assassination Draws Malware Scammers
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan Feb. 13 2008 Two admit arming Bhutto suicide bomber
Hasnain Gul and Rafaqat (aliases, Saeed and Bilal) -- were part of a five-man team behind the former prime minister's assassination, including the suicide bomber, a senior police investigator Chaudhry Abdul Majeed said.Interior Ministry spokesman Javed Iqbal Cheema said the two suspects told police they picked up the bomber a day before the attack at a bus depot in Rawalpindi, and the bomber stayed overnight with Rafaqat before they took him to the Rawalpindi park hours before the attack to do reconnaissance. Then they went to Hasnain Gul's house, where the bomber was fitted with the suicide vest.Cheema said the bomber apparently was unable to get through security to attend Bhutto's rally, so he carried out the attack as she left the Rawalpindi park.
Both men had "tentacles from the tribal region and Baitullah Mehsud," a senior security official said, referring to an Al-Qaeda-linked militant commander based in the restive border region of South Waziristan.The two suspects told the judge in Wednesday's court appearance that they provided the suicide bomber with a house, transportation, a pistol, and the suicide jacket he allegedly used in the attack that killed the opposition leader and nearly two dozen others, Interior Ministry spokesman Javed Iqbal Cheema said.
"It is a major breakthrough. These two men were involved in the assassination and they are from a militant group which is relatively new," the official said.
The Pakistani government and the United States Central Intelligence Agency have accused the shadowy Mehsud of masterminding the attack.He has denied any involvement.
Benazir Bhutto Pakistan People's Party meanwhile condemned the government for "double standards" after it emerged that officials were to hold peace talks, via tribal leaders, with militants in South Waziristan who are under Mehsud's command.
Last month police arrested a 15-year-old boy who allegedly confessed to being part of a back-up squad of suicide bombers tasked by Mehsud to target Bhutto if the initial attack failed.Police are still holding Aitzaz Shah, 15, and Sher Zaman, who were detained last month in Dera Ismail Khan in Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province.Pakistani officials have been vague on Shah and Zaman's links to Bhutto's killing, and have said they have not been named as official suspects.
Thursday's arrests also coincided with the return to Pakistan of a Scotland Yard team invited by President Pervez Musharraf to help probe Bhutto's murder, although officials said there was no link with the new arrests.
The British detectives are due to present their report on the killing to the Pakistani government on Friday.
Musharraf brought the Britons in to end a controversy over how Bhutto died.
The government initially said (Pakistani and British investigators concluded that Bhutto died when the force of the suicide blast caused her to slam her head onto an escape hatch on her SUV.) she died from hitting her head on her car sunroof during the suicide blast, but after an outcry from her party Musharraf later admitted that it was possible Bhutto might have been shot dead.
Bhutto's family has dismissed the government's assertion that she was not shot by an assassin's bullet, but the family has refused to allow an autopsy on the slain opposition leader.
Bhutto's party has demanded a United Nations probe into her death but the government has rejected this.
At a news conference Tuesday, Cheema pointed out that the government does not deny someone fired a shot toward Bhutto before detonating his explosives, but added that person did not act alone.
Two recent nationwide polls in Pakistan found a majority of Pakistanis believe President Pervez Musharraf's government had a role in her killing.
November,2007 Sir David speaks to former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto about her controversial return to Pakistan, who she thinks is behind the deadly bombing of her convoy in Karachi.
Gordon Brown has spoken to Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf about British help for an investigation into the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.
And the Prime Minister also urged him to avoid any "significant delay" in holding elections after a ruling party spokesman said they could be put off for up to four months.
The two leaders spoke by telephone as Ms Bhutto's husband called for international assistance in probing who was behind the attack and exactly how she died.
Ms Bhutto's only son Bilawal, an Oxford law student, was announced as her successor at the head of the Pakistan People's Party.
The 19-year-old is too young to stand for office and will continue his studies while his father, Ms Bhutto's husband Asif Ali Zardari, takes day-to-day control of the party.
The party also decided that it would contest the elections, due on January 8, as another opposition party said it would drop its planned boycott. An official announcement on whether the poll will be delayed due to ongoing violence in the wake of Ms Bhutto's killing is expected on Monday.
There is mounting tension in Pakistan over conflicting claims about who was behind the assassination and how Ms Bhutto died.
She was killed when shots were fired at her and a suicide bomber blew himself up as she left a pre-election rally, weeks after returning from exile.
Her supporters dispute government claims that an "al Qaida" militant leader was behind the attack, instead accusing the authorities of trying to cover-up a failure to protect her.
Further anger was sparked by official findings that the cause of death was not bullets or shrapnel but the blast forcing her head into a lever as she ducked back into her armoured vehicle.
Name: The Islamic Republic Of Pakistan
History: Pakistan was part of India before its independence, it became the State of Pakistan when India was partitioned in 1947. This land was invaded by Arabs, Greeks, Persan and Turks. It was a part of India and was under the control of British until it became independent. In the 1971 India-Pakistan war, the Pakistani Army surrendered with over 93,000 of its soldiers being taken POWs. This war resulted in the separation of its eastern half as a new country, Bangladesh.
Location: In the Central Sourthern Asia and is part of the Indian Subcontinent.
Coastline: A thousand kilometer coastline along the Arabian sea in the South.
Border Countries: Afghanistan and Iran in the West, India in the East.
Area: 796,1000 sq km
Population: 153.96 million
Largest city: Karachi
Terrain: In the North lie the mountains of Himalayas, Karakoram and HinduKush and famous Khyber Pass. In the South West is the Baluchistan Plateau - dry and rocky with little vegetation. In the South East is the Sandy Thar Desert which streches from India into Pakistan. In East and Centre of Pakistan is a great plain of Punjab and Sindh. These plains are in the valley of Indus river and its tributaries - Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi and Sutluj.
Climate: Pakistan has hot summers and cool winters. Central part is very hot and dry but vast irrigation system allows the cultivation of various crops. Rainfall varies from 20 inch in Eastern Punjb to less than 5 inch in Baluchistan.
Ethnic Group: Punjabis, Sindhis, Pathans and Balochs
Religion: Main religion is Islam, 95% of the population is muslim with 80% Sunni Muslims and 19% shia Muslims, rest are Hindus, Christians, Jews, Sikhs, Ahmadis and Zorastrians.
Language: Urdu is the National language, English is the official language used in the constitution and Punjabi is most widely spoken.
Currency: Pakistani Rupee (PKR)
Time zone: PST (UTC + 5:00)
Internet TLD: .pk
Calling Code: +92
Government: A military dictator, General Pervez Musharraf, is the de facto ruler of Pakistan. Islamic Republic - Parliamentary Form, Parliament has 2 houses The Senate - upper house and The National Assembly - lower house.
Constitution: It was declared Republic on March 23 in 1956. But this constitution has been repeatedly overthrown by a series of military dictators who have ruled Pakistan for a major part of its existence.
Executive Branch: President is the head of the State. At present, General Parvez Musharraf is the self-proclaimed President of Pakistan.
Legislative Branch: Prime Minister is the head of the government. Shaukat Aziz is the prime minister of Pakistan.
Judiciary Branch: The Supreme Court is the highest court. Like the constitution, the authority of the judiciary has repeatedly been usurped by the military rulers and the Pakistan Army.
Flag: It is called Sabz Hilal Parcham - Green Flag with Crescent. Amir-ud-Din Kidwai designed the Flag of Pakistan based on 1906 Flag of All India Muslim league and was adopted on August 11 1947, 3 days before independence. It has dark green field representing Muslims. In the center is white crescent which symbolises progress and white five pointed star symbolising light, knowledge and wisdom.
National Emblem: It was adopted in 1954 which is in green colour with crescent and star at the top representing Muslims. In the center is a shield which has 4 major crops of Pakistan: cotton, jute, tea and wheat representing agriculture. Around the shield is floral wreath of Mughal design, representing history of Pakistan. At the bottom the scroll contains Pakistan National Motto in Urdu language.
National Motto: Iman, Ittehan, Tanzim - Faith, Unity, Discipline
National Anthem: Qaumi Tarana
National Flower: Jasmine
National Tree: Deodar (Cedrus Deodara)
National Animal: Markhor (Capra falconeri)
National Bird: Chukar Partridge (Alectoris chukar), called Chakor in local language
Calendar: Islamic calander, its ninth month is characterised by day time fasting for 29-30 day called Ramadan, which is followed by Eid-ul-Fitr. Other one is Eid-ul- Adha in remembrance of Abraham. Both the Eid festivals are Public holidays.
National Holidays: Pakistan Day - 23 March
Independence Day: 14 August
Economy: It is a developing country with agriculture adding 20% of GDP, Service Sector - 53% of the country's GDP and Whole Sale and Retail Trade forming - 30% of this Sector. The economy is more or less sustained by massive aid from the United States, Saudi Arabia, China and other western countries.
Agriculture: Cotton, wheat, rice, sugarcane, fruits, vegetables, milk, beef, mutton and eggs.
Main Export: Cotton and cotton goods, rice, leather, carpet and fish.