Islamabad, Feb 9 (IANS) Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Benazir Bhutto had been assured that she would be the prime minister after the 2007 general elections, revealed a forensic report that was compiled after retrieving data from her personal BlackBerry phones. An email begins by calling her “Respected Prime Minister”.
The Express Tribune said that one of her close associates informed Benazir through an email that the then US secretary of state and the then head of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) had also given the nod.
A team of experts of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) have managed to retrieve five dozen e-mails from the two BlackBerry phones of the slain leader.
An e-mail sent by a leading PPP leader Oct 23, 2007, to Benazir Bhutto said: “Respected Prime Minister (Benazir Bhutto), the United States confirmed that a crucial message had been sent to intelligence agencies of Pakistan, specifically not to interfere in party affairs and stay away from the electoral process. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and director-general Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) have done a secret deal for your (Benazir Bhutto) premiership.”
“Congratulations Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and warm regards.”
The e-mails are going to provide crucial help in the probe into her unsolved killing.
Bhutto was assassinated Dec 27, 2007, as she was leaving Liaquat Bagh in a motorcade after addressing an election rally in Rawalpindi.
A teenaged shooter was seen aiming for her head in the CCTV footage before a powerful suicide blast killed at least 24 people participating in the rally.
The interior ministry at that time accused the Taliban of plotting to kill Bhutto while the doctors said as she was standing in her vehicle “her head banged against the lever of the sunroof of her vehicle, which caused her death”.
A few days prior to her killing, Benazir sent an email to American journalist Ron Suskind. While referring to then president Pervez Musharraf, she said that Musharraf had given an alarming message: “You (Benazir) should understand that your security is based on the state of relations between you and me (Benazir and Musharraf).”
Benazir expressed dissatisfaction over her security in an e-mail Oct 26, 2007 sent to her advisor in Washington DC, Mark Siegel.
She wrote: “Nothing will happen, just wanted you to know. If it does, in addition to the names in my letter to President Musharraf, I would hold Musharraf responsible. I have been made to feel insecure by his minions and there is no way what is happening in terms of stopping me from taking private security or using tinted windows of four police mobiles to cover all sides could happen without him (Musharraf).”
Bhutto also sent an SMS message to noted interviewer Daphne Barak. In reply to an SMS message, Barak wrote: “Bibi, you are going to Pakistan. It’s a trap for you now. But you are insisting to go back.”
The FIA’s Forensics Lab has retrieved the crucial data from the BlackBerry phones. Nearly 400 hundred contact numbers have been saved.
FIA’s latest investigation report, compiled by head of investigation team Khalid Qureshi, said: “Musharraf was equally responsible for facilitation and abetment of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto through his government and justified failure in providing her the requisite security protection that her status demanded twice. There was a security lapse.”
Former president Pervez Musharraf’s name was Monday included in the list of accused in the Benazir Bhutto assassination case.
Musharraf’s name was added to the list following a statement of former Rawalpindi city police chief Saud Aziz.
Aziz claimed that Musharraf had given the order to change Benazir’s security in-charge. He also claimed that the murder scene was immediately washed on Musharraf’s orders.
Musharraf ruled Pakistan for nine years after taking power in a bloodless coup in 1999. He stepped down in 2008 and left Pakistan. He now lives in London.
In December last year, Pervez Musharraf was sent a questionnaire by the interior ministry regarding Bhutto’s assassination during his presidency.