The core group of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) on Saturday asked the government to take “appropriate legal action” against the former military ruler, Pervez Musharraf, and all others named in the United Nations report on the circumstances that led to the assassination of the former Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto, in December 2007.
Under criticism from within and outside the party for the government's inability to find her killers despite being in power for two years now, the PPP's central leadership also urged competent authorities to fix criminal responsibility.
The meeting — convened two days after the submission of the report — was presided over by President Asif Ali Zardari, who is also PPP's co-chairman. The government was asked to initiate legal action against officials named in the report. However, the President's spokesman Farhatullah Babar did not go into the specifics of the legal action.
According to Mr. Babar, the PPP's core group took note of the fact that the report had endorsed the party position that General (retd.) Musharraf was responsible for the assassination of Ms. Bhutto. Recalling Benazir's own fears of the former President gunning for her life, the PPP leadership also resolved to expose and bring to justice all those, including Gen. (retd.) Musharraf, “who planned, abetted and indulged in the criminal act, screened off the offenders and destroyed the evidence,” Mr. Babar said while briefing the media on what transpired at the PPP meeting.
Hours after the late-night meeting, Law Minister Babar Awan told journalists on Sunday that no one, however powerful, would be spared and implementation of the report could begin as early as within 24 hours.
“We accept the U. N. report in totality. Had we named certain individuals, it would have been called a witch-hunt, but now the facts are out. No one will escape the hands of the law,” he said.
The inability of a PPP-led government to nab Benazir's assassins has been a major disappointment for party workers who said it also reflected poorly on the leadership's abilities.
In fact, a staple of all PPP rallies in the past two years has been slogans like ‘na roti chahiye, na ghar chahiye, BB [Benazir Bhutto] ke kaatilon ka sar chahiye' (we don't want bread or a house, we want Benazir's assassin's head) and ‘BB hum sharminda hai, tere kaatil zinda hai' (BB we are sorry that your assassins are still alive.)