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Benazir covered up my father's murder, says Fatima Bhutto

Fatima Bhutto  

Fatima Bhutto, niece of slain Pakistan People's Party (PPP) leader and the former Pakistan Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto, has said her aunt had covered up the 1996 killing of her (Ms. Fatima's) father Murtaza.

Ms. Fatima alleged that Benazir's husband Asif Ali Zardari, now Pakistan President, was also involved in the killing of Murtaza on September 20, 1996.

When asked by Karan Thapar in Devil's Advocate programme on CNN-IBN whether Mr. Zardari was involved in the killing, Ms. Fatima said, “Yes.”

No charges were, however, proved against Mr. Zardari.

On whether she believed Benazir Bhutto — who was then Prime Minister of Pakistan — had a role to play, she replied, “Yes. Unfortunately.”

“Moral responsibility”

Explaining why she believed Benazir was involved, the 27-year-old Fatima said, “She presided over a state of lawlessness. My father was one of thousands killed under her second government, so certainly she bears a moral responsibility. And after his murder, my aunt played a strong role in the cover-up. We were forbidden from filing an FIR.”

Fatima, who has authored the book Songs of Blood and Sword on the events surrounding her father's death, said all witnesses were arrested and released only after Benazir's government fell.

She alleged that Masood Sharif, who was head of the Intelligence Bureau of Pakistan, was present at the scene of crime when her father was shot dead. He was later inducted into the Central Committee of the Pakistan People's Party.

“To induct a man who has been publicly accused of your brother's murder sends a certain signal,” Fatima said.

Opposed his return

She asserted that Benazir was opposed to her brother's return to Pakistan. “She [Benazir] was preparing, one would assume, to be General Zia's Prime Minister, who was still alive at that time,” Fatima said.

The young author also insisted that Farooq Leghari, who was President at the time of Murtaza's assassination, had stated later in interviews that “Zardari has the blood of Murtaza Bhutto on his hands and God knows how many other people.”

Acrimony

Fatima also mentions other details of the acrimonious relationship between Benazir and Murtaza in her book.

“Yes, she [Benazir] refused him [Murtaza] a seat” during the 1993 elections, Fatima said. Murtaza wanted to contest from the Bhutto pocket borough of Larkana.


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Printable version | Jan 20, 2022 8:40:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/Benazir-covered-up-my-fathers-murder-says-Fatima-Bhutto/article16364024.ece

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