KARACHI: An anti-terrorism courtroom declared former army ruler Pervez Musharraf a fugitive in ex-prime minister Benazir Bhutto’s murder trial Thursday, just about 10 years after the iconic political determine used to be gunned down in the streets of Rawalpindi.
The courtroom brushed aside fees towards 5 alleged Taliban militants accused of being focused on the killing, whilst two cops have been discovered responsible of “mishandling the crime scene”, changing into the best folks to be convicted in the case.
The maximum definitive accounts of Bhutto’s demise declare an murderer shot her in the neck after which blew himself up, killing 24 folks.
But observers stated Thursday’s verdicts, the first to be issued in the decade since the assassination, presented no readability into who in reality orchestrated the killing.
And in a rustic the place conspiracy theories proceed to envelop the myriad assassinations of its political figures over many years, Bhutto’s demise isn’t any exception.
Here is an inventory of the main theories behind who killed Bhutto:
The state’s principle
Musharraf’s executive blamed the assassination on then-Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, who denied any involvement. He used to be killed in a US drone assault in 2009.
Bhutto were a fierce opponent of Islamic extremists in the nation, and had promised to take the struggle to militants primarily based in Pakistan’s tribal belt.
She used to be threatened by Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, native jihadist teams and probably from parts in the Pakistani status quo.
But Pakistani investigators in large part serious about lower-level operatives, paying little consideration to the hierarchy in the making plans, financing, and execution of the assassination.
In 2013 a Pakistani courtroom officially charged Musharraf with Bhutto’s killing in an unheard of transfer towards an ex-army leader.
Musharraf later fled Pakistan in 2016, drawing complaint from warring parties after the executive lifted a trip ban towards him.
He has remained in self-imposed exile ever since.
The UN’s principle
At the request of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) executive that got here into energy quickly after Bhutto’s murder, a three-member UN staff of investigators used to be dispatched to research the killing.
In its 70-page document launched in 2010, the UN categorically held Musharraf’s management liable for failing to offer Bhutto with the essential safety to push back the assault.
“Bhutto’s assassination may have been avoided if good enough security features were taken,” the record stated.
The staff additionally cited a large number of screw ups by police to correctly examine the murder and maintain the integrity of the crime scene.
Less than two hours after the assault senior police officer Khurram Shahzad hosed down the the scene. He used to be considered one of the two officials convicted Thursday.
The 2d officer, then-Rawalpindi police leader Saud Aziz, additionally refused more than one occasions to permit an post-mortem of Bhutto’s frame to head forward.
Police advised the UN fee that they amassed simply 23 items of proof from the scene, “in a case the place one would generally have anticipated hundreds”, consistent with the record.
But the UN staff hinted at one thing past police incompetence, pronouncing the respectable investigation used to be most probably stifled by the nation’s safety status quo.
“These officers partially fearing intelligence businesses’ involvement, have been not sure of ways vigorously they should pursue movements, which they knew, as pros, they will have to have taken,” it noticed.
However the UN staff stopped in need of naming suspects in the plot to kill Bhutto, pronouncing the duty lay with the Pakistani courts.
The conspiracy theories
Following Bhutto’s demise, the PPP got here to energy and her widower Asif Ali Zardari used to be elected president — however did not make headway unraveling the mysteries behind the murder, drawing recent allegations of conspiracy.
Speculation used to be additional fuelled after Zardari’s senior aide Bilal Sheikh used to be killed by a suicide bomber in Karachi in 2013.
Sheikh were in control of Bhutto’s safety when she returned to Karachi from exile in October 2007 when bomb assaults focused her convoy, killing round 140 folks.
However, Chilean diplomat Heraldo Munoz, who led the UN investigation, stated it used to be ridiculous to believe Bhutto’s widower were fascinated by her demise.
Al-Qaeda sought after her lifeless, he has argued, whilst the Pakistani Taliban completed the assault — in all probability with improve of rogue intelligence brokers — and native police did a cover-up he used to be satisfied “got here from upper up”.
He has additional argued that Bhutto’s personal safety failed her and people who inspired her to go back to Pakistan didn’t supply her with coverage.
Other unconfirmed hypothesis pointed against Bhutto’s depended on bodyguard Khalid Shahensha, with video clips appearing him making unusual gestures at the podium the place Bhutto addressed the rally moments ahead of her dying.
Months after the assassination, Shahensha used to be additionally gunned down mysteriously in Karachi.