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BB murder case confessions: Army denies any knowledge

File photo of Benazir Bhutto moments before her assassination. PHOTO: EPA

KARACHI: The Pakistan military says it has no knowledge about the purported confession made by former Rawalpindi police officials Saud Aziz and Khurram Shahzad detained in the Benazir Bhutto assassination case.

According to media reports, the detained police officers were taking orders from high-ranking army intelligence officials.

Special Public Prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar had claimed on Thursday that Aziz and Shahzad had admitted that four senior Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI) officials were in contact with the detained police officials during and after the gun-and-bomb attack on the slain PPP chairperson.

Director-General of ISPR Major-General Athar Abbas told The Express Tribune that Pakistan Army has received no communication whatsoever about the matter. Referring to comments made by the public prosecutor in Rawalpindi, he said these were “just media statements”.

“We have (so far) received no written request to interrogate (any) ISI and MI personnel who were allegedly in contact with the then Rawalpindi police chief, Saud Aziz, and other police officers,” Abbas said.

The spokesperson said that the military is represented in the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) that has been constituted for the second time to investigate the assassination. “A senior ISI official is part of the joint team. However, there is no MI official on the JIT,” he said.

According to the UN report on Benazir Bhutto’s murder, the commission was told that the then Rawalpindi police chief Saud Aziz “did not act independently” and “was ordered to hose down the (crime) scene by Major-General Nadeem Ijaz Ahmad, the then director-general of MI.”

Although Gen Ahmad is no more the DG MI, he continues to serve at a high post. Taj is now an Adjutant General at GHQ.

ISPR spokesperson said that any request to interrogate any official would have to follow due process and no individual “can be made available via (just) media reports”.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 25th, 2010.

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