Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Bhutto Blast Detective Quits After Accusations

By Cernig

How weird is it that the Pakistani government would appoint a known enemy of the Bhutto family to head the investigation into who attempted to assassinate her?
The senior detective leading the investigation into the suicide attack on Benazir Bhutto withdrew from the case after the opposition leader accused him of involvement in the torture of her husband, a senior official said Wednesday.

Ghulam Muhammad Mohtarem, the home secretary of Sindh province, said the government would assemble a new team of investigators for the Oct. 18 attack in Karachi by two suicide bombers on a truck carrying Bhutto through a sea of more than 150,000 supporters welcoming her back from more than eight years in exile.

...Bhutto has blamed militants for the attack on her but accused elements in the government and security services of complicity and called for international experts to help in the investigation.

She specifically objected to Manzar Mughal, a senior investigator in the Sindh province police force, claiming he had been present while her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, was tortured in custody on corruption charges in 1999.

"The investigation team will be formed anew after Manzur Mughal disassociated himself from the investigation in view of the objections raised by Benazir Bhutto on the chief investigator's credentials," Mohtarem said.

Mohtarem said the provincial government had no doubt about Mughal's competency and professionalism, but that he had decided to withdraw from the five-member investigation team to protect it from accusations of bias.

Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz reiterated the government's insistence that Pakistani authorities are capable of solving the case without the foreign help that Bhutto has requested.
And, of course, the trail gets colder as a new team is assembled.

Meanwhile, over in the Swat area of Pakistan, Musharaff has sent 2,500 troops in to supposedly confront Islamist militants there - something that neocon Musharaff supporters are lauding as a sea-change in Pakistan's patchy history of only fighting Islamist terrorists that challenge Mushi, not ones that support him - but their zeal for their task must surely be questioned:
The troops sent to the northwest to combat followers of Fazlullah were setting up checkpoints across Swat, a mountain valley popular with tourists until violence flared there this summer, army spokesman Maj. Gen. Waheed Arshad said.

Militants responded by detonating a remote-controlled bomb near a convoy heading into the valley late Tuesday. Arshad said four soldiers were lightly wounded and security forces had detained seven suspects.

Some 6,000 of Fazlullah's supporters, many carrying weapons, poured Wednesday into a schoolyard less than six miles from where the soldiers were deployed, vowing to back the cleric.
Musharaff needs the support of Islamist militant political groups to survive - and those militants in turn support the ones he says he is fighting. It's hardly surprising that many observers think he's stringing the Bush administration along, milking them for military aide while only presenting an appearance of fighting terrorism.

No comments: