Justice denied

The question  who killed Benazir Bhutto is still unanswered long after her assassination in December 2007. There were no definitive answers from within Pakistan and the United Nations report, made after an investigation by a commission on the request of the Pakistan government,   also has not provided any answer. But the commission has stated the possible motives for the assassination and has shed light on many circumstances that made it possible. Benazir had taken a strong position against terrorists.  She wanted to improve Pakistan’s relations with India. The forces in Pakistan which did not like her  positions  on these issues might have been behind the assassination.  There is suspicion that the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan or the ISI might have had a hand. They are difficult to be confirmed.

But the commission has confirmed other facts and circumstances which are known. Benazir was not provided the level of security she needed in view of the seriousness of the threat to her life. The commission indicts the Musharraf government for it and has even named some officials for their lapses. The government, which had under US pressure entered into a deal with Benazir, not only failed in ensuring her protection but also tried to scuttle further investigations into the assassination.  Taken together they show the dubious role of the Musharraf government in the series of incidents starting with the deal through her return to Pakistan  to the assassination. The report points fingers, and shows the people who made it easy for the killers to act, though it does not name the killers. It has mentioned the decisive role of the army and the ISI in the affairs of Pakistan  and has called for an investigation into charges that they were involved in Benazir’s assassination.

There is an internal investigation still going on into Benazir’s assassination in Pakistan. It can work on the information contained in the UN report and the findings it has made. But it is doubtful if it can reach any firm conclusions. The government has taken some action against lower level officials named in the report. But the big fish who actually planned the assassination and executed the plan are likely to remain outside the net even if the present or any future investigation is allowed to go through the motions. The value of the UN report is that it has given credibility to many suspicions surrounding the conspiracy, the assassination and its cover-up.

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