Who killed Benazir Bhutto?

Benazir Bhutto

Osama vs Benazir: A Timeline of hate


Osama bin Laden’s personal animosity for Benazir Bhutto stretched back two decades before her assassination. He had previously financed at least two operations to kill her and one serious attempt to topple her government.

In 1989, for example, Osama is alleged to have bankrolled an establishment-backed plot to bring a no-confidence motion against her government which would effectively remove her as prime minister. Operation Midnight Jackal was led by the infamous spymaster Brigadier Imtiaz ‘The Cat’ Billa and other officers who attempted to bribe parliamentarians to rig the vote. The plot was foiled by sections of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) loyal to the PM and the officers arrested.

Benazir Bhutto claimed Osama bin Laden had funnelled $10 million to the conspirators which was used to purchase the votes. This account is confirmed by former ISI agent and one-time close confidant of bin Laden, Khalid Khawaja, who claimed that Nawaz Sharif promised Osama bin Laden that he would impose shariah in the country if he helped finance the plot.

Benazir reportedly called King Fahd of Saudi Arabia after Osama’s involvement was confirmed and asked him to recall ‘his man’ otherwise he would be arrested and interrogated. The prime minister reportedly delivered a veiled threat to the monarch, saying that failure to do this would lead to uncomfortable speculation in ‘Pakistan’s free media’ about Saudi interference in Pakistan’s internal affairs. An account of this phone call is contained in leading Al Qaeda specialist Peter Bergen’s book The Osama I Knew: An Oral history of Al Qaeda’s Leader (Simon and Schuster) which also claims it was the reason Osama finally left Pakistan.

2007 wasn’t the only time that the Al Qaeda leader had attempted to silence the PPP leader

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Who killed Benazir Bhutto?


Sarwar Khan struggled to breathe as he opened his eyes in the suffocating darkness. Only a few hours earlier he had been at his desk in Islamabad finishing up an ordinary day’s work. Now the Ahmadi businessman was nailed inside a coffin, gasping for air. His captors had injected him with sedatives and were attempting to transport him out of the city in an ambulance, disguised as a corpse — but the dose was wearing off, giving way to Sarwar’s blood-curdling screams. As the kidnappers stopped to subdue their human freight, a taxi driver on the highway witnessed the suspicious activity and called the authorities.

The police action that followed that day in February 2009 led to the capture of one of the most influential AlQaeda strategists and ideologues in the organisation’s history. Major Haroon Ashiq was arrested from the outskirts of Peshawar while trying to smuggle Sarwar Khan into the tribal areas. A former Special Services Group (SSG) commando, Haroon had left the army after 2001 and joined hands with the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) before graduating to the highest ranks of Al Qaeda’s network in Pakistan. Major Haroon, it emerged, had been a mastermind of the Mumbai attacks the previous year and also a key player in some of the most spectacular militant operations in Pakistan in living memory. These included a sustained campaign of attacks on Nato supply lines, the murder of a former head of the elite SSG Major General Faisal Alvi, as well the kidnapping of Karachi-based filmmaker Satish Anand.

Haroon’s role in Al Qaeda was not merely operational but also strategic and visionary. He was one of the only Pakistanis to be elected a member of the organisation’s shura (council) and is credited with reviving its flagging fortunes after 2003 in a massive overhaul of the group’s organisational structure and tactics. Kidnapping for ransom was also a new tactic developed under him to help Al Qaeda out of a severe financial crunch.

Major Haroon admitted his role in all these acts but one of the most important pieces of information he gave to interrogators was about a case in which he claimed not to have been involved at all: the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

December 27 marks a decade since one of the most traumatic events in Pakistan’s recent political history. A 10-year investigation into the masterminds behind the assassination of the former prime minister of Pakistan has yielded some breakthrough revelations, that are being presented here for the first time…

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The Slaying of Chaudhry Zulfikar


Dynamic and headstrong, Chaudhry Zulfikar, the FIA’s lead prosecutor in the Benazir Bhutto case, carried an unrelenting reputation of pursuing some of the most dangerous cases in the country. For this fact alone, he was looked on with a mixture of admiration and weary amazement. Among the high profile cases he was pursuing was the Mumbai attack probe in which he had brought evidence against seven members of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

Zulfikar also brought murder charges against General Pervez Musharraf in the Benazir Bhutto assassination case, the first time a former military dictator had been made to appear before a judge in the country’s history. The unprecedented move, it was said, angered many in the military establishment who would not countenance the humiliation of a former army chief.

“He faced danger from so many fronts,” a fellow prosecutor and friend of Zukfikar’s told Eos. “But he was a remarkable man, a remarkable lawyer. He fought every case like his life depended on it.”

The death threats had started to increase in the final days, but Zulfikar trudged boldly on. His murder might have remained completely unresolved, if it weren’t for one fortuitous stroke of luck that helped investigators achieve a breakthrough.

The inside story of the assassination of the lead prosecutor in the Benazir Bhutto murder case, and what it tells us about who killed her

Zulfikar was killed as he made his way to court on the morning of May 3, 2013, to appear in hearing of the Benazir murder case. He was driving himself and was escorted by an armed guard sitting on the passenger seat. As he prepared to take make a turn, the assassins drove alongside the car and sprayed it with a hail of bullets. They pumped 10 bullets into Zulfikar’s chest and also injured the guard who was shot in the back. Zulfikar then lost control of the car which careened up an adjacent green belt and ran over a female bystander before smashing into a tree. The woman, who had just dropped her child off at school, died instantly. Job done, the assassins prepared to flee the scene.

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