Benazir points finger at MQM for Suharwardy’s murder
LAHORE: Former prime minister Benazir Bhutto has alleged that “militants of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), General Pervez Musharraf or the people who made Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan a scapegoat in the nuclear proliferation scandal” could be involved in the murder of her bodyguard, Munawar Suharwardy.
Speaking via telephone from London at a press conference at the Lahore Press Club on Thursday night, Ms Bhutto said that Mr Suharwardy’s murder was a great loss to the PPP and all party workers would mourn him for three days.“My first suspicion goes to those militants of the MQM who conspired to convert Karachi into Jinnahpur and killed hundreds of people. Shaheed Suharwardy was one of those who worked hard to establish peace in Karachi in 1993-1996 and foiled the attempt to establish Jinnahpur,” said Ms Bhutto, who as premier for the second time, ordered an operation in Karachi.
She alleged that MQM “militants” were killing security personnel and the political activists that participated in the Karachi operation to restore peace to the city. She said Gen Musharraf released the militants and gave power to the MQM in Sindh for “petty personal interest’.
“Gen Musharraf may also be behind Suharwardy’s murder. Last week, I told my party’s leaders that I wanted to return home and would inform them three days before my departure to Pakistan. The next day Gen Musharraf said that he would kick me. I feel that Suharwardy’s murder is a message to stop me returning home,” added Ms Bhutto. “I am not afraid of hidden messages from Gen Musharraf because I believe that the almighty kills and protects. I will return home and give a call to my workers three days before I travel to Pakistan,” she said.
She said those that made Dr AQ Khan a “scapegoat” might also be involved in her bodyguard’s assassination because the Pakistan People’s Party never believed that he was the key player in the nuclear proliferation scandal. “I don’t believe that such a big scandal could have taken place under the nose of Gen Musharraf,” said the PPP chairperson.
Ms Bhutto said Abdullah Murad had been murdered a few days after she gave an interview to a foreign newspaper about the proliferation scandal in February. She said Suharwardy was killed after she gave another interview about the scandal last week. “I fear that more political activists may be killed in the near future. She demanded the constitution of a commission consisting of Justice (r) Nasir Aslam Zahid and Justice (r) Mamoon Qazi to investigate Suharwardy’s murder.
She said Gen Musharraf had promised to give Pakistan a true democracy but he could not even establish a sham democracy and settled for a “sham dictatorship”.
Ms Bhutto ruled out the possibility of PPP-government talks. “I personally believe that talks should take place between the PPP and the government but since Musharraf came to power, he has been beating the PPP with his stick. He did the same thing with the PML-N and sent Shahbaz Sharif back to Jeddah. In such circumstances, there is no chance of PPP-government talks,” she said.
She accused Gen Musharraf of putting Pakistan at risk for Zmerican interests. “Washington always watches its own interests and it needs Gen Musharraf for the war on terror at present, but Pakistanis should watch their own interest.”
To a question, she said Gen Musharraf had all the power and Zafarullah Jamali was only prime minister because of the Chaudhries of Gujrat.
Ms Bhutto said the PPP had wanted the present parliament to complete its tenure but Gen Musharraf’s “interference” had led to horse-trading and now fresh elections were necessary. In the end, she thanked the rickshaw driver who took Mr Suharwardy to Aga Khan Hospital when he was shot.