(aljazeera.com)Prosecutors allege Musharraf was part of a conspiracy to kill Bhutto, but Musharraf has denied the charge & [EPA]
Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf will be arrested in connection with the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto if he returns to the country, a government prosecutor has said.
There is no need for any “fresh arrest warrants” for him as a court has already issued orders for his arrest, prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali told reporters on Saturday.
Hours earlier, Musharraf told a Pakistani news channel that he would come back later this month to contest the next parliamentary elections.
Musharraf has been living in London and Dubai since 2008 when the government, led by Bhutto’s party, forced him to resign.
Bhutto was killed in 2007 in a gun and suicide bomb attack near the capital, Islamabad, after returning home to contest elections. Musharraf, at the time, had blamed the Pakistani Taliban for her murder, but the prosecution alleges he was part of the plot.
In November, a Pakistani court formally charged seven, including two senior police officers and five suspected Taliban fighters, for their alleged role in Bhutto’s killing. Musharraf was not among those charged at the time.
Musharraf now heads his own faction of the All Pakistan Muslim League, a small political party that does not have any major base in the country. Some of his former supporters have quit his party.
His spokesman, Fawad Chaudhry, asserted that the arrest warrant for Musharraf had no legal value.
“We have challenged this arrest warrant in a court,” he said, adding that Musharraf would announce a final date for returning home this week, but “he will come back soon to lead the nation”.
Ongoing power struggle
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari has said leaving office is not an option and that no one has asked him to resign, responding to speculation that the powerful military wanted his departure.
“No one has asked for it yet. If someone does, I’ll tell you,” Zardari, who appeared in good spirits after medical treatment in Dubai last month, said in a pre-recorded interview with one of the country’s most popular television anchors.
Zardari is facing his biggest political crisis since he took office in 2008 over an unsigned memo to the Pentagon that sought US help in reining in Pakistan’s generals, who have ruled the nation for more than half of its history.
Zardari’s deeply unpopular government is opposing an investigation ordered& by the Supreme Court into the memo, contending that only a parliamentary committee on national security is entitled to investigate.
Although his position is largely ceremonial, Zardari wields considerable influence as leader of the ruling party and any forced departure would be a humiliation for the civilian leadership and could throw the country into turmoil.
When asked in the interview if “escape” was an option for him, Zardari replied: “Why should it be?”
For future reference to any Afghanistan politicians: The former president of Afghanistan – Burhanuddin Rabbani, a major figure who was leading peace talks aimed at ending the war – was killed in his home Tuesday by a suicide attacker wearing an exploding turban.(I bet THAT was messy.)
(english.aljazeera.net) Burhanuddin Rabbani, a former president of Afghanistan, has been killed in a suicide attack in the country’s capital, Kabul.
Rabbani, who served as president in the 1990s, was recently made the head of the High Peace Council, tasked by Hamid Karzai, the current president, to reach out to the Taliban.
Mohammad Zaher, Kabul’s criminal investigations chief, said two men “negotiating with Rabbani on behalf of the Taliban” arrived at his house on Tuesday, one with explosives hidden in his turban.
“He approached Rabbani and detonated his explosives. Rabbani was martyred and four others including Masoom Stanekzai [his deputy] were injured”.
Fazel Karim Aymaq, a member of the High Peace Council, said the men claimed to have come with “special messages” from the Taliban and were thought to be “very trusted.”
When Rabbani appeared, the man shook the former president’s hand and bowed in a sign of respect, Aymaq said. “Then his turban exploded.”
The blast broke windows in Rabbani’s home and shook nearby houses.
Initial reports said four bodyguards had been killed but Zaher said this was incorrect.
The latest in a series of targeted killings, Rabbani’s is the most high-profile political killing since 2001.
He was president of the Afghan government that preceded the Taliban, a period of civil war that saw thousands of people killed.
After he was driven away from Kabul by the Taliban in 1996, he became the nominal head of the Northern Alliance, which swept to power in the capital after the Taliban’s fall in 2001.
President Karzai, who cut short a trip to the United Nations in New York after hearing of the attack, called on Afghans to remain unified in the face of Rabbani’s “martyrdom”. An emergency cabinet meeting was called for on Wednesday.
The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also condemned the killing and underscored the UN’s commitment to “supporting Afghanistan and its people attaining peace and stability and to working in close co-operation with them,” his spokesman said.
Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan’s president, and Yousuf Raza Gilani, the prime minister, also condemned the attack.
Amrullah Saleh, a former intelligence chief who fought against the Taliban under Rabbani, told Al Jazeera the attacks showed the government’s failure in protecting high-profile figures.
“These attacks tell us that the policy of appeasement and deal making with the Taliban and Pakistan is not going to lead to peace.
“By adapting a vague policy of so called reconciliation, [the government] has created confusion in our society
and weakened the government to the extent that they can’t even protect high-profiled leaders in the capital.”
Rabbani’s death could also unleash the resentment building up among some senior Northern Alliance members, who have criticised Karzai for his peace efforts with the Taliban.
“If Karzai wants to keep Afghanistan united, he has to launch massive massive investigations and bring the culprits to justice.”