Musharraf: Bhutto bears responsibility for her death

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf conceded that a gunman may have shot Benazir Bhutto but said the opposition leader exposed herself to danger and bore responsibility for her death, CBS News said on Saturday.

Musharraf was also quoted as telling the CBS 60 Minutes programme, to be broadcast on Sunday, that his government did everything it could to provide security for Bhutto, who was killed last week in a gun and suicide-bomb attack after a political rally.

”For standing up outside the car, I think it was she to blame alone. Nobody else. Responsibility is hers,” Musharraf said in the interview taped on Saturday morning.

Pakistan’s government has said Bhutto died when she struck her head on a handle on her vehicle’s sunroof — a contention widely derided in Pakistan where many people suspect Musharraf’s government of complicity. The government has also blamed al-Qaeda for the attack.

Musharraf was asked by CBS, which provided excerpts of the interview, whether a gunshot could have caused Bhutto’s head injury. He replied, ”Yes, yes.”

The questioner asked, ”So she may have been shot?” and Musharraf said, ”Yes, absolutely, yes. Possibility.”

Bhutto’s widower called on Saturday for a United Nations investigation of the killing.

In an opinion article in the Washington Post, Asif Ali Zardari urged that a caretaker government be named to oversee national elections that were postponed until next month and he outlined other standards for assessing their legitimacy.

”Democracy in Pakistan can be saved, and extremism and fanaticism contained, only if the elections, when they are held, are free, fair and credible,” he wrote.

Zardari is the new co-chairperson of Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), alongside their son, Bilawal.

Musharraf, a United States ally in its battle against terrorism, postponed the general election from January 8 to February 18, and the PPP is expected to benefit from a wave of sympathy for Bhutto.

Musharraf, whose re-election as president in October is still disputed by the opposition, will need support in the next Parliament and looks likely to have to renew efforts to reach an understanding with the Bhutto’s party, analysts say.

Caretaker government

Zardari has said the PPP would take part in the vote. But the elections, he said in the Post, must be conducted under a ”new, neutral caretaker government, free of cronies from Musharraf’s party”.

He also called for an independent election commission, monitoring by trained international observers with access to polling stations and an ability to conduct exit polls, press freedom and an independent judiciary.

He urged that the United States and Britain join the push for a UN probe. Britain has sent a team from Scotland Yard to help the government of nuclear-armed Pakistan investigate the killing, and Washington has endorsed the step.

However, Zardari said, ”an investigation conducted by the government of Pakistan will have no credibility, in my country or anywhere else”.

Bhutto had complained to an acquaintance shortly before she died that the Pakistani government was not meeting her security pleas.

CBS asked Musharraf whether he believed the government did everything possible for her security. ”Absolutely,” he said. ”She was given more security than any other person.” — Reuters

We make it make sense

If this story helped you navigate your world, subscribe to the M&G today for just R30 for the first three months

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.”

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Latest stories

Spaza shops take centre stage in township economy

Consumers living in such areas are spending more at spazas than big retailers, according to a report

PODCAST| Monkeypox: How it spreads, when to test and why...

The smallpox vaccine provides 85% protection against infection with monkeypox, but South Africa stopped vaccinating people against smallpox in 1980

Nike x Jacquemus collab: What to expect

The Nike x Jacquemus collaboration drops on Tuesday 28 June online. So far, no ludicrously tiny handbags in sight, but luxurious feminine twists on activewear that make this the collection you didn’t know you needed

Test cricket is dead, but not for the eager Proteas

Even before the demise of this format of the game was predicted, the women’s team had little opportunity to experience and enjoy it
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×