Two police officers indicted over former PM Bhutto murder

14:08, December 12, 2010      

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An Anti-Terrorism Court in Pakistan Saturday ordered to indict two senior police officers accused of negligence in the killing of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in Dec. 2007 in gun and suicide attack in the garrison city of Rawalpindi.

The court was told that the officers including Rawalpindi's ex- police chief had failed to make proper arrangements in the garrison city near the capital city Islamabad and then ordered the crime scene to be prematurely hosed down.

Three years have passed and it is not yet confirmed as to who had killed Benazir Bhutto, who was twice prime minister of Pakistan.

A United Nations inquiry commission report released in April said the proper security arrangements were not taken for Bhutto's security and that the killing could have been prevented.

The UN report also criticized the Pakistani police's decision to hose down the crime scene hours after the attack, and said its failure to collect and preserve evidence "inflicted irreparable damage to the investigation".

On Sunday, the anti-terrorism court had issued warrants for arrest for two senior police officers -- then police chief Saood Aziz and one of his deputies Khurram Shehzad, according to special prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfikar Ali.

Lawyers said that both police officers appeared in the court on Saturday and moved bail applications.

The judge ruled that both police officers be formally indicted and must be questioned as to why they had failed to take required security arrangements. He also called for a detailed report to be presented in the court on the next hearing on Dec. 18.

The trial is held inside a Rawalpindi prison over security concerns.

Five people are facing trial for alleged involvement in Bhutto' s murder and all have denied any involvement.

Bhutto was killed shortly after she addressed an election rally, where she was campaigning ahead of parliamentary elections, just weeks after returning from exile.

A government investigation blamed the then chief of Pakistani Taliban, Baitullah Mehsud. He denied being involved in the assassination and was killed in a suspected U.S. missile attack in August, 2009.

Source: Xinhua
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