Pakistanis are skeptical of probes into political attacks and murders and rightly so — October 18 marked one year to the day that the attack took place on the procession of Benazir Bhutto as she returned from years in exile.
The first anniversary was marked with candlelit vigils and memorial meetings. President Zardari, late Bhutto’s husband, landed in Karachi from his trip to China to participate in such events.
While there was a lot of talk what is increasingly clear is that there has been little action. The police are as clueless today as they were one year ago as to who murdered her. It is still unclear why the street lights were off and police cordon was missing around Bhutto’s truck at the time of the blast.
In a belated move, the government has arrested people who were mentioned the previous day by Bhutto, saying she had named “certain people” in a letter to President Musharraf. Later the names were leaked to the media and included then Punjab Chief Minister Perwez Elahi and former intelligence chief Hamid Gul.
Now a police report has been registered against them but the leader of the opposition, Chaudhry Nisar Ali, who belongs to the PML-N party of Mian Nawaz Sharif says that the real culprit is former President Musharraf.
The government for its part has made it quite clear that Musharraf will not be arrested. In all this, President Zardari continues to insist on a UN probe into the murder of Bhutto, which happened about two and a half months later.
What is clear that in both cases there was some level of official complicity given the manner in which both crime scenes were quickly cleaned up, leaving little time for investigators to look for clues. Most
Pakistanis say they may never know how Bhutto died and more importantly who killed her. Like most political leaders assassinated in Pakistan, this mystery too will never be solved.