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Key witness retracts statement in Benazir Bhutto murder case

Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s murder case trial received a setback when another key witness retracted his earlier statement during cross examination before the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC). Bhutto was killed in a bomb and gun attack in Rawalpindi in 2007 as she came out of a park after addressing an election rally.

Anti-Terrorism Court Judge Rai Mohammad Ayub Marth commenced hearing in the Bhutto murder case in Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi on Monday when a prosecution witness, retired SSP Imtiaz – a key security official of Bhutto – withdrew his earlier statement, the Dawn reported on Tuesday.

Earlier, witnesses like former director general National Crisis Management Cell (NCMC) retired Brigadier Javed Iqbal Cheema and SSP Yasin Farooq had disowned the statements attributed to them by the prosecution.

Imtiaz in his early statement had claimed that Bhutto was killed due to inadequate security arrangements. He had also alleged that the then city police officer Saud Aziz and other high ups were not on duty when the attackers targeted Bhutto.

But on Monday, he told the court that foolproof security cover was provided to Bhutto and all police officers including the then CPO Aziz were also present on the scene. He said “had Benazir not appeared from sunroof of the vehicle, she might not have been killed.”

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