December 27, 2013 marks the sixth anniversary of the murder of Benazir Bhutto and there is no indication that we are any closer to knowing on whose orders the killing was carried out. The PPP, led by Asif Ali Zardari, swept to a landslide victory in the election that followed her death, and it might have been expected that every resource at its disposal would have been deployed to catch those responsible. Little could be further from the reality. There was no post-mortem so there is no clear determination as to whether she died of gunshot wounds or the result of striking the door of the armoured hatchway of the armoured capsule she was in at the time — or possibly a combination of both. Whatever forensic evidence was on the scene was washed away within an hour of her murder and subsequent inquiries into her death have reached no clear conclusions either.
The UN report into the case, which had been demanded by former president Zardari, was sharply critical. It concluded that her death could have been prevented if appropriate security measures had been in place, and that the Scotland Yard forensic investigation team were gravely misled by the Pakistan police. The intelligence services were less than helpful and Rehman Malik, responsible for Benazir Bhutto’s security at the time, is said to have been unable to provide a straight answer to any of the UN team’s questions. The conclusion of this report was that the failure to properly investigate her death was deliberate and the conspiracy mill remains in uninformed overdrive. On the day she died, none of the agencies tasked with her protection were adequately discharging their duties and subsequent to her death, their investigation has been at best flawed, at worst deliberately hindered. The chances of ever getting to the truth fade almost by the day. Commemorative rallies and functions in celebration of the life of Benazir Bhutto are no substitute for an open and honest investigation. Going by the past six years we expect no early result.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 27th, 2013.