Islamabad: The Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in 2007, saying it killed her as she allegedly planned to collaborate with the US against the ‘mujahideen’ if she returned to power, says a book by the banned terror group.
“The return of Benazir Bhutto was planned at the behest of the Americans as they had given her a plan against the ‘Mujahideed-e-Islam’. Baitullah had received information of the plan,” the book claimed, in a reference to slain Pakistani Taliban founder Baitullah Mehsud.
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chief Bhutto, 54, was killed in a suicide attack in Rawalpindi shortly after she had addressed an election rally on 27 December 2007.
Former president Pervez Musharraf had blamed the Tehreek- e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) for the attack but the outfit had denied it.
The book says suicide bombers Bilal, also known as Saeed, and Ikramullah were tasked to carry out the attack on Bhutto.
“Bomber Bilal first fired at Benazir Bhutto from his pistol and the bullet hit her neck. Then he detonated his explosive jacket and blew himself up among the participants of the procession,” the book claimed.
TTP leader Abu Mansoor Asim Mufti Noor Wali has written the book and published it on 30 November 2017, at “Maseed Computer Centre in Barmal, in Afghanistan’s Paktika province,” according to details in the book.
The 588-page book, which contains many photographs of Taliban leaders, was posted online.
It revealed that Baitullah Mehsud had approved the Karachi attack on Bhutto’s procession when she returned to Pakistan to lead her party campaign for the 2008 parliamentary elections.
It says Ikramullah, a resident of Makeen town in South Waziristan, escaped from the blast site and is still alive.
It does not say if it is the same Ikramullah, who was declared an absconder by an anti-terrorism court along with five others, including TTP chief Mehsud who was killed in a US drone strike in South Waziristan in 2009.
Musharraf had been formally charged in the case by an anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi in August, 2017. The ATC also declared Musharraf an absconder in the case.
The court had named Musharraf in the case in February 2011. The former army chief had on a number of occasions denied any involvement in the murder and dismissed the charges as politically-motivated.
Bhutto’s son and PPP co-chairman Bilawal had again blamed Musharraf for his mother’s killing in his speech to supporters on her 10th death anniversary on 27 December last year.
The five TTP suspects in Bhutto’s murder case Rafaqat Hussain, Husnain Gul, Sher Zaman, Aitzaz Shah and Abdul Rashid were cleared of all charges in the murder trial last August.