Familiar twist in the tale

It sounds more than a bit outrageous to claim responsibility for an assassination a decade after it was carried out but the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is used to making wild, unsubstantiated claims without bothering to explain its stout denials earlier of not being involved in Benazir Bhutto’s murder on Dec 27, 2007. More often than not, militant groups like the TTP are prone to exaggeration — inflating the number of suicide bombings as well as claiming terrorist activities that were not even carried out by it.

Most of the shock and anger from the latest claim — catalogued in sketchy detail by the TTP book Inqilab Mehsood South Waziristan — From British Raj to American Imperialism — has long dissipated. Allegations that Benazir was planning to collaborate with the United States against the TTP seem hackneyed and have been heard years before. Such collaborative intentions cannot be proved — more so because neither Benazir nor her party was in power then.

Perhaps the militant group would care to tell Pakistan and the rest of the world how Benazir could pull off a plot against the TTP at the behest of the Americans. And we are supposed to believe that Baitullah Mehsud had received information of the plan in advance and decided to take action, as claimed in the book written by TTP leader Abu Mansoor Asim Mufti Noor Wali?

The book also claims that the TTP was behind the October 2007 attack on Benazir’s homecoming rally in Karachi that left more than 140 people dead. It named Bilal and Ikramullah as the perpetrators of the Rawalpindi attack that eventually killed her — backing Gen Pervez Musharraf’s long-standing claim about the TTP’s involvement but disputing the fact that adequate security was provided to the late PPP leader.

It is unclear whether or not the TTP was silent about its role in the assassination because it feared reprisals by the state, the PPP and its sympathisers. One thing, however, is certain: the Benazir murder case ought to be re-opened and properly re-investigated. All key stakeholders must raise their voice for this cause.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 18th, 2018.

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Benazir sworn is as the youngest PM of the world on December 2, 1988

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