KARACHI: Asif Ali Zardari, PPP co-chairman and spouse of former premier Benazir Bhutto, has demanded a larger political investigation into the assassination of Benazir Bhutto under the auspices of the U.N. which will be an independent probe to identify the sponsors, financiers, organizers and perpetrators of the crime. In an interview with an Indian daily, he said the regime says that al Qaeda is involved. It has also been claiming that al Qaeda operates from across the Pakistani borders. So if by government’s own admission it is a case of international terrorism, why it should not invite U.N. investigators?
“We also need an investigation into why the government changed its version and into the cover up that followed the assassination. Had the regime investigated the October 18th massacre that targeted Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, she may be alive today. Instead of hunting down the assailants, the regime covered up that probe as well, providing impunity to terrorists that struck the first night she landed in Pakistan,” he alleged.
To a question about power sharing with Nawaz Sharif, Zardari said the PPP and Mr Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) are signatories to the Charter for Democracy but question about power sharing with him is premature. “We have been allies in the Alliance for Restoration of Democracy (ARD). We have a common cause in opposing the dictatorship. All questions about sharing power are premature. Decisions in this regard will be taken by the Party’s central executive when the time comes. The first question facing all of us is getting free and fair elections and returning Pakistan to the path of democracy.”
To question that if the PPP comes to power would it seek to impeach Mr Musharraf?
The PPP has just lost its leader. I have just lost my wife. My children have lost their mother. Our party is facing massive repression and threats to our security. Pakistanis are engaged in a struggle for the restoration of democracy. I think these are the realities we face. This question is hypothetical. For now, we are focused on the elections. Do you believe the Supreme Court judges fired by Mr Musharraf should be reinstated and would your party do this if it wins the Feb. 18 election?
The PPP has been unequivocal in demanding independence of the judiciary. Lawyers belonging to the PPP, most notably Aitzaz Ahsan, were prominent in the struggle for rule of law that followed the ouster of the Chief Justice by Musharraf in March. From the footage of the rallies of that period it is clear that the crowds all waved PPP flags. At that time the issue was simple: To get the Chief Justice restored to his office. Subsequently the regime complicated the matter with the Provisional Constitution Order (PCO) and a lot of legal mumbo jumbo. We will have to find a way around it and our approach will be institutional, not centered on individuals. The PPP manifesto and the Charter of Democracy it signed with the PML (N) clearly state that we will re-establish the judiciary’s independence under the constitution and we plan to do just that if we win the election and form the government.
Punjab govt committee to probe into PPPP allegations
ISLAMABAD: On the direction of Chief Election Commissioner Mr Justice (Retd) Qazi Muahammad Farooq, Punjab chief secretary has constituted a committee comprising additional chief secretary, secretary LG&RD and the home secretary to probe into the allegations leveled by a delegation of Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians. The report is to be furnished by the committee within three days.
The spokesman of the Election Commission informed that a delegation headed by Shah Mahmood Qureshi of PPPP during its meeting with the provincial election commissioner Punjab had leveled allegations of serious nature which were brought to the notice of the chief election commissioner whereupon the provincial government was directed to probe into the allegations.-SANA