KARACHI, February 22, 2012 (AFP)
Pakistan is in the final stages of asking Interpol to help arrest former military ruler Pervez Musharraf over the murder of ex-premier Benazir Bhutto, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said Tuesday.
“We will bring Musharraf back to the country soon with a red notice issued through Interpol,” Malik told lawmakers in the provincial assembly of Bhutto’s home province of Sindh.
“We are in the final phase of doing this,” he said without elaborating.
Bhutto was assassinated on December 27, 2007, while leaving an election rally in Rawalpindi, the headquarters of Pakistan’s army.
Musharraf, who has lived in self-imposed exile in London and Dubai since August 2008, last month indefinitely delayed plans to return home to contest elections after the government warned he would be arrested upon arrival.
Pakistani courts have issued warrants for his arrest over the 2006 death of Akbar Bugti, a Baluch rebel leader in the southwest, and the 2007 assassination of Bhutto, whose widower is Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari.
Malik, who was a close aide of Bhutto, accused Musharraf of refusing to provide her with adequate security and of threatening her by telephone when she was in Washington before returning to Pakistan in October 2007.
“Musharraf threatened her on phone: If you come to Pakistan, you will be responsible for the consequences. If you come to Pakistan before the elections, I will not be responsible for your security,” said Malik.
He quoted Bhutto as replying: “General, the decision to come to Pakistan is mine, not yours.”
Khalid Qureshi, head of the investigation team, said that slain Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud had plotted the murder. Malik said that overall 27 Taliban militants were involved in the assassination plot.
“From the plotters to the executioners, everyone has been identified now,” Malik said.
In March 2011, a Pakistani prosecutor also said Islamabad would ask Interpol to circulate a global arrest warrant for Musharraf over Bhutto’s murder.