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Bhutto Assassination: The ISI connections with her security detail. [View All]

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robertpaulsen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-28-07 05:35 PM
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Bhutto Assassination: The ISI connections with her security detail.
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Yesterday I posted a thread on the Bhutto assassination examining who would benefit in Pakistan from such a tragedy. In addition to al Qaeda/ISI and Musharraf, I tried to shed some light on Musharraf's replacement as army chief, the "quiet man" Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.

Bhutto Assassination: Cui bono?

Today I'd like to focus more on Bhutto's security detail. I was shocked to see how lax security seemed to be yesterday viewing the last photo of her taken prior to the assassination, and it was no surprised to read on Raw Story how the police abandoned their posts shortly before she was killed. Bhutto had previously stated that if assassinated, Musharraf would be to blame for her lack of security.

Police abandoned security posts before Bhutto assassination

Bhutto emailed Blitzer: If anything happens to me, blame Musharaf.

On Octafish's thread linked above, seemslikeadream posted an interesting article regarding specific accusations regarding the man supervising Bhutto's security detail:

39. Retired Brigadier supervising Benazir's security was Osama's handler, says expert

Chennai, Oct.19 (ANI): The retired brigadier who was given the responsibility of securing former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's car journey through Karachi on Thursday, used to be the handling officer of Osama bin Laden and Taliban chief Mulla Omar when he was attached with the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

Disclosing this information in an article for the rediff website, former Additional Secretary in the Cabinet Secretariat, B.Raman says that Brigadier (retired) Ejaz Shah, whose resignation is being demanded by Benazir Bhutto, is a close confidante of President General Pervez Musharraf.

Raman says that after Musharraf seized power on October 12, 1999, he had Shah posted as the Home Secretary of Punjab. He also says that Omar Sheikh, who orchestrated the kidnapping and murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl, surrendered before Shah because Omar Sheikh knew him before and was confident that Ejaz Shah would see that he was not tortured.

So close are the links between Shah and Musharraf that when several allegations were filed against him, Musharraf sought to send him as Ambassador to Australia or Indonesia. Both countries reportedly refused to accept him. Musharraf then made him the Director General of the Intelligence Bureau and he saw to it that the death sentence against Omar Sheikh for his role in the Pearl case was not executed.

The courts have been repeatedly postponing hearings on the appeal filed by Omar Sheikh against the death sentence.

Shah, according to Raman, also played an active role in the campaign to discredit Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Caudhury after he started calling for the files of a large number of missing persons who were taken into custody by the police and the intelligence agencies.

Shah is also a close personal friend of many Punjabi leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League (Qaid), which is opposed to Benazir's return.

According to these sources, the suicide bomber or bombers managed to penetrate the security cordon of the police and IB officers without being frisked, but could not penetrate the inner cordon of security guards of the PPP. When stopped on Thursday night, they blew themselves up at a distance from her vehicle. At the time of the explosion, Bhutto had gone inside the vehicle to rest for a while. This seems to have contributed to her miraculous escape. Had she been standing on top she might have been injured, if not killed? (ANI)

So who replaced Shah? That would be Rehman Malik. What happened to him yesterday? There seem to be conflicting reports:

Breaking News: Benazir Bhutto Assassinated in Suicide Attack

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto died at 6:16PM PST (8:16AM New York) today after suffering fatal wounds from an assassination attempt while leaving Liaquat Park in Rawalpindi.

Bhutto, after completing her address at the party rally and entering a bomb and bulletproof vehicle, reportedly opened the vehicles sunroof and shook hands with her supporters through it, exposing the top half of her body. An assassin, perhaps briefly preceded by a suicide blast nearby, fired three to five shots at her; one struck Ms. Bhutto in the head and the other in her neck. The assassin then blew himself up.

Rehman Malik, Bhuttos chief security adviser and Naheed Khan, a close Bhutto friend are critically injured. Over thirty others have been killed.

Pakistan's Bhutto Killed in Suicide Bomb Attack

Morning Edition, December 27, 2007


No one claimed responsibility for the assassination, but suspicion was likely to fall on resurgent Islamic militants linked to al-Qaida and the Taliban, who hated Bhutto for her close ties to the United States and support for the war on terrorism.

Rehman Malik, Bhutto's security adviser, said she was inside her vehicle at the time of the attack.

"Then I saw a thin, young man jumping toward her vehicle from the back and opening fire. Moments later, I saw her speeding vehicle going away," he said.

Pretty lucid statement for a man that's been critically injured. What has Malik's track record been as Shah's replacement for Bhutto's security prior to the assassination? In my opinion, it's also been somewhat conflicting:

High profile Rehman Malik meets ISI chief
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
By Rauf Klasra

ISLAMABAD: DG ISI Lt-Gen Nadeem Taj in his first political assignment after becoming the head of the supreme spy agency has received Rehman Malik at his office to discuss the role of those three suspected assassins whose names were mentioned by Benazir Bhutto in her letter to Gen Musharraf.

Rehman Malik, who returned to Pakistan only last week after spending several years out of the country fearing persecution by government agencies, is now being given extraordinary protocol in Islamabad amid fast changing political realities.


A close friend of Tariq Aziz, Rehman Malik developed personal friendship with the would-be army chief General Ashfaq Pervez Keyani and Lt General Hamid Javed when they frequently visited London and Dubai to meet Benazir Bhutto in August and September. Benazir still continues to use the time-tested skills of Rehman Malik to deal with the same team of General Musharraf in Pakistan to ensure positive results of the ongoing talks.

Talking to The News, Rehman Malik confirmed his meeting with DG ISI, but refused to comment on the nature of his talks. On the issue of extraordinary security provided to him by the government, Malik said, they had some concerns about my security and they acted on their own.

Malik had a long history with Bhutto, she obviously trusted him a great deal. My take on this? While Malik may have had Bhutto's best interests at heart, I think he trusted the wrong people to ensure her security by going to the ISI. Remember that prior to his replacement of Musharraf as army chief, Ashfaq Kayani was DG ISI. Is it possible Kayani may have been the one who pulled the police protection yesterday? No proof yet, but worth keeping an eye on.
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