A court in Pakistan has issued an arrest warrant for former President Pervez Musharraf in connection with the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Musharraf has been ordered to appear in a Pakistani court on February 19th. He is currently living in exile in London.
Now one can make the argument that this warrant is motivated solely by politics. After all, Musharraf kept Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan’s current President and Bhutto’s widower in jail for years. To say there is bad blood between the Bhuttos and Musharraf would be an understatement.
One can also make the argument that this warrant is also a response to Musharraf’s recent formation of a new political party last October. Musharraf clearly wants to be President of Pakistan again and this could threaten Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Gilani and the Pakistan People’s Party’s hold on power.
Nevertheless something has always bothered me about Musharraf’s behavior following Bhutto’s assassination in December 2007. Shortly after Bhutto was killed, Musharraf was interviewed by Lara Logan on 60 Minutes and said, “I think it was she to blame alone – nobody else. Responsibility is hers.” So does Musharraf mean to tell us the 24 other people who were killed by the suicide bomb was detonated during Bhutto’s assassination are solely responsible for their deaths as well?
The fact that Musharraf would absolve the people who intended to kill Bhutto is very disturbing indeed. How does one explain such callousness? There are several possibilities. It is possible that Musharraf simply did not care about Bhutto’s fate. If she died then so be it. It is also possible that Musharraf wanted Bhutto killed. If that is the case then it is possible that Musharraf had planned to kill Bhutto, had knowledge of what was going to happen or had otherwise played an indirect role in facilitating her death (i.e. providing inadequate security for Bhutto or instructing security to not be at its most diligent in carrying out its duties.) Naturally, I am curious as to what evidence (if any) Pakistani authorities have with regard to Musharraf’s involvement in Bhutto’s assassination.
Now I don’t think anything is going to happen anytime soon. Musharraf has indicated he plans to return to Pakistan for its next elections in 2013. We’ll see if Musharraf is arrested when his plane lands on Pakistani soil.