Islamabad: Pakistani investigators probing the 2007 assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto have decided to quiz Rehman Malik after being told by Pervez Musharraf that the former Interior Minister had decided details of her security on the day she was killed.
Malik was head of Bhutto's security when she returned to Pakistan from self-exile in late 2007.
Federal Investigation Agency officials who questioned the former president after his arrest over the assassination were told that Malik decided details of security for the December 27, 2007 public meeting in Rawalpindi where she was killed.
Musharraf denied his involvement in the killing and said Bhutto was killed because of a security breach for which Malik was responsible, a local newspaper quoted its sources in the FIA as saying. Musharraf reportedly made the revelation when he was questioned on Sunday.
The FIA worked under Malik during his stint as Interior Minister in the Pakistan People's Party-led government. It was during Malik's tenure that the FIA was tasked with investigating the assassination. The joint investigation team for the probe was constituted by Malik and it never examined him in connection with the assassination.
Musharraf said it was Malik's responsibility to persuade Bhutto not to come out of her bulletproof vehicle because police could not force her to remain inside, the report said. He further claimed that Malik was a mediator between his regime and the PPP and he negotiated with police for security arrangements at the election meeting at Liaquat Bagh, where Bhutto and 23 others were killed in a terrorist attack.
The joint investigation team decided to record Malik's statement to fulfil a legal requirement mandatory in such investigations, especially after the revelations by Musharraf, the sources were quoted as saying. The investigators will issue a notice to Malik and then record his statement.
Salman Safdar, the counsel for Musharraf, confirmed that the former President had asked why Malik had not been examined so far by the FIA. Safdar said the arrangements made by Malik for Bhutto's rally were known only to him.
"Why there was such a major security breach which facilitated the attack is also a guarded secret and only Mr
Malik can answer. The former Interior Minister should also explain why the FIA took control of the case when the then Punjab government had already constituted a joint investigation team to investigate the matter," he said.