Pakistani prosecutors today filed a fresh chargesheet against five suspects in the 2007 killing of Benazir Bhutto, saying they were linked to the suicide bomber who assassinated the former premier under a conspiracy hatched by slain Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud.
The fresh chargesheet was filed by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in the anti-terrorism court of Judge Malik Muhammad Akram Awan.
The judge is conducting the trial of the five men accused of involvement in Bhutto's assassination within Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi due to security concerns.
The five suspects – Muhammad Rafaqat Hussain, Hasnain Gul, Aitzaz Shah, Abdul Rasheed and Sher Zaman – were arrested in the wake of Bhutto's assassination by a suicide bomber shortly after she addressed an election rally in Rawalpindi on December 27, 2007.
Sources said the fresh chargesheet stated that the suicide attacker was known to Hussain and Gul and had stayed at Gul's residence.
The chargesheet also named former Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud, who was killed in a US drone attack last year, as the mastermind behind Bhutto's assassination.
The anti-terrorism court adjourned the trial till June 12.
Meanwhile, The Express Tribune newspaper reported today that the FIA had concluded that the conspiracy to assassinate Bhutto was hatched at Madressa Haqqania in Akora Khattak.
Suicide bombers were assigned the task at the seminary in Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa province, the report said.
An FIA team led by Khalid Qureshi came to this conclusion after a fresh investigation into Bhutto's killing.
The team's report named Baitullah Mehsud as the principal accused as he prepared the conspiracy and arranged for its execution.
The FIA's report also linked the suicide bomber who carried out the assassination to Shah, Zaman, Rasheed, Hussain and Gul, who are in custody.
The probe also named as accused three police officers from Rawalpindi – SSP Khurram Ishtiaq, SP Ashfaq Ahmed and Inspector Kashif Riaz.
Riaz has been charged for not arranging the autopsy of any of the 24 people killed in the suicide attack.
Ashfaq Ahmed was assigned security duty at Liaquat Bagh, where Bhutto addressed the election rally, but went to a nearby highway with his forces.
To hide this lapse, he tampered with police records.
Khurram Ishtiaq ordered the hosing down of the crime scene though he was not authorised to do so, the daily reported.
Fresh Chargesheet Against 5 in Bhutto Murder Case
Rezaul H Laskar/Islamabad
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