Musharraf must answer for Benazir assassination: Malik

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011 9:30:06 by



It’s been a bitterly cold winter in London. One of the city’s current residents, former president Pervez Musharraf, can expect an even colder welcome on his planned return to Pakistan next month.

“The government has the courage, and its law-enforcing machinery will immediately swing into action [against Musharraf],” Interior Minister Rehman Malik told the National Assembly, after opposition lawmakers dared him to move against Musharraf regarding his alleged connection with the assassination of PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto.

Malik reminded the house that a Rawalpindi anti-terror court, hearing a case into the 2007 assassination of Bhutto at a public rally, had already declared Musharraf a “proclaimed offender”.

“There will be action when the time comes,” Malik said, without mentioning whether the government plans to arrest the former army chief as ordered by the court.

Musharraf, who now leads his own All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) political party and has spent the last three years in self-imposed exile, announced last week that he would return to the county in January. He had earlier planned to return on March 23.

The former dictator, who came to power in a military coup in 1999 and ruled Pakistan till 2008, is facing criminal cases in the Balochistan High Court for allegedly ordering the killing of Baloch tribal chieftain Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti in 2006.

However, Musharraf is adamant he’ll be back. In an address to a gathering in Lahore via videoconference on Sunday, he told supporters that nothing can stop his return.

Malik’s statement came after lawmakers from the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) said they wondered why the government was unable to take action against Musharraf despite a court order.

PML-N member Nasir Bhutta said his party would support action by the government to lodge a case of high treason against the former military ruler in the Supreme Court.

Civil disobedience over gas

An opposition member from Faisalabad, warned the government of a severe public backlash over gas closures for the industry in his city, which is renowned for its textile production.

“The daily wage labourers working at the factories are heading close to launch a civil disobedience movement,” warned Abid Sher Ali.

The PML-N lawmaker said the province was being discriminated against in the gas management plan to keep supply flowing for domestic consumers during the peak winter seasons.

Some of his colleagues, though, said that even the four-days-a-week closure for the industry was insufficient, as it would still not guarantee a smooth supply to households during the cold winter months.

The party’s Hanif Abbasi also said his party plan to lead public agitation in the federal capital and the adjoining city of Rawalpindi on Friday.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 21st, 2011.

Islamabad News Sources -2

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