The Untold Truth

Why would Benazir Bhutto’s alter ego Sherry Rehman lie about what she saw on the body of the assassinated leader while preparing Bhutto’s body for funeral? The bullet wound, if she is to be believed, went in from the back of Bhutto’s head and came out of the other side.

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SYED TAUSIEF AUSAF

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Why would Benazir Bhutto’s alter ego Sherry Rehman lie about what she saw on the body of the assassinated leader while preparing Bhutto’s body for funeral? The bullet wound, if she is to be believed, went in from the back of Bhutto’s head and came out of the other side. It sounds believable as the last clip before the bombing, repeatedly played by the PTV, shows the attacker shooting her from behind. Part of Bhutto’s motorcade, Sherry was an eyewitness.
But the government’s version that Bhutto died after banging her head on her Land Cruiser’s sunroof lever while trying to duck when the attacker came up insults intelligence. No one hits his or her head so hard while trying to escape an attack. The home ministry spokesman tried in vain to convince the international media during his live Press conference on December 28 that the attacker missed all three shots and that the target didn’t receive any shrapnel either.
Although the government agencies had done their homework well and were armed with the last minute footage, her X-ray report, photos of the blood-stained lever and the transcript of a conversation between two militants, there were few takers for their story. There is much more to the drama than meets the eye. After three days, things look either cooked up or being covered up.
Soon after the incident, news-hungry masses were attacked with a plethora of versions. First they said there were two attackers, then two became one. Following it, it was flashed that the bomber emptied his AK56 on her before blowing himself up. Then the news came that she received bullet wounds in the neck from a pistol. Then it became the neck and the head. Later, it became a shrapnel injury. One channel said that such was the fear of suicide bombers that no one came near her till after 10 minutes of the blast. Some reports said that she succumbed to her injuries on the spot while others said she fought for life for half an hour in the hospital.
It raised people’s suspicion when they saw the fire brigade crew descending on the crime scene minutes after the blast and washing up the road. Was there no need of forensic experts to go there and collect material evidence? Why was the crime scene not sanitised and cordoned off with warning tape so that there is no possibility of contamination or manipulation?
The international media has been raising serious questions about the way the government is handling Bhutto’s murder. Even top leaders are finding it hard to believe Pakistan’s version. Hillary Clinton has called for an independent, international probe, saying President Pervez Musharraf’s government had no credibility as it has disbanded an independent judiciary and oppressed a free Press. If the Soomoro government, under the affectionate wings of Pervez Musharraf, is honest about letting the world know the truth, it should do away with ego. It will not lose prestige if it agrees to the demand for an independent UN probe. The interior ministry’s argument that the international community “does not understand the environment” in the country holds no water. Rafik Hariri’s assassination is also being probed by the UN. Outside help to the investigation will only make it transparent, palatable and easy.
Bhutto, in an email to a CNN presenter, wrote that if something happened to her, Musharraf’s “minions” would be responsible for that. This has deepened the mystery further.
As for the tape of the conversation between Al Qaeda’s Baitullah Mehsud and his mentor, there is no proof that it is genuine. Mehsud, who was a government associate fighting Al Qaeda in Waziristan until a year ago, has denied involvement in the case. Taliban and Al Qaeda are known for owning up every militant activity they carry out.
Questions in everybody’s mind are: What would the government gain by proving that the sunroof lever caused her death? Why is Islamabad hell bent on holding elections on January 8 as scheduled? Simple answers that come to mind are: Ruling out bullet injuries as the cause of death will absolve the government of its involvement. It will also dilute the charge that the government failed to provide Bhutto with appropriate security. And going ahead with elections as planned will surely get Musharraf a prime minister from the PML (Q) as Nawaz Sharif’s PML (N) has announced to boycott the vote. The PPP will take at least a month to recover from the shock.
Brigadier Javed Cheema says the Pakistan government has told the truth. But the world is not interested in Islamabad’s version of truth.