Daily Revolt

December 30, 2007

al Qaeda Denies Assassinating Bhutto

Since when does the murderous al Qaeda deny killing a hated politician; especially when that individual is a prized enemy. The government is refusing, as they did in the first attempt on Bhutto in October, assistance in finding the culprits. It is just more evidence that points to Musharraf, and his allies, as being behind the assassination:
Pakistan rejected an outside investigation into the assassination of Benazir Bhutto on Saturday, despite controversy over the circumstances of her death and three days of paralyzing turmoil.

The Islamic militant group blamed by officials for the attack denied any links to the killing on Saturday, and Bhutto's aides accused the government of a cover-up.

The disputes were sure to further enflame unrest that has killed 44 people over three days and threatened to derail Jan. 8 parliamentary elections meant to restore democracy in this nuclear armed nation, a key ally against Islamic extremism.

[...]The growing questions about Bhutto's assassination have led to calls for an international, independent investigation. While the government dismissed that idea, U.S. officials said Pakistan was quietly consulting with other countries about the conduct of the probe, suggesting the country wants to ensure its findings are seen as credible.

Interior Ministry spokesman Javed Iqbal Cheema defended the government's ability to carry out its investigation. He said an independent judicial probe should be completed within seven days of the appointment of its presiding judge.

``This is not an ordinary criminal matter in which we require assistance of the international community. I think we are capable of handling it,'' he said.

[...]The government blamed the attack on Baitullah Mehsud, head of the Tehrik-i-Taliban, a newly formed coalition of Islamic militants along the Afghan border believed to be linked to al-Qaida and committed to waging holy war against the government.

But a spokesman for Mehsud, Maulana Mohammed Umer, dismissed the allegations as ``government propaganda.''

``We strongly deny it. Baitullah Mehsud is not involved in the killing of Benazir Bhutto,'' he said in a telephone call he made to The Associated Press from the tribal region of South Waziristan. ``The fact is that we are only against America, and we don't consider political leaders of Pakistan our enemy.''

Bhutto's aides said they, too, doubted Mehsud was involved and accused the government of a cover-up.

``The story that al-Qaida or Baitullah Mehsud did it appears to us to be a planted story, an incorrect story, because they want to divert the attention,'' said Farhatullah Babar, a spokesman for Bhutto's party.

After an October suicide attack targeted her in the city of Karachi, Bhutto accused elements in the ruling party of plotting to kill her. The government denied the claims, and Babar said Bhutto's allegations were never investigated.

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