Who Killed Benazir

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The Bhutto Murder Trail: from Waziristan to GHQ by Amir Mir, book reviewDecember 2007 – Benazir Bhutto had returned to Pakistan for the third time and was planning to stand for election. She was aware that it was dangerous and her emails for sometime had been discussing the possibility of her assassination and in the event of it occurring who to point fingers at. The Pakistani Government had been asked for extra heavy security to prevent any attempts at her election gatherings and Benazir had also asked whether she could bring her own bullet-proof vehicle from Dubai. The request had been refused. 24 hours before her death, her husband was calling her from Dubai and begging her to let him take her place, but she was determined to continue.

Benazir was assassinated practically in front of the whole world’s cameras after delivering a successful speech in Rawalpindi’s Liaqat Bagh. Amir Mir whose father had been a family friend of the Bhutto’s sets out to reconstruct the events that led to the assassination, the steps that had been taken to safeguard Benazir and the possible suspects both named and unnamed. His book relies on anecdotes, meetings and conversations with Benazir that were both on and off the record. The book also includes her handwritten political last testament and a poem that she wrote.

Since that assassination Bhutto’s husband Asif Zardari has set up a PPP Government in Pakistan, but no one has really been brought to trial, nor have any revelations been made – though Bhutto’s niece Fatima wrote a book that practically accused her aunt of allowing Murtaza Bhutto’s murder in a police encounter and hinted that Bhutto was bending over backwards to placate the Pakistani Army who were keeping her in power – a situation current in today’s Pakistan where the Army Chief Kayani calls the shots and will continue to do so for three more years. It does not take rocket science to guess that the Army may have had a hand in the failure to prevent Bhutto’s assassination and Mir points to various deceptions on the part of military top brass. This leads him to the findings of the UN Commission set up at Zardar’s request by Ban ki Moon which revealed that Bhutto was inadequately guarded by Musharref’s men – though it did not specifically name Musharref as being responsible for Bhutto’s death.

Mir’s meticulous research lists the black sheep named by the Pakistani Government much later after the assassination – many of whom were already dead and so could not defend themselves – and delves into whether Bhutto was shot or killed by a bomb blast which knocked her against the metal ledge of the car’s sun roof – findings indicate that it was most probably a sharp shooter hidden in the crowd who targeted her and who then detonated a bomb concealed on his person. Findings also indicate a deadly nexus between the Army, Pakistani intelligence and the active terror groups entrenched in Pakistan.

The book does what it claims to do in its title – follow the trail of Benazir Bhutto’s murderers from place to place and document all the relevant pieces of evidence.

The Bhutto Murder Trail gets readers to take a fresh look at a controversy and reopens a chapter that seemed to threaten to close. Mir of course has in several interviews said that Bhutto’s murderers will never be found but either way his book is likely to provoke debate and cause controversy.

The Bhutto Murder Trail, From Waziristan to GHQ by Amir Mir
Published by Tranquebar in India, 2010

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Buy book online
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The Bhutto Murder Trail - From Waziristan to GHQ
by Amir Mir

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Written by Anjana Basu
Anjana Basu

Anjana Basu works as an advertising consultant in Calcutta. In 2003, Harper Collins India brought out her novel Curses In Ivory. In 2004, she was awarded a Hawthornden Fellowship in Scotland where she worked on her second novel, Black Tongue, published by Roli in 2007. In February 2010. her children's novel Chinku and the Wolfboy was brought out by Roli. She writes features for travel magazines and reviews for Indian newspapers.

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