‘It is no longer important if I become the prime minister for the third time. What is important is that my country is in danger. So I had to return even if it meant risking my life…’—Benazir Bhutto, hours before she was assassinated in Rawalpindi. Drawing on personal anecdotes, meetings, off-therecord conversations with Benazir Bhutto, and the emails that he exchanged with her just before her death, Amir Mir brings us a carefully documented reconstruction of the assassination that rocked the world, the events leading to it, and its aftermath. His meticulously researched book is also a chilling exposé of the symbiotic relationship between Pakistan’s formidable military and intelligence agencies, and the radical Islamic terrorist groups entrenched there. From the murky details of the ‘election rigging cells’ that Bhutto was on the brink of exposing, inside information about her ‘designated killers’, the dubious security cover, the wanton destruction of evidence at the crime scene, the cover-up that began soon after the murder, the scapegoats, the arbitrary arrests and the compromised investigations, to the outright deceptions of various military top brass and even members of her own party, the book reveals it all.
Other highlights include excerpts from the reports of high-level investigations carried out by different organisations, rare pictures related to the suicide attack on Bhutto’s convoy, her last speech delivered minutes before she was killed, and her hand-written ‘political will’ which her party released after her death. The richly textured narrative is supported by exclusive information that sheds fresh light on various conspiracy theories, and will almost certainly evoke controversy and debate.
About the Author
Amir Mir, the former editor of Weekly Independent, is among Pakistan’s foremost investigative journalists whose insightful writings on terrorism, Islamic militant groups and their links with the country’s military and intelligence establishment have drawn widespread attention. Having started his journalistic career in 1988 with the The Frontier Post, Lahore, he has worked with several newspapers, news agencies and magazines in Pakistan and abroad includingThe News, The Nation, The Post, The Friday Times, Dawn, Newsline, Reuters, Spanish News Agency, Gulf News, Arab News, Outlook magazine, Tehelka and Daily News & Analysis (DNA). With a Master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Punjab, Lahore, Amir Mir has authored three books on the subject of militant Islam and terrorism, The True Face of Jehadis, The Fluttering Flag of Jehad and Talibanization of Pakistan: From 9/11 to 26/11 and Beyond. Earlier, Amir Mir had co-authored Most Wanted: Profiles of Terror in addition to writing a Foreword to A to Z of the Jehadi Organizations, published in 2004.
Book on Benazir reconstructs her murder – by Zafri Mudasser Nofil
Pakistan’s ruling PPP should try to unmask the killers of Benazir Bhutto while the party is in power or else the masterminds of her gruesome assassination are unlikely to be brought to justice, feels journalist-writer Amir Mir, who has come up with a new book about the murder of the charismatic former prime minister.
“In my personal opinion, the Pakistan government should immediately proceed against all the murder suspects, no matter how powerful they are,” says Mir, who has authored “The Bhutto Murder Trail: From Waziristan to GHQ”, published by Tranquebar.
Drawing on personal anecdotes, meetings, off-the record conversations with Benazir, and the emails that he exchanged with her just before her death, Mir brings out a carefully documented reconstruction of the assassination that rocked the world, the events leading to it, and its aftermath.
“President (Asif Ali) Zardari needs to understand one thing: It was the personal sacrifice of Benazir that ostensibly brought the PPP into power. Therefore, the masterminds of her assassination should be taken to task before the next general elections,” says Mir.
“If her killers cannot be unmasked now, while Bhutto?s PPP is in power in Islamabad, it is less likely that they will ever be unmasked, and there is a possibility that like all infamous murder cases, the mastermind of Bhutto’s murder will also remain a shadowy figure,” Mir, who has authored three books on the subject of militant Islam and terrorism, told PTI in an interview.
“The Bhutto Murder Trail” also speaks of a symbiotic relationship between Pakistan’s formidable military and intelligence agencies, and the radical Islamic terrorist groups entrenched there.
The book touches sensitive topics like ‘election rigging cells’, inside information about Bhutto’s ‘designated killers’, the security cover, the alleged cover-up that began soon after the murder, the arrests and investigations.
Mir feels that the military and the militants ail Pakistan.
“The establishment’s slogan of Pakistan being the fortress of Islam remains the central idea that the Pakistan Army cares about. The military leadership is still not ready to withdraw from politics come what may. Therefore, the spectre of religious radicalism born of this policy today haunts Pakistan and the Pakistanis alike,” he says.
“Nine years after the 9/11 terror attacks in the US that shook the entire world, Pakistan, despite being a key American ally in the so-called war against terror during all those years, is imperilled by growing Talibanisation,” he adds.
According to Mir, most of the murder suspects are already scot free.
“Many believe that the PPP government would not be able to proceed against Pervez Musharraf for his alleged role in the Bhutto murder, especially after Army chief General Kayani’s three-year extension. The reality of present-day Pakistan is that the PPP government is weak and the all-powerful military is firmly in control,” he claims.
In the book, Mir mentions several ‘loopholes’ in the investigations.
“There are many angles to the murder that have not yet been explored by Pakistani authorities. The UN Commission pointed out, albeit delicately, some of these, and there is clearly a great deal still hidden from the public eye despite the installation of her own party?s government in Islamabad,” he says.
“The investigation is being conducted in the absence of an autopsy report. Even the Scotland Yard and the UN Commission of Inquiry did not press for an autopsy before concluding that Bhutto did not die of a bullet wound. The actual cause of Bhutto?s death still remains unclear and is being widely debated, amid claims by her close aides that she had died of a gunshot wound,” says Mir.