ISLAMABAD, Feb 12 (AFP) - A Pakistani anti-terrorism court today issued an arrest warrant for former President Pervez Musharraf over the assassination of ex-prime minister Benazir Bhutto, a public prosecutor said.
“Judge Rana Nisar Ahmad has issued non-bailable warrant for former President Pervez Musharraf and directed him to appear before the court on February 19,” Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali told AFP.
He said that “a joint investigation team that had been formed to probe the assassination said in its report Musharraf had involvement in the case and was equally responsible.”
”The report said it was a broad conspiracy involving Pervez Musharraf, two police officials and terrorists,” Ali said after the closed-door hearing that took place in Rawalpindi's Adiala prison.
Musharraf, who was president when Bhutto was killed in 2007, is in self-imposed exile in London and is unlikely to return to Pakistan.
Asked what would happen if Musharraf did not appear in the court on the next date of the hearing, the prosecutor said: “We will see when the time comes.”
In December, police arrested two senior police officers, Saud Aziz and Khurram Shahzad, for alleged dereliction of duty over the assassination of Bhutto after a court issued their arrest warrants.
Aziz, who was city police chief at the time of the killing, and Shahzad, another senior policeman in Rawalpindi, had been arrested for their “failure” to protect Bhutto.
Bhutto was killed in a gun and suicide attack after addressing an election campaign rally in the garrison city, near the capital Islamabad, on December 27, 2007.
Bhutto, who served two terms as prime minister, returned from exile two months before she was assassinated to stand for election.
In April, a UN panel accused the government of failing to provide Bhutto with adequate protection and said investigations were hampered by intelligence agencies and other officials who impeded “an unfettered search for the truth”.