Benazir Bhutto's children call verdict 'disappointing, unacceptable'

Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in Rawalpindi’s Liaquat Bagh

Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in Rawalpindi’s Liaquat Bagh

Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) on Thursday has announced the verdict in former Prime Minister (PM) Benazir Bhutto murder case after nine years, and declared Pervez Musharraf absconder.

She was assassinated in a suicide attack at an election rally in Rawalpindi on December 27, 2007.

In January 2008, shortly after Bhutto's assassination, the Rawalpindi police had registered an FIR in the case and trial of the five TTP suspects had started in the following month.

The court has also sentenced former Rawalpindi CPO Saud Aziz and former Rawal Town SP Khurram Shahzad for 17 years of imprisonment each. They were sentenced to 17 years in prison each and fined 500,000 rupees ($4,700).

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The court ruled that Musharraf "absconded", a court official said, and ordered the confiscation of his property.

"There will be no justice till Pervez Musharraf answers for his crimes", she tweeted. She stood up to wave to supporters from the sun-roof of her bullet-proof vehicle when the attacker fired shots at her before blowing himself up. In the elections held following her demise, her party won a landslide victory, with Bhutto's husband Asif Ali Zardari chosen as the President.

The Party believes that justice has not been done, nor it seems to have been done.

Other unconfirmed speculation pointed towards Bhutto's trusted bodyguard Khalid Shahensha, with video clips showing him making unusual gestures at the podium where Bhutto addressed the rally moments before her death.

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But observers said that, without full control over the civil and military establishments, she was never able to govern properly.

Bhutto and her husband also faced a raft of corruption charges overseas, which they denied. A separate case was filed against his continuous absence.

PPP officials claimed she had died from gunshot wounds but British police, who were called in by the Pakistani authorities to investigate, concluded she died from a head injury when she collided with the side of the sun roof following the bomb explosion.

Two other suspects, Ibadur Rahman and Al Qaeda's No. 3 and financial and operational chief Mustafa Abu Yazid alias Sheikh Saeed Al-Masri, were believed to have been killed in United States drone strikes in Pakistan, a media report said. Musharraf declared a state of emergency, prompting worldwide criticism and a backlash within Pakistan.

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Chaudhary also blamed Saud Aziz for his involvement in the killing, asserting that Aziz did not allow an autopsy to be conducted for Bhutto despite the medico-legal procedure being required under protocol.

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