As an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Sibi prepares to open trial against former president Pervez Musharraf for his alleged involvement in the killing of Nawab Akbar Bugti, the slain chieftain family have stated categorically that they expect no fair treatment from the government.
The Bugti family has already rejected the investigation conducted by the Quetta Police crime branch into the 2006 murder that took place during army action in Kohlu, according to Abdul Shakil Hadi, counsel for Nawabzada Jamil Bugti, the eldest son of Akbar Bugti.
“It was a totally unfair investigation to save the accused. The government is trying to establish that it was an incidental death. The investigation that was conducted was one-sided because the Bugti family was not involved in the process of evidence collection,” he explained.
“It is apparent that the investigating agency was under pressure so that the case should be concluded in a way that suits the government,” he added. Hadi expressed concern that the investigation into Bugti’s murder never determined the actual motive behind the killing.
Former president Musharraf is not the only high-profile accused in the case which was initially submitted for trial to the Kohlu sessions judge. In his FIR, Jamil nominated former prime minister Shaukat Aziz, former governor Owais Ghani, former chief minister Jam Muhammad Yousaf, former interior minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao and former provincial home minister Mir Shoaib Nosharwani for the killing as well.
The prosecution has submitted 5,000 pages of documents in the case. If proven guilty, the accused can be given a death sentence. Hadi also said that the police had not recorded the statements of former prime minister Aziz and the ministers who had discussed the planned assassination in 2006 in Islamabad. The counsel particularly named Sherpao, who, according to Hadi, was involved in the assassination plot.
“We are not aware about the statements of Sherpao, Ghani and Nosharwani that they have reportedly made during police investigations. The police still remain unable to record the statements of Musharraf, Aziz and Yousaf, as all them are absconding in the case,” he said.
Hadi added that none of the accused had been arrested despite a clear directive from the High Court. According to press reports, all of the accused except Musharraf and Aziz have been granted bail by different courts without any notice served to the complainant, Hadi said. “It is apparent from the circumstantial evidence that all the accused are being protected by the government so that no one is punished for the crime,” he added. Earlier, the sessions judge of Kohlu had referred the case to Sibi after receiving the charge sheet from the prosecution, according to the acting District Police Officer (DPO) Abdullah Jan Afridi.
On June 14, however, Sibi’s ATC judge sent back the case to the Kohlu sessions judge with a plea that the case should be routed to him through the Balochistan High Court’s (BHC’s) registrar, and not directly through the sessions court, an ATC official told The Express Tribune.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 1st, 2012.