The blame for the 2007 assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto lies with ex-military director and former President Pervez Musharraf, according to a four-page statement recently released by her friend and American journalist Mark Siegel, the Press Trust of India reported. Bhutto, who was in office from 1988-90 and 1993-96, was killed in 2007 after standing and hanging out of the sunroof of her bulletproof vehicle as she left a campaign rally. She was shot as bombs exploded around her and died in a hospital hours later. Al Qaeda took responsibility for the attack, but Musharraf -- who was president at the time -- was later indicted for not ordering enough protection for her.
As part of the ongoing case concerning Bhutto's death, Siegel testified this month Bhutto had told Musharraf about death threats she was getting before the assassination. Bhutto allegedly asked Musharraf for a better security team and car, but he denied the request. The mobile jamming equipment he'd given her did not work, either. Siegel also said three of Musharraf's associates participated in the plot to kill her, as evidenced by a phone call during which the plans were made.
Geo News reported on a separate phone call Siegel referenced in his testimony: one between Musharraf and Bhutto, where the former said, "Your security is dependent on the relationship between us.”
Musharraf, who resigned as president in 2008, rejected Siegel's claims earlier this month, calling them false, fictitious and fabricated, Pakistan Today reported. He said he told Bhutto about the danger.
“Besides meeting Ms. Bhutto twice in [the United Arab Emirates], I only spoke to her once in my life on the phone after she had returned to Pakistan in October 2007," Musharraf said. "In that conversation, I shared with Ms. Bhutto intelligence information that was conveyed to me personally by the leadership in UAE, indicating suicide bombers were planning an attack against her.”
Musharraf was charged in 2013 with conspiring to commit Bhutto's murder. He's also been accused of treason and changing Pakistan's constitution as well as murder for the deaths of Muslim leader Abdul Rashid Ghazi and Gov. Nawab Akbar Bugti, Al Jazeera reported.