A prosecutor investigating the 2007 assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was shot dead on Friday by gunmen on a motorcycle.
Attackers shot Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali multiple times in Islamabad’s G-9 area while he was on his way to a court hearing in the case. He lost control of his car, which hit and killed a pedestrian, AFP reports.
The ambush also wounded his bodyguard, whom authorities assigned to protect him after he received threats from the Pakistani Taliban, CNN reports, citing police spokesman Javed Hussain.
Zulfiqar was also the top prosecutor in a case related to the 2008 Mumbai attacks in which 166 people were killed.
Zulfiqar’s deputy, Azhar Chaudhry, expressed shock over the incident, which came just days before Pakistan holds historic general elections on May 11, marking the first time that a civilian government completes a full-term in office.
“I cannot comment. I'm in a state of shock,” Chaudhry told AFP when asked to comment.
Following the attack, Zulfiqar was taken to Islamabad’s Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences, or PIMS, hospital, where he died, Pakistan’s Dawn News reports.
Doctors said he had been killed with 10 bullets targeting his chest and shoulder, the report states.
The unidentified gunmen fled the scene and are still at large, reports say, citing police.
In a statement, Pakistan President and Bhutto’s widower Asif Ali Zardari “strongly condemned” the attack and called for an investigation to “expose the real culprits involved in the murder.”
Bhutto was killed on Dec. 27, 2007, by a 15-year-old suicide bomber while campaigning in Rawalpindi, the seat of Pakistan's military, weeks after she returned to Pakistan from years of self-imposed exile.
A report by a U.N. commission of inquiry released in 2010 said any credible investigation should not rule out the possibility that members of Pakistan's military and security establishment were involved in Bhutto’s killing.
Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, who returned to Pakistan in March, has been accused of failing to provide adequate security for Bhutto at the time of her death. He was put under a 14-day judicial remand on Tuesday over the charges.
There were no convictions relating to Bhutto's assassination. Musharraf's government blamed the killing on Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud, who denied any involvement and was killed in a U.S. drone attack in 2009.
But Bhutto’s son and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has accused Musharraf of the 2007 murder.
Gayathri writes about geopolitics and business for International Business Times. She began her career at the Times of India as news coordinator, before moving on to IBTimes...