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January 3, 2008
Now He Tells Us
After a week of false statements, lies, and dismissive apologies, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf now says that he is disatisfied with the probe into former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's death and is asking Scotland Yard for help:
"One should not give a statement that's 100 percent final. That's the flaw that we suffer from," Musharraf said at a news conference, noting that more evidence was emerging about the attack. When in doubt, blame the victim.
"We needed more experience, maybe more forensic and technical experience that our people don't have. Therefore I thought Scotland Yard may be more helpful." Musharraf said he also reached out to British investigators for assistance to dispel accusations that Pakistan's military or intelligence services were involved.
"We don't mind going to any extent, as nobody is involved from the government or agency side," he said. Speaking a week after Bhutto's assassination in a shooting and suicide bombing, Musharraf denied there had been a security lapse and implied that Bhutto, who was greeting supporters through the sunroof of her armored vehicle at the time of the attack, was partly responsible.
"Who is to be blamed for her coming out (of) her vehicle?" he asked, adding that others in the vehicle had not been hurt in the attack.
Reports in the immediate aftermath of the bombing said that as far back as November, Bhutto believed Musharraf was deliberately withholding security forces that could have made her safer. Unless he feared Bhutto more than the street riotors, I doubt whether that was really true. More likely, he didn't trust the army to protect her. And when she requested that Musharraf allow her to use western private security firms, he refused.
I don't think Musharraf wanted Bhutto dead. But I think he is just too weak and indecisive to have done what was needed to protect her.