Seven indicted in Bhutto assassination


Benazir Bhutto in Lahore, on November 12, 2007.


Arif Ali/AFP

A Pakistani court on Saturday indicted seven people in the 2007 assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, The New York Times reported

The men charged include five alleged members of the Pakistani Taliban and two police officers, including the former police chief of Rawalpindi, where the assassination occurred. 

A prosecutor told the Times that all seven men were charged with criminal conspiracy and murder during a closed-door hearing. All seven deny the charges. The police officers were also charged with failure to perform their duties. They are suspected of ordering the crime scene hosed down just two hours after the incident, of removing evidence and of reducing Bhutto's security in the days before the assassination. 

According to the BBC, the five suspected Taliban members have been in custody for four years. They are accused of bringing a suicide bomber to Rawalpindi from Pakistan's tribal areas. The officers, meanwhile, were arrested nearly a year ago. 

Reuters reported that Pakistan's former military ruler, Pervez Musharraf, also faces accusations in the case, for failing to provide Bhutto adequate security. The court issued an arrest warrant for him in February. Musharraf, who lives in exile, is now considered a fugitive. 

A UN report last year said that the investigation of the assassination should "not rule out the possibility that members of Pakistan's military and security establishment were involved in the killing," according to Reuters. After Bhutto's death, Musharraf's government pointed the finger at Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, who was later killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2009.