ISLAMABAD: Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani had echoed the same line on the killing of Nawab Akbar Bugti in a special cabinet meeting on Balochistan as has been taken in the petition of Zaid Hamid, a self-styled security analyst known for close links with the military establishment.
Army’s media wing, Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), was not available for comments. A special committee’s meeting held on May 29 was attended by Gen Kayani, DG ISI Lt. Gen Zahir-ul-Islam, IG FC Balochistan Maj Gen Ubaidullah Khattack, Senator Raza Rabbani and two ministers from Balochistan after the Supreme Court had pushed the government into taking appropriate measures about the restive province. The then Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani presided over the said meeting.
According to the sources privy to details, Gen. Kayani, for the first time, spoke in detail about Akbar Bugti’s killing and the speculation surrounding his mysterious death. Gen Kayani intervened when a civilian participant held the army and the intelligence agencies under its command responsible for committing the murder.
The Army chief said he was ready to provide the details of the khaki officers who went inside the cave so that those accusing the army must ascertain from their areas and hometowns whether or not they were killed there on that date. Had the army wanted to murder Akbar Bugti, Gen Kayani argued, five officers would not have been sent inside at any cost.
They had entered into the cave as Bugti invited them, pretending that he wanted to negotiate. He also asked for independent investigation into the murder mystery to clear the dust, officials privy to the discussion later told The News.
Incidentally, Gen Pervaiz Musharraf, Kayani’s predecessor under whose watch the murder occurred, echoed the same line in a recent Geo TV programme ‘Awam ki Adalat’ hosted by Iftikhar Ahmad. As he was blamed of this murder, Musharraf told the host that it was mere allegation and explained the operational strategies that won’t allow the officers to enter the premises if the purpose was to kill somebody. He also called for a fair investigation into the matter. Zaid Hamid’s connection with the military establishment is an open secret. A few days ago, a delegation of his ‘think-tank’ Brass Tacks went to Turkey in the company of a military delegation along with the officials of Pak-Turk Institute.
Incidentally, the petition filed through time-tested friend of khakis, Raja Irshad advocate, echoed the same line taken by Gen. Kayani and his predecessor. Irshad represented ISI in different cases other than army-led FC Balochistan. This shows the military leadership’s desire to clear its name of the murder allegations through demanding judicial inquiry into the matter, according to analysts. The petitioner contends that a team of five Special Forces commandos were invited by late Bugti into his cave to settle terms of surrender but once the officers entered the cave, he triggered an explosive device which brought down the entire cave, killing Bugti and the SSG men. “He committed suicide and also murdered the army officers,” the petition reads.
The petition added that Bugti had desired to meet the army officers in the cave before he could hand over his custody to the law enforcement agencies. There was no doubt, it is said, that the late Nawab was going to be lodged in a room exclusively arranged for him in the Governor’s House in Quetta. Pervaiz Musharraf has been made one of the respondents in the petition. As demanded by Musharraf, the petition had also sought investigation through a judicial commission comprising serving and retired judges.
Source: The News