By Gurmukh Singh, IANS
Toronto : Over 2,500 Pakistani Canadians Friday performed funeral in absentia for slain former prime minister Benazir Bhutto at a city mosque here before venting their anger on President Pervez Musharraf for her death.
The 54-year-old president of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) was assassinated at an election rally in Rawalpindi on Thursday and buried in her native Sindh on Friday.
Speaking to the media after the ‘nawaz-e-janana’ (final prayer) ceremony at the Al-Mustafa mosque, the mourners vented their anger at President Pervez Musharraf for his alleged complicity in the assassination.
“The government’s ever-changing version of how Bibiji (Benazir) was killed confirms our suspicions that this deed was done by Musharraf, the ISI, and the IB (maybe) in league with the Taliban,” Pakistan People’s Party (Canada) secretary Ibrahim Daniyal told IANS.
He said PPP cadres were not ready to believe that Asif Ali Zardari disallowed autopsy on Benazir’s body. “We would like the world to know how she was killed even if it means taking out the body and performing autopsy.”
Suraiya Khan, president of PPP Women’s Wing, said, “To nail this government’s lies, we would like the body exhumed to ascertain the cause of her death. Yesterday, they were saying that she was killed by assassin’s bullets. Then they said something else. Now they are saying that she was killed because her skull got crashed when she ducked and hit the roof of her vehicle.”
Khan said even the US had started suspecting Musharraf’s version of the killing. “We want this man to be hanged. America says it gave him billions of dollars to fight terrorism, but he and his generals gobbled it up. That’s how they are financing their sons and daughters studying abroad. We are told Musharraf has bought a huge house in Chicago with this money.”
Daniyal said Musharraf was changing theories (of assassination) to confuse Pakistanis as he has now civil war on his hands.
“Like they did in 1951 in the case of Liaquat Ali Khan’s assassination when they eliminated all evidence by shooting the alleged killer, this government is also trying to destroy all proof. If these lies persist, we want the body taken out for autopsy.”
Fearing the raging violence after the assassination, many Pakistani Canadians have cancelled their visit to Pakistan. A Pakistan International Airlines flight to Islamabad, sold out till yesterday, took off half empty in this evening.
Canada has also warned its citizens against traveling to the riot-ravaged country. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs said, “Canadians who choose to travel to Pakistan despite this warning should evaluate carefully the implications for their security and safety.”
Cautioning those already in Pakistan, the ministry said they should “exercise an extreme level of caution, monitor news reports and follow the advice of local authorities. They should also avoid all crowds, demonstrations and political gatherings, and stay away from areas where they will occur, as they may turn violent without warning.”