Taliban leader behind Bhutto assassination

By RIA Novosti

Kabul : Pakistani investigators have arrested several suspects, who have confessed to killing Bhutto and indicated funding and supervision from a Taliban commander, the Hindu News reported on Monday.

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The agency cited a Pakistani investigator as saying Baitullah Mehsud had given about $6,000 to a cleric Qari Ismail, who consequently sent five militants to kill Bhutto.

The former prime minister of Pakistan was killed in a shooting and bombing attack at an opposition rally in Rawalpindi on December 27, 2007, that also took the lives of more than two dozen bystanders.

“We have arrested five people in connection with the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and they have told us that Baitullah Mehsud approved the plan to kill her,” Additional Inspector Chaudhry Abdul Majeed was quoted as saying.

Majeed also said the inquiry had been closed as the suspects arrested had confessed.

The inspector also said the militants had killed Bhutto because of her close links with the U.S. and plans to start an operation against the Taliban upon winning the general election.

Soon after the assassination Pakistani authorities said Mehsud was behind the murder. They were echoed by the CIA and now by the Pakistani investigators.

The assassination of Bhutto, who was to run in parliamentary elections on January 8 as Pakistan People’s Party leader, led to further escalated violence in the country, with dozens killed in bomb attacks and riots. The government had to postpone the elections until February 18.