Pakistan’s special prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali, who was shot dead in Rawalpindi, addresses reporters media outside Rawalpindi’s Adiyala prison in February 2011.
Police say a leading Pakistani prosecutor handling the 2007 Benazir Bhutto assassination case has been shot dead while driving through Islamabad. Initial reports said several assailants fired from a motorcycle or a taxi.
Pakistani police said gunmen shot and killed leading prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfikar Ali in a busy Islamabad street on Friday as he was driving to a court hearing into the Benazir Bhutto case in neighboring Rawalpindi.
His bodyguard was wounded. A woman passerby was killed by Zulfikar’s car after he lost control of it. Police said Zulfikar was shot multiple times in the head by gunmen in a busy street. Some reports say they fled on a motorbike. The news agency Association Press quoted a police officer as saying the gunmen fired from a taxi.
Another police official Yasin Farooq said a massive search was launched to find the attackers.
Nobody has ever been convicted or jailed for Bhutto’s assassination in a gun and suicide attack at a campaign rally in Rawalpindi on December 27, 2007.
Zulfikar (shown above at an April 26 press conference) had represented Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in the case. He was driving to an anti-terrorism court hearing in Rawalpindi when shot on Friday.
Prosecutor also probed Mumbai case
Zulfikar was also Pakistan’s lead prosecutor in a case related to the 2008 terrorist attack on the Indian city of Mumbai in which 166 people were killed. That attack was blamed on the Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba.
PTI said Zulfikar’s son Nisar and unnamed colleagues were quoted by television news channels as saying that the prosecutor had been receiving threats from a banned extremist group for some time.
Earlier this week, Pakistan’s former military ruler Pervez Musharraf was placed under house arrest on accusations linked to the Bhutto case. Musharraf, who ruled from 1999-2008, returned to Pakistan on March 24 ahead of next week’s general election.
The Indian news agency PTI said Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency for whom Zulfizar worked had recently begun interrogating Musharraf.
In 2010 a UN report accused Musharraf’s former government of failing to give Bhutto adequate protection. That government had blamed Bhutto’s killing on a Pakistani Taliban chief, who denied involvement.
Musharraf seized power in a military coup in 1999 when he was serving as army chief and ruled for nearly a decade until he was forced to step down in 2008 amid growing discontent over his rule.
ipj/hc (dpa, PTI, dpa, Reuters, AFP)