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Taliban commander Mehsud planned Bhutto killing: Pak police
Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad | February 18, 2008 08:24 IST
The head of the Pakistani police team probing former premier Benazir Bhutto's [Images] assassination on Sunday accused Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud of planning and financing her killing.
"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," said Additional Inspector General of Police Chaudhry Abdul Majeed.
Majeed said Bilal, the suicide bomber who killed Bhutto after an election rally in Rawalpindi on December 27, had met Mehsud some weeks before the attack.
He also said Mehsud, the chief of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan based in South Waziristan, had given Rs 400,000 to a cleric named Qari Ismail, who sent five militants to Rawalpindi to kill Bhutto.
The militants planned to target Bhutto in various cities until they finally succeeded in killing her, he said.
Majeed said that the inquiry had been completed as five suspects arrested by police had confessed to their involvement in the crime.
The five suspects were identified as 15-year-old Aitezaz Shah, Sher Zaman, Hasnain Gul, Rafaqat and Abdul Rashid.
Shah and Zaman were arrested in Dera Ismail Khan while Gul and Rafaqat were nabbed in Rawalpindi.
Majeed said police were still looking for Bilal's accomplice Ikramullah.
Rashid was also the mastermind of a missile attack on the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex at Kamra while Shah had obtained jihadi training at a madrassa in Karachi.
After his training, Shah was sent to Waziristan and asked by his handlers to target Bhutto.
There were about 30 to 35 bombers being trained for suicide attacks at the camp in Waziristan to which Shah was sent.
Majeed said the militants decided to target Bhutto because she was following the US agenda and would have launched an operation against the Taliban and jihadis if she came to power in the general election.
The militants also thought that Bhutto should be killed since Islam does not recognise the rule of women.