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Saturday, December 29, 2007

O' what a tangled web we weave ...

The conspiracy theories have only just begun. What fans them? The general lack of credibility of all people in power is one element ... but it certainly helps when, in what looks to many as an effort to clear one's tracks, representatives of those in power make one statement, modify it, make yet another that contradicts the first ... and go on doing this ad nauseum. If you add to that, in the specific case of Ms Bhutto's killing, washing away all signs of forensic evidence (in much the same manner as the Lal Masjid evidence was destroyed, as General Durrani pointed out on a TV program today), people actually begin to wonder .... Why don't they ever learn that Truth is best is beyond me. Maybe one needs to be a liar - or, at the very least, an actor - in order to become a spokesperson for all governments. But, surely, they can afford some seasoned ones, like Corporations do. That who killed BB will never be known (with so many people gunning for her, as I had indicated in my modified MAD cover that now seems sadly ominous) was something I was prepared to accept - having been brought up on unsolved assassinations, from Pakistan's first PM Liaquat's to American President JFK's. But that we won't know what killed her has come as a bit of a shock, thanks to the government's bungling of everything. Soon after the occurrence of what Air Marsall Asghar Khan rightly called the most dangerous event in Pakistan's history, we were informed that BB had received 2 wounds in her head and 1 in her neck from an assassin's bullets, shortly after a blast - which some referred to as a diversionary tactic - claimed several other lives in this great tragedy. One can understand that the first reports are never absolutely accurate, since statements are given by people who are confused and in shock at the time. Slowly, though, clearer pictures begins to emerge. So I waited until the DAWN, in cold print, gave us the official Government version:

RAWALPINDI, Dec 27: An assassin’s bullet killed Benazir Bhutto on Thursday in what the government described as a gun-and-bomb suicide attack immediately after the former prime minister had addressed an election rally of her Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) at Rawalpindi’s Liaquat Bagh park.
Also, in the same paper was a report that described how the hospital had dealt with the emergency.
A REPORT sent by the Rawalpindi General Hospital to the Health Department of the Punjab provincial government said all efforts by its doctors to revive Ms Bhutto failed and she was declared dead exactly 41 minutes after she was brought at its emergency department at 5.35pm with open wounds on her left temporal bone from which “brain matter was exuding”. It said the PPP leader was not breathing at the time and her pulse and blood pressure “were not recordable”. The report said “immediate resuscitation (process) was started” and she was taken to the operation theatre where the same was done by a team of doctors headed by Prof Musaddiq Khan, principal of the Rawalpindi Medical College. “Left antrolateral thoracotomy for open cardiac massage was performed,” it said and added: “In spite of all the possible measures she could not be revived and (was) declared dead at 1816 (6.16pm) hours.” The report said a post-mortem examination of Ms Bhutto’s body was not carried out at the hospital “because the district administration and police had not requested the hospital authorities (for this)”.
So, after more than a day of assimilating this, dispelling feelings of disbelief, and coming to terms with the horrible reality, for many people around the world (including international TV newsreaders who found it difficult to hide their incredulity) Brig. Cheema's revelations came as a total surprise, just as did Dr. Musaddiq's earlier press conference changing his own story. (I am not sure if surgeons hold such press conferences, unless "requested" to do so by the authorities). With a straight face - and after labouring repeatedly over the fact that the government had provide Ms Bhutto with the best security possible - the obviously not-too-straight Cheema sahab informed us that BB had not been felled by a bullet, nor been hit by a pellet or piece of shrapnel. She had, he alleged, died while trying to duck back into her vehicle from the sunroof through which she had stood up and waved to the crowd, hitting her head against a lever in the process. This injury had caused a fracture that precipitated in her death. He then proceeded to show us a video of BB - courting danger, without doubt - and the sounds of the 3 gunshots and BB disappearing down the opening. Of course, the actual moment of her hitting her head on the lever was not captured on video, but that's a minor detail for him, I guess. Like much else in this pre-fab construction of the fable. The spokesperson underscored the new theory by waving printouts of X-ray images clearly indicating the absence of any objects (bullets, pellets, ettc.) that could have caused such damage and distributed the images to all present, as if the journalists would have been instantly able to verify anything by looking at them, much less that they were, indeed, those of BB's head. And when were the X-rays taken, I wonder. Certainly not as she was brought in ... they had to start on saving her life right away ... and certainly not after she passed away, which would have been quite pointless. Also, there were a couple of minor problems which could, in all fairness, be results of genuine misunderstandings: (1) Dawn's Update quotes him as saying, “The lever struck near her right ear and fractured her skull ...” , while the earlier medical report talks about injuries on the left side, and (2) He stated that the family had requested that no post-mortem be performed, while yesterday's press information indicated that it was not performed because the police had not requested it. One amazing aspect of the conference was his insistence to call the tragedy an Al Qaeda engineered 'assassination'. Hello?!?!? This is no time for being facetious, but I do wonder that - with no bullet or bomb piece involved - what assassination are we talking about? Did Al Qaeda plant the lever? Someone suggested to me, when I brought this up, that 'the explosion startled her and caused her to move in a way that led to the accident that, in turn, led to her death'. Hmmm. I wonder if a court of law would establish through this Rube Goldbergian route that the guy who caused the explosion was her 'murderer'. I mean I can understand that he could be caught for disturbing the peace, malafide intent, vaghaerah vaghaerah, but for her murder? I doubt it. I recall a cricket match in which a spectator died of a heart attack when our delightful Merry Max (whom some of the older Urdu-reading ones among you may also recall as the character, Maqsood Gho∂a, of Shafiqur Rahman's humourous books) was bowled out at 99! By this stupid reasoning Max - or even the Indian bowler - could have been charged with a crime! But Monsieur Cheema was not done yet. He then decided to offer proof of Al Qaeda's role in the 'killing' by reading us the translation of a Pushto transcript of a conversation between a Maulvi and Baitullah Mahsood (of the Al Qaeda) that our intelligence agencies had taped. Listen to it carefully when you watch the video of Cheema sahab's conference - as soon as it finds its inevitable way to YouTube. I am unconvinced ... and my skepticism is based on the following observations: 1. Neither party mentions who has been killed. 2. They seem to be surprisingly unexcited about having assassinated someone who, to them, must certainly be a major victim. 3. Baitullah Mahsood, who must know that his calls get tracked at times, provides information about who he is staying with, risking being caught. 4. The references to a killing in that call could be to any of the several that Al Qaeda are supposed to be engaged in. Even if the call can be proved to have taken place on the same day as BB's killing, there is no reason to believe that it was to her that they were referring. After all, there'd been another attack the same day. 5. The transcript of the Mahsood tape that's been handed over in English and is now on many websites has a phrase about "killing her". The actual video recording says "killing him" ... but Cheema has 'explained' in the conference that that was a mistake the caller made because Pathans get confused when speaking about gender. Yes, they do: in Urdu! But these two were speaking in their mother tongue, Pushtu, so there should be no confusion. Since I could only assume that all these arguments presented by Brig. Cheema - especially those that dealt with the medical examination and reports - were full of more holes than a lawn-sprinkler, I decided to ask a neighbour, my friend Dr. Shamim. Over to him!

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7 Comments:

Blogger Sidhusaaheb said...

I remember the BBC World Service TV news-presenter exclaiming, "They are hosing down what is supposed to be a crime-scene!" or words to that effect.

The question in my mind is that why the massive cover up? What does the government of Pakistan have to hide?

29 December, 2007 15:17

 
Blogger Sidhusaaheb said...

I've seen a related blog-post at:

http://www.teeth.com.pk/blog/2007/12/29/mobile-pictures-benazir-was-defintely-shot-dead-before-the-blast/

30 December, 2007 16:08

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

since the day she landed in karachi and survived the blast so close to her truck, iknew she'd been trapped. somehow'they had convinced her of returning' in order to eliminate her.That was the night I realized more than she did perhaps that her enemies are like snakes who will attack her to kill.I for one have been watching like many, very closely the events of the recent past where a lot of previous records of brutality have been broken.The motive behind them and this event is the same-Lust for power.For I feel that in the presence of a big gunda smaller ones cant do much.Regardless of the abc of how? Im convinced of the 'who' and why.To me the big question is-now what do we as educated citizens do our bit of getting rid of the main culprit and his allies. They are murderers.
they must go.

01 January, 2008 17:22

 
Blogger jehan said...

I think the advisor on strategy should be fired. All these contradictions only prove the truth of what my mother used to tell us when we were kids "If you tell one lie, you have to cover it up by telling another couple of dozen lies". Where does it all stop? It has come to a stage when the average person doesn't know who to believe. Call me a cynic but in my eyes, none of them have any credibility!

01 January, 2008 21:30

 
Blogger Bolshevik said...

HILARIOUS! :-D

I swear! I was watching the press conference along with Xari (one of our reporters holed up at the hotel with me) and we fell off our chairs laughing. Where does the government find these court jesters! I mean how stupid do they think people are! Feh!

01 January, 2008 21:43

 
Blogger Sidhusaaheb said...

A Time magazine report on the subject can be accessed at http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1699138,00.html?iid=728x90_ad3

12 January, 2008 14:11

 
Blogger Sidhusaaheb said...

I expected the Scotland Yard to say that the investigation proved inconclusive due to the lack of evidence available or something like that, rather than what they did say ultimately.

Even the BBC seems to know better, as can be seen at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7235267.stm

To quote from this news-report, "A number of amateur videos of the assassination, some made with cell phones, have been aired on local TV channels since 27 December last year when Ms Bhutto was brought down.

Some of then clearly show that she had fallen inside the vehicle a few seconds before the suicide bomber blew himself up."

Does the Scotland Yard have no credibility any more?

09 February, 2008 01:28

 

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