Saud Aziz, others in ‘safe custody’ – By Shakeel Anjum
Has former CPO taken the blame under duress?
Courtesy: The News
ISLAMABAD: Where have the police officers facing trial in Benazir Bhutto’s assassination gone? Where is the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Saud Aziz and why, all of a sudden, has he become inaccessible since April 22, 2010 the day he reported to the Establishment Division in Islamabad after he was removed from the post of the Regional Police Officer (RPO), Multan, and made Officer on Special Duty (OSD)?
The situation is becoming intriguing and there are wide apprehensions that things might turn ugly.
The whole issue got shrouded in a thick pall of mystery since the three-member committee was constituted on the order of Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Gilani, with one point mandate to ascertain as to who actually ordered the hosing down of the crime scene within hours after the fatal suicide attack against Benazir Bhutto.
It is already on record that DIG Saud Aziz, whether acting on his own or under some sort of pressure that he was unable to stand up to, gave the statement before the three-member Fact Finding Committee that he received no verbal or written orders from anybody, including former chief of the Military Intelligence (MI) Maj-Gen Ejaz Nadeem, about hosing down the crime scene within hours of the occurrence of the incident, and almost took the whole blame unto himself, pleading that it happened because of his negligence.
When contacted, some highly placed and credible sources told The News that these police officers, including DIG Saud Aziz, had been taken into ‘safe custody’ by some intelligence agencies for their safety and security.
“Such a step was necessary in the wake of the ongoing investigations by the three-member ‘Fact Finding Team’ appointed by the prime minister as well as the one being conducted by the second ‘Joint Investigation Team’ set up in the FIA to further the probe in the light of the findings and indications mentioned in the UN Commission Report,” the sources told The News.
Most of the police officers, especially DIG Saud Aziz, were pointed out in the UN Commission Report as suspects with possibility of their involvement in execution of the assassination plan of Benazir Bhutto.
“Their activities and their telephone conversations are being monitored. They are not allowed to keep cellular phones with them and they were being taken to investigating agencies for recording their statements amidst tight security. They are escorted back to unknown places where they are being kept after recording their statements,” the sources told The News.
The News managed to contact a close relative of DIG Saud Aziz, who said Saud had been taken into custody by security agencies after he was made an Officer on Special Duty (OSD). “Since then, we don’t know about his whereabouts, neither has he contacted his family, “ the close relative said.
However, The News learnt through its sources that DIG Saud Aziz, who was CPO at the time of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in Rawalpindi, is being kept in a Rest House near Islamabad and he was not allowed to meet anybody.
“Saud Aziz is not allowed to speak the truth about the execution of Benazir’s assassination plan and he is doing only what he has been told to do like taking the blame on the pretext of negligence of duties,” some well placed sources in the relevant corners told The News.
“You can say that he has ‘agreed’ or has been ‘forced’ to take the blame for being indirectly responsible for hosing down the crime scene only to bail out the former MI chief Maj-Gen Nadeem Ijaz,” the sources said, adding: “He had no other option but to offer himself as the scapegoat the government is looking for.”
Sunday, May 02, 2010