Benazir Bhutto’s Confidant Mark Siegel to be Cross-Examined in the First Week of November

Written by  Published by:Pakistan Views Tuesday, 13 October 2015 11:43

ISLAMABAD: An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Rawalpindi on Monday affirmed US lobbyist and Benazir Bhutto’s confidant Mark Siegel will be available for cross-examination in the first week of November.

During a hearing of the case, the prosecution informed the court that the Pakistani embassy in Washington had intimated that Mr Siegel would be available for cross-examination by retired General Pervez Musharraf’s counsel via video link.

The court, however, asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to obtain the exact date on which the lobbyist would be available, so that the court could make arrangements. The ATC adjourned hearing to Oct 14.

Mr Siegel had recorded his statement before an ATC on Oct 1, where he had connected Gen Musharraf with Ms Bhutto’s murder on the basis that the former military ruler, despite imminent threats to her life, deliberately deprived Ms Bhutto of the security detail she deserved being a former prime minister.

In his statement, the lobbyist had claimed that PPP sought permission from Gen Musharraf to bring foreign security personnel with Ms Bhutto and asked for vehicles with tinted glass, but both requests were rejected.

During Monday’s proceedings, the ATC declared serving Superintendent of Police (SP) Tahir Ayub a proclaimed offender after he, despite repeated summons, did not appear to testify in the case. SP Ayub was a member of the Joint Investigation Team that investigated the case and the prosecution had cited him as a witness.

Federal Investigation Agency’s Special Prosecutor Khawaja Imtiaz told the court that the SP was on ex-Pakistan leave and was currently in Dubai.

He suggested that the witness be summoned through the Establishment Division, adding that in case he could not come to Pakistan, the court may record his statement via video link from Dubai. According to the prosecutor, the court could also constitute a commission to record the statement of Tahir Ayub.

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