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Pakistani court summons US journalist in Benazir murder case

Posted on Dec 15, 09:40PM | IANS

An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan Saturday summoned American journalist Mark Siegel to record his statement in the 2007 assassination case of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, reported Xinhua citing local media.

Siegel, who has served as lobbyist for Bhutto in the US, had stated that he was with her in London when then President Pervez Musharraf called and threatened her. Musharraf had denied the allegations.

Bhutto was killed in an attack in Rawalpindi Dec 27, 2007 shortly after she addressed an election rally. Her Pakistan Peoples Party won elections two months later and her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, was later elected president.

The then government of Musharraf had blamed Pakistani Taliban for the attack, but the charges were denied by the militants.

Five suspects are currently facing trial for Bhutto's assassination. Two police officers, assigned for the security of Benazir Bhutto, were also arrested on charges of negligence in providing security to Bhutto.

The anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi summoned Siegel and four other witnesses to make their statements before the judge, lawyers said.

The other witnesses include two former police officers and two doctors, who had been in hospital when Benazir Bhutto was brought for treatment.

Investigators had earlier told the trial court that Siegel had agreed to record his statement before the Pakistani court in the high-profile murder case.

The Federal Investigative Agency (FIA) had already sought arrest warrants for Musharraf after he failed to appear before the court to make statement about his administration's failure to provide security to Benazir Bhutto.

Musharraf has been living in exile, mostly in London and Dubai, since his resignation in 2008. He has also launched his own political party and said he will return the country before the upcoming elections.