Islamabad, Feb 7: Pakistan's former President Pervez Musharraf was today named as an accused in the assassination of ex-premier Benazir Bhutto by investigators which also asked a trial court to declare him as an "absconder".
In a setback to the former military ruler's plans to return home to take a plunge in active politics, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) listed him as an "absconding accused" in the chargesheet filed before an anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi in the Benazir Bhutto assassination case.
The FIA said the step to name the 67-year-old ex-Army General as one of the accused was taken after he refused to cooperate in the investigation.
The interim challan or chargesheet said Musharraf, who was President at the time of the assassination, had spurned repeated requests to cooperate in the investigation into Bhutto's killing.
Following lack of cooperation, Musharraf was named as an "absconding accused", FIA prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar told the court.
The development comes as a setback to Musharraf, who has been planning to return to Pakistan. He has been living in London since April, 2009.
Responding to the latest development, Musharraf's spokesman Muhammad Ali Saif said the FIA's actions were aimed at covering up the truth behind Bhutto's assassination and diverting attention from the government's "inefficiency and corruption".
"Basically, it is a political drama to hide the real actors behind the killing of Benazir Bhutto," Saif said.
Zulfiqar indicated that further action could be taken against Musharraf if he continued to refuse to cooperate, TV news channels reported.
The anti-terrorism court is conducting the trial of five suspects, including alleged members of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, who have been charged with planning
and facilitating the assassination.
Bhutto was killed by a suicide bomber shortly after she addressed an election rally in Rawalpindi on December 27, 2007.
The interim chargesheet further said former Rawalpindi Police chief Saud Aziz and former Superintendent of Police Khurram Shahzad - recently arrested by the FIA on charges of negligence in providing security to Bhutto - were acting on the orders of Musharraf.
The prosecution said Aziz made a statement in which he claimed that the order to change the person in-charge of Bhutto's security was given by Musharraf.
Aziz also claimed that the scene of the assassination was hosed down hours after Bhutto's death on Musharraf's orders.
The chargesheet also included a report on the forensic analysis of one of Benazir Bhutto's BlackBerry mobile phones.
Two BlackBerry phones used by Bhutto at the time of her death were recently found by staff at her home in Karachi and handed over to the FIA. PTI