Islamabad: The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP has for the first time claimed responsibility for the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in a new book written by Taliban leader Abu Mansoor Asim Mufti Noor Wali.
Ms Bhutto was killed in a suicide attack in Rawalpindi shortly after she addressed an election rally on December 27, 2007 and members of the then military regime of General Pervez Musharraf had blamed the TTP for it. The outfit had so far maintained silence over the assassination.
No group had claimed responsibility for Ms Bhutto's murder until the claim in "Inqilab Mehsood South Waziristan - From British Raj to American Imperialism." The book says suicide bombers Bilal, who was also known as Saeed, and Ikramullah were tasked to carry out the attack on Ms Bhutto on December 27.
"Bomber Bilal first fired at Benazir Bhutto from his pistol and the bullet hit her neck. Then he detonated his explosive jacket and blew himself up among the participants of the procession," Daily Times on Monday quoted the book as saying.
After Ms Bhutto's assassination, the Musharraf regime had released an audio conversation purportedly between the two Taliban men talking about Ms Bhutto's death.
The book also claims that the Taliban was behind another attack on Ms Bhutto, carried out by two suicide bombers in October 2007 in Karachi, in which nearly 140 people died.
"Despite attacks on Benazir Bhutto's procession in Karachi, the government had not taken appropriate security measures that made it possible for the attackers to have easy access to Benazir Bhutto in Rawalpindi," claims the book.
The book says that Baitullah Mehsud, the then head of the TTP, who was killed in a US drone strike in 2009, had approved the attack on Ms Bhutto's procession in October 2007, when she returned to Pakistan to lead the campaign for the 2008 parliamentary elections.
"The return of Benazir Bhutto was planned on the behest of the Americans as they had given her a plan against the Mujahideed-e-Islam. Baitullah had received information of the plan. So when Benazir Bhutto arrived in Karachi, two suicide bombers Mohsin Mehsood and Rehmatullah Mehsod carried out attacks on her procession at Karsaz area of Karachi," the book claims.
Musharraf had been formally charged in the case by an anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi in August 2017. The ATC also declared Musharraf an absconder in the case. Musharraf has denied any involvement in Ms Bhutto's assassination on a number of occasions.
The book also mentions that the investigating bodies had held the outfit responsible for Ms Bhutto's killing but they had denied their involvement until 27 December 2017, on her 10th death anniversary. It presents no reason why the TTP changed its stance.
The book, according to Daily Times, covers the TTP's history, its attacks, military operations in the tribal regions, TTP's activities in Afghanistan, tribal system, Mehsood tribe role in the TTP, TTP operations in Karachi and its campaign against polio vaccination.