Bhutto case prosecutor assassinated by gunmen

 

Islamabad

Gunmen have killed a Pakistani prosecutor who was leading investigations into the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and a brutal attack on civilians in the Indian city of Mumbai.

The assassination in the capital, Islamabad, today, comes at a sensitive time for Pakistan, as the country prepares for nationwide elections on 11 May amid a spate of Taliban attacks on candidates. In the southern city of Karachi, gunmen on motorcycles killed an anti-Taliban election candidate and his son, and a political activist in two other attacks today.

The government prosecutor who was gunned down, Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali, was at the helm of a number of highly controversial cases. The two of the most prominent included Ms Bhutto’s death in 2007 and the 2008 Mumbai attack by Pakistan-based militants that killed 166 people.

The Bhutto case has received renewed attention in recent weeks because of the return of former Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf from self-imposed exile. Mr Musharraf, who was in power when she was killed, has been arrested in connection with the case.

Mr Ali was on his way to a court in Rawalpindi, next to Islamabad, when gunmen fired at him, hitting him in the head, shoulder and chest, and then fled in a taxi and on a motorcycle, said police officer Arshad Ali. The prosecutor was shot at least 13 times and his car was pockmarked with bullets and the windscreen shattered.

He then lost control of his car, which hit a woman passer-by and killed her, said another police officer, Mohammed Rafiq.

Mr Ali’s guard returned fire and is believed to have wounded at least one of the attackers, Mr Rafiq said. The guard was also injured in the attack. Police have launched a search for the gunmen.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but it is likely that suspicion will fall on Islamic militants.

AP

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