A joint investigation team of the Federal Investigation Agency has found two BlackBerry mobile phones of the late Benazir Bhutto in her house in Karachi which was lost on the day of her assassination.
According to FIA sources, the phones recovered from a servant in Bilawal House three years after the assassination of Ms. Bhutto will help the investigators to get some credible clues by de tracking them.
However, a close aide of Ms. Bhutto who was with her in her vehicle in her last moments told the slain leader had only one BlackBerry at the time of her assassination.
“As far as I know she had only one BlackBerry and used it only for text messaging and not for voice calls”.
He added Ms. Bhutto had sent some messages from the vehicle she used to travel from Islamabad to Liaquat Bagh where she addressed her last public meeting on Dec 27, 2007.
The FIA sources said that the phones were under the use of Abdul Razzaq, a servant of President Asif Ali Zardari in Bilawal House.
It will help investigators to know who had last called the PPP leader and who was the last person she called.
The sets may also help the investigators to know if Ms. Bhutto received a call after leaving Liaquat Bagh while her jeep was surrounded by supporters and if the caller asked her to come out of the sunroof and wave to the fans.
Her aide said that people accompanying Ms. Bhutto had advised her against looking out of the vehicle but she came out of the sunroof and was shot by a terrorist.
Over the past three years, the investigation has made little progress and doubts remain whether it is heading in the right direction.
The staff at the residence and camp office of President Zardari in Karachi have handed over the cellphones to the FIA, but neither the investigators nor a spokesman for the Bilawal House elaborated why it took three years for the sets to be handed over although these were considered as important evidence.
An official said the phones, handed over by the Bilawal House administration ‘voluntarily’, had been sent for forensic examination.
FIA Director General Waseem Ahmed said:
“The findings of the forensic examination will be shared with the interior ministry”.
A spokesman for the Bilawal House later intervened, apparently to make the situation clear but his statement raised several questions.
“It’s a fact that two BlackBerry cellphones of Ms. Bhutto were handed over to the FIA by the Bilawal House,” . “The move is part of the effort under the directives of President Zardari to cooperate with the investigation agencies assigned the task to trace the killers.”
The spokesman said the cellphones were with a member of Ms. Bhutto’s personal staff who was with her on Dec 27, 2007, and after the attack, he kept them with due care.
He kept quiet when asked what had prompted the employee to keep the phones away from the investigators who had declared them missing from the crime scene several times. Considered as crucial pieces of evidence, the phones were not even offered to the UN investigators who had taken weeks to complete their tasks and send their report to the government last year.