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Benazir Bhutto murder case prosecutor shot dead

Benazir Bhutto murder case prosecutor shot dead

ISLAMABAD: Main state prosecutor in the 2007 murder of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and the 2008 Mumbai attacks, Chaudhry Zulfiqar was shot dead in Islamabad en route to court Friday, police said.

Due to the killing, the hearing of Benazir Bhutto murder case has been adjourned till May 14 while lawyers are observing complete strike in High Court and District Court Rawalpindi.

Chaudhry Zulfiqar was shot multiple times after gunmen intercepted his vehicle shortly after he left home in the capital. His bodyguard was also wounded and a woman passer-by killed.

"Chaudhry Zulfiqar was driving his car. He lost control and the car crushed a woman passer-by," police officer told.

"Zulfiqar was rushed to hospital where he succumbed to his injuries," he added.

Police said the gunmen fled on a motorbike.

Zulfiqar's white Toyota Corolla was badly damaged in the attack.

Its wind shield was smashed and there were multiple bullet marks on both sides of the car and at the front. Pieces of broken window lay inside and on the road. There was blood on the car seats and on the road.

Police said it appeared the attackers targeted his car soon after Zulfiqar took a U-turn after leaving his street.

He lost control and the car skidded into a depression along the main road after hitting the woman, who died instantly, officers said.

Zulfiqar had been on his way to the anti-terrorism court hearing the Bhutto case in the neighbouring city of Rawalpindi.

Former military ruler Pervez Musharraf was this week placed under two-week house arrest over charges that he conspired to murder Bhutto.

Zulfiqar was also the main government prosecutor who indicted seven alleged conspirators in the 2008 Mumbai attacks, which killed 166 people and which were blamed on Pakistan's Islamist group Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Pakistan indicted the seven in 2009 but has since said it needs to gather more evidence in India before proceeding further.

Zulfiqar was given extra government security last year after he was implicated in threats received by police investigators.

It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the shooting.

"I cannot comment. I'm in a state of shock," Zulfiqar's deputy Azhar Chaudhry told when asked to comment.

Wasim Khawaja, spokesman of PIMS hospital, told that Zulfiqar's bodyguard was out of danger.

Nobody has ever been convicted or jailed for Bhutto's assassination in a gun and suicide attack after a campaign rally in Rawalpindi on December 27, 2007.

The assassination comes just days before Pakistan holds historic general elections on May 11, marking the first time that a civilian government completes a full-term in office and hands over to another at the ballot box.

Musharraf's government blamed the killing on Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief Baitullah Mehsud, who denied any involvement and was killed in a US drone attack in 2009.

In 2010 a UN report said Bhutto's death could have been prevented and accused Musharraf's government of failing to give her adequate protection.

Initial Post Mortem Complete

The initial post mortem of the FIA prosecutor in the Benazir Bhutto murder case, Chaudhry Zulfiqar has been completed. According to the report Zulfiqar has 17 injury marks on his body.

The final report will be completed in two days. A six member medical board from the PIMS Hospital conducted the post mortem. The FIA prosecutor died from a bullet wound to the head.

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