Dismiss Pak’s request to issue RCN: Musharraf to Interpol

Islamabad: Former military ruler Gen Pervez Musharraf has approached Interpol to seek the dismissal of a request from the Pakistan government for issuing a Red Corner Notice against him in connection with Benazir Bhutto’s assassination, according to a media report today.

He sought Interpol’s help following a third request from Pakistan last week seeking a Red Corner Notice for him.

“Musharraf has sought Interpol’s assistance under Article 3 of Interpol’s Constitution, which enshrines the guiding principle of neutrality by explicitly forbidding Interpol from engaging in matters of political, military, religious and racial character,” an unnamed official of the Federal Investigation Agency was quoted as saying by The Express Tribune.

The official, dealing with Bhutto’s assassination case, said Musharraf had requested Interpol to treat his case as a matter of “political and military character”.

“Interpol may reject Pakistan’s request as neutrality has always been paramount to Interpol whose activities transcend international politics,” the official quoted a friend of Musharraf as saying.

The former military ruler sent his request to the Commission for the Control of Interpol’s Files (CCF) earlier this month. The CCF sought more evidence and is monitoring Pakistan’s request.

Pakistan sought the Red Corner Notice for Musharraf after investigators accused him of failing to provide adequate security to Bhutto after her return to Pakistan from self-exile in October 2007. Bhutto was killed by a suicide bomber in the garrison city of Rawalpindi later the same year.

The FIA official said Interpol headquarters had not rejected Pakistan’s request for a Red Corner Notice. “Interpol did not reject our request. It only asked for more documents.”

More documentary proof had been sent to the CCF to ensure Musharraf’s arrest, the FIA official said.

Interpol reportedly informed FIA that it could not issue a Red Corner Notice for Musharraf due to insufficient evidence and documentation presented to the CCF.

FIA’s prosecutor in Bhutto’s murder case, Azhar Chaudhry, said the FIA had sent additional investigation reports and copies of statements by the then Intelligence Bureau chief Ejaz Shah and director general of the Inter-Services Intelligence’s counter-intelligence wing.

Copies of an anti-terrorism court’s order and US-based journalist Marc Siegel’s email to Bhutto too were sent to the CCF. “The CCF is the final authority to decide Musharraf’s fate,” Chaudhry said.

Pakistan has also sought Britain’s assistance in this case but the British government rejected the appeal on the grounds that the two countries have no formal extradition treaty.

Musharraf has been living in Dubai and Britain since he left Pakistan in early 2009.