Bhutto case suspect identifies bomber

Islamabad, January 29:

A teenage boy suspected to be a member of a suicide squad picked to murder former Pakistan premier Benazir Bhutto has identified the bomber who blew himself up near her car, TV channels reported today.

The interior ministry confirmed that 15-year-old Aitzaz Shah had been arrested in the northwestern city of Dera Ismail Khan last week. He confessed that he was a member of the backup group of suicide bombers who killed Bhutto. Aitzaz Shah was later shifted to Islamabad for questioning and a court has given his 10-day custody to the police for interrogation.

Another suspect, Sher Zaman, was also arrested on a tip from Aitzaz Shah, according to officials. Aitzaz Shah has identified the bomber as Bilal, who belongs to South Waziristan tribal region, TV channels said. Media reports said that investigators showed the picture of the bomber to Aitzaz Shah, who recognised him. TV channels reported that a team of investigators had left for South Waziristan to meet members of Bilal’s family to get more information about him.

A report from Miranshah said 12 suspected militants were killed by a missile strike in Pakistan’s troubled tribal belt, hours after gunmen held 300 children hostage at a school, officials said today.

A report from London said British PM Gordon Brown told Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf yesterday that next month’s elections had to be credible, insisting the country’s stability was vital for South Asia.

Brown’s call came as demonstrators staged angry protests against Musharraf’s visit to London.