Rawalpindi, Aug 31: Besides declaring former Pakistan President Gen Pervez Musharraf an absconder, an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Rawalpindi Thursday acquitted five Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) suspects in the murder case of former PM Benazir Bhutto.
The ATC had named General Musharraf in the case in February 2011.
In a verdict announced Thursday the ATC sentenced two police officers to 17-year imprisonment.
Saud Aziz, who was police chief of Rawalpindi when Bhutto was assassinated in 2007, and Khurram Shahzad, a former Superintendent of Police (SP) at Rawal Town, were each awarded 17 years in prison. The two, who were out on bail, have already been arrested.
They have also been fined Rs 500,000 each; in case they do not pay the fine, they will have to spend another six months in jail, said the court.
The ATC has directed authorities to seize Musharraf's properties and issue perpetual arrest warrants for the former dictator.
A joint investigation team implicated Musharraf in the case, saying that his government did not provide adequate security to former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto despite her repeated requests.
Apart from Musharraf, five other men — Baitullah Mehsud, Ahmad Gul, Iqramullah, Abdullah, and Faizullah — have been declared absconders.
The judge hearing the case was changed eight times.
In 2013, FIA's special prosecutor in the case was killed by unknown assailants. Doctors said he had been killed with 10 bullets targeting his chest and shoulder.
Saud Aziz and Khurram Shahzad, who had been released on bail in 2011, were accused of negligence in security arrangements which subsequently led to the assassination of the former prime minister in a gun-and-bomb attack outside Rawalpindi’s Liaquat Bagh on Dec 27, 2007 when Musharraf was President.
Benazir was killed shortly after addressing an election campaign rally in Rawalpindi.