ISLAMABAD — Gunmen on Friday killed the lead Pakistani prosecutor in two high-profile cases — the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, and the brutal assault on civilians in Mumbai — shocking a country reeling from Taliban attacks as it prepares for nationwide elections.
Chaudhry Zulfikar Ali was gunned down in a hail of bullets as he drove to court in the normally quiet capital, where a concentration of diplomats, government and military officials and aid workers live. Nobody claimed responsibility for the killing, but as Ali's work put him in direct conflict with militant groups, suspicion immediately fell on them.
The shooting in Islamabad comes as Pakistan prepares for nationwide elections on May 11. Taliban militants have tried to derail the elections with a wave of shootings and bombings aimed at candidates. Also on Friday, in the southern city of Karachi, gunmen killed an anti-Taliban election candidate along with his 6-year-old son and a political activist.
Ali was leading the prosecution against several suspected Taliban militants as well as former military ruler Pervez Musharraf for alleged roles in the 2007 Bhutto assassination. He was also prosecuting militants linked to the 2008 terror attack in the Indian city of Mumbai.
The lawyer was on his way to a court in Rawalpindi, next to Islamabad, when gunmen shot him in the head, shoulder and chest, and then fled, said police officer Arshad Ali. Bullets hit the prosecutor at least 13 times, and his car was left pockmarked with bullets and with a shattered windshield.
Under the massive trauma, Ali lost control of his car and hit a woman passing by and killed her, said another police officer, Mohammed Rafiq.