Pakistan asks UN to probe Bhutto killing(Lead)

May 23rd, 2008 - 12:57 am ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Benazir Bhutto
By Muhammad Najeeb
Islamabad, May 22 (IANS) Pakistan Thursday demanded a UN probe into the assassination of former prime minister and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chief Benazir Bhutto. The charismatic Bhutto was killed in a gun and bomb attack at an election rally in Rawalpindi Dec 27, sparking widespread violence that killed 20 people.

Then caretaker government presided over by President Pervez Musharraf initially termed the death accidental. A government spokesman said that Bhutto died after her head hit the latch of her bombproof Toyota Land Cruiser.

Government officials later said she might have been murdered.

“We want a proper international probe into the murder. I have sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon,” Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Quresi told a press conference he addressed jointly with Law Minister Farooq H. Naek.

Naek said that soon after the killing, the PPP asked the president and the caretaker government to seek a UN probe but “they did not bother to send the letter to the UN”.

He said that the letter requesting a UN probe would be handed over through Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN. He said the decision to send the letter was taken after national and provincial parliaments passed resolutions to this effect.

The then government asked for a Scotland Yard probe. The Yard announced Feb 8 that Benazir Bhutto was killed after her head hit the knob on the sunroof following the bomb explosion.

Naek said the Scotland Yard team was given a “limited mandate”.

“They were given the mandate to investigate whether it’s a murder but not to investigate who are the persons behind the hideous crime.” hr said.

The PPP refused to accept the Yard’s ruling and continued to demand a UN probe into what it said was murder.

Bhutto’s husband and PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari even alleged that the previous government was directly or indirectly involved in the assassination.

On the day she died, Bhutto stood up and, peeping through its sunroof, waved to the crowds.

Suddenly, a gunman fired shots at her, and subsequently explosives were detonated near the vehicle killing approximately 20 people. Bhutto was critically wounded and rushed to a hospital where she was pronounced dead.

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