UN commission to probe Benazir assassination: Ban Ki-moon (Lead)

February 5th, 2009 - 12:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Benazir BhuttoIslamabad, Feb 5 (IANS) UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has announced an independent inquiry commission to investigate the assassination of former Pakistan prime minister Benazir Bhutto.“On the basis of our extensive consultations with the government of Pakistan and members of the (UN) Security Council, I intend to establish very shortly an independent commission of inquiry headed by a very distinguished person, whom I am going to nominate soon,” the secretary general said Wednesday at a banquet hosted by Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari.

The UN chief said he was aware that the assassination issue was a matter of great importance to the people of Pakistan, the Dawn newspaper reported Thursday.

Quoting sources in New York, the newspaper said Heraldo Munoz, Chilean ambassador to the UN, would lead the three-member UN inquiry commission into the Dec 27, 2007 assassination of Bhutto in a gun-and-bomb attack after a political rally in Rawalpindi.

Dar Usman of Indonesia would be also be a member of the commission while the third member, whose name could not be ascertained, would be from Sweden, the report added.

Ban said he had exchanged letters with the president of the UN Security Council and would move quickly in processing formalities for the establishment of the commission. No effort would be spared in establishing the commission so that “we can uncover facts about the assassination of Benazir Bhutto”, The News reported.

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari thanked the secretary general for accepting Pakistan’s request for conducting a UN probe into the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

Zardari said: “I take this opportunity to thank you on my behalf and on behalf of the government and people of Pakistan for your great interest in setting up of a fact finding commission on Shaheed Benazir Bhutto. We hope that the three-member commission would soon commence its operations.”

He hoped that the commission’s findings “would lead to eventually exposing financiers, organisers, sponsors and conspirators of this terrorist act and bring them to justice”.

The commission’s mandate and parameters would be devised by the UN Security Council, The News quoted sources as saying.

On May 22, 2008, Law Minister Farooq H. Naek said at a press conference that Pakistan’s intelligence agencies did not have sufficient funds to probe such a major crime. It is expected that the probe will cost $40.5 million.

It took the UN almost seven months to finalise the probe commission. The original request for inquiry was made by Pakistan in June for exposing, through independent and impartial investigations, those behind the assassination.

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