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02 March 2024

British Bhutto investigators present findings to Musharraf

By Agencies


British forensic experts assisting the investigation into Benazir Bhutto's assassination met on Tuesday with President Pervez Musharraf to share their initial findings, government officials said.

The six-member team from Scotland Yard's antiterror division arrived in Pakistan last week amid growing pressure for an international investigation into the circumstances surrounding the December 27 killing of Pakistan's popular opposition leader.
The British experts visited the site of the shooting and bombing attack to take photographs and record video and spoke with local security officers. They have made no comment since their arrival.

They met with Musharraf at his office on Tuesday morning to "share their initial findings with the president," an official in his office said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the issue.

The meeting came a day after Bhutto's supporters called for the formation of a UN committee with a broad mandate to investigate the former prime minister's assassination and the events leading up to the attack outside a campaign rally.

The government blamed the attack on Islamic militants, while her party demanded an independent investigation to determine who was behind his killing.

"This was not just a Pakistani issue, it is an issue that will reverberate not just in the region, it will reverberate in the world," Sherry Rehman, spokeswoman for the Pakistan People's Party, said on Monday.

Rehman said the government had failed to properly investigate an October 18 suicide bombing that targeted Bhutto during her homecoming parade in the city of Karachi and killed about 150 people. That failure led to the successful attack on Bhutto two months later, she told reporters.

Rehman demanded the UN Security Council authorize an investigation into Bhutto's killing and the events leading up to it. She also reiterated accusations, denied by the government, that Bhutto was not given proper security.

"Why did the government not provide security to the most important woman in the whole world," she said.

Rehman also railed against the government's decision to postpone the polls in the wake of days of rioting that followed Bhutto's killing, accusing it of using the delay to rig the vote.

"The People's Party condemns the delay in the election and will not tolerate any further move to delay it or hijack this election," she said.

Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, head of another opposition party and a fierce critic of President Pervez Musharraf, called on the president to resign and reinstate the judges he dismissed during a six-week state of emergency that ended last month. He also called for a national unity government to be formed to run the elections.

"If he stays in power then nobody can save the country from complete destruction," he told reporters in the city of Lahore. "They are planning massive rigging in polls and I want to make it clear that this would be disastrous for Pakistan." (AP)