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21 February 2024

Scotland Yard to submit report in Bhutto murder probe this week

By Agencies


British detectives will give their first report to the Pakistani government this week on their findings in the murder of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, the interior ministry said Wednesday.

A team of forensic and explosive experts from Scotland Yard spent more than two weeks in the country after President Pervez Musharraf sought British help following Bhutto's December 27 assassination in a gun and suicide attack.

"They informed us that they would submit their report by Friday," Interior Ministry Spokesman Brigadier Javed Cheema told AFP.

The British investigators are due to arrive here Thursday from London.

British embassy spokesman Aidan Liddle also confirmed the report would be presented to the government this week.

Asked if the team would investigate further, Cheema said it would depend on the circumstances.

The government frequently said the investigators' task was to give their opinion on the cause of Bhutto's death to bring to an end a controversy over exactly how she died.

Initially the government said the former two-time premier died from a fatal blow to the skull when she hit the sunroof while hurriedly withdrawing into a vehicle after a powerful suicide blast at an election rally.

But her party and media reports said she died of wounds from bullets fired by an assassin from a very close range as she stood waving to party workers.

Musharraf later admitted that it was possible Bhutto might have been shot dead.

Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party demanded a United Nations probe into her death but the government has rejected this.

Bhutto had accused several senior government and intelligence officials of plotting to kill her following a double suicide attack on a
parade to welcome her home from exile in October.

The government said it would make Scotland Yard's findings public. (AFP)