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Scotland Yard takes to London Bhutto murder evidences

By Muhammad Najeeb

Islamabad : Six of the ten-member Scotland Yard team probing into the assassination of Pakistan’s former prime minister Benazir Bhutto left for London Monday with forensic samples and pieces of evidence collected during the investigation.

“Six of the investigators have gone to their head office but four of their colleagues will stay back,” a senior official of interior ministry told IANS.

The officer said the members of the Scotland Yard investigating into the Dec 27 murder of Bhutto will keep shuttling between Pakistan and London until they complete their report with the help of their counterparts in the country.

The official said that they have taken some evidences for laboratory examinations, as some of the facilities were not available in Pakistan.

According to the official, the British experts had also called for autopsy of Bhutto’s body, a demand that has not been made public. But her husband Asif Ali Zaradri has already not allowed the post-mortem examination of Bhutto’s body.

President Pervez Musharraf has said that the government was ready to exhume the body for post-mortem examination if the Bhutto family allows.

The government hired the investigators after Bhutto’s Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) demanded an independent probe by the United Nations.

“There’s no need for UN probe as no second country is involved in it, but we have called the Scotland Yard to have (an) independent inquiry,” Musharraf had said, announcing the arrangement with the Scotland Yard..

The first team of British experts arrived Jan 4 to assist Pakistani investigators probing the gun and bomb attack in Rawalpindi that killed Bhutto and 22 others when she was leaving the venue after addressing an election-related rally there.

During its stay in Pakistan, the British team reconstructed the crime scene, examined the suspected remains of the bomber and recorded statements of the police, eyewitnesses and the doctors who attended Bhutto after the attack.

They also examined the Toyota Land Cruiser in which Bhutto was standing out from the sunroof at the time of the attack.

The government blamed Al Qaeda for the murder, an allegation the terrorist network has denied.