UN probe into Benazir killing on Ban’s agenda in Pakistan


Islamabad : A decision on instituting a UN probe into the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto is likely to be taken during the visit of the world body’s chief, Ban Ki-moon, who arrived here Wednesday.

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During the visit, Ban will meet President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani before announcing his decision on the probe, which Pakistan requested after its own investigations and those by Scotland Yard failed to make headway.

Pakistan will pay the UN $5 million as seed money for the commission, the Dawn newspaper reported Wednesday.

“However, the actual cost of investigation would be much higher and would be shared by friendly countries. Although, the cost is being kept a closely guarded secret, it is believed that it would be in tens of millions of dollars,” the newspaper added.

It also said a three-member commission would conduct the probe. A South African would head it with an Indonesia and a Swede as its members.

The names of the commission members would be given to Gilani before an official announcement is made.

The commission is expected to go through the information provided to the UN by Pakistan’s interior ministry and the Scotland Yard.

A UN official told Dawn: “We expect the investigation to be thorough and full, taking into account the situation obtaining in the country at that time.”

The enquiry, to be conducted under the auspices of Ban’s office, would be completed within six months, Dawn said, quoting from the terms of reference of the commission.

“Besides, Pakistan and the UN have agreed that the report of the commission would be handed over to the government in its original shape.”

“The UN and Pakistan have already reached a broad understanding on unhindered access to all sources of relevant information and on elements to safeguard its objectivity, impartiality and independence,” the newspaper said.

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, the culprits, perpetrators, financiers and the mastermind behind Bhutto’s Dec 27, 2007, assassination in a gun-and-bomb attack after a political rally in Rawalpindi.