UN probe into Bhutto killing not to be reopened


New York: A UN probe into the killing of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto will not be reopened despite a suggestion that warnings issued by three heads of state on threats to her life be incorporated in the report, an official said.

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The report was to be presented to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Tuesday but was deferred to April 15 at the request of Bhutto’s widower, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, whose spokesman said the warnings should be included in the report.

However, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky has been quoted as saying that the three-member commission had “seen a considerable amount of relevant information, including what has been in the news media in recent days” and “after conferring in light of the latest information, they continue to say that they have completed their work”.

“The commissioners have informed the United Nations that the report is complete,” Online news agency quoted Nesirky as saying.

“They believe that they have finished their work and that there is no need to include any further information. It is for them to consider whether they need to change their report,” he added.

Justifying Zardari’s request, his spokesman Farhatullah Babar said the president wanted the commission “to include in its report the comments of those three countries which had warned (Bhutto) on her return to Pakistan (in October 2007) that there were serious threats to her life and that she should take adequate precautionary measures”.

“We suggested to the commission that it would be helpful if the viewpoint of those three countries and their heads of governments, which had warned (Bhutto) is also incorporated,” he added.

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani immediately distanced himself from Zardari’s request, saying that the government had not asked the UN to delay the release of the probe report.

“We had not asked United Nations commission to delay the report about the facts and circumstances of the assassination,” Gilani told the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament, on Wednesday.

Bhutto was killed in a gun and bomb attack Dec 27, 2007 as she left a political rally in the adjacent garrison town of Rawalpindi.

Pakistan had in July 2008 sought a UN probe into Bhuttto’s killing after its own investigations and one by Scotland Yard failed to make headway.

This is largely because the spot where Bhutto was killed was hosed down soon after, destroying whatever evidence that could have been gathered.

The UN probe had begun in June 2009 and is believed to have cost the Pakistani government Rs.200 million.