Pakistan ruling party to take action in Bhutto’s murder


Islamabad : Pakistan’s ruling party is to take legal action against people implicated in the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, officials said Sunday.

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The move follows the release of a UN investigation which concluded the killing could have been prevented if adequate security had been provide by the government of then president Pervez Musharraf.

However, the investigators did not lay criminal responsibility on anyone as it was not part of their mandate.

The decision to take legal action came late Saturday at a meeting of Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), which is headed by her widower and incumbent President Asif Ali Zardari.

Presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar said Sunday that Zardari asked Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to see that officials suspected of involvement in the killing, destroying evidence or aiding the actual assassins be legally pursued.

Babar said the PPP believed that Musharraf was directly responsible for the death of Bhutto, claiming the UN report endorsed this stand.

Bhutto died in a gun and suicide bomb attack December 27, 2007, when she was leaving an election rally in the garrison city of Rawalpindi.

The suicide bombing, allegedly carried out by a 15-year-old youth, also killed around two dozen people and wounded more than 90.

The Musharraf government blamed Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud for orchestrating the murder, basing the accusation on telephone intercepts. Mehsud was killed in a US air strike in the tribal region bordering Afghanistan last August.

But the UN inquiry commission said the premature claim made just a day after the assassination “pre-empted, prejudiced and hindered the subsequent investigation”.

It added that the probe was hampered by the intelligence agencies and believed the failure of police to effectively investigate the incident was “deliberate”.

The UN report concluded that: “It remains the responsibility of the Pakistani authorities to carry out a serious, credible criminal investigation that determines who conceived, ordered and executed this heinous crime of historic proportions, and bring those responsible to justice.”