Pakistan parliament urges U.N. probe of Bhutto killing

14/04/2008 - 15:04

By Zeeshan Haider

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan's parliament, dominated byPresident Pervez Musharraf's opponents, passed a resolution onMonday urging the government to seek a U.N. investigation ofthe killing of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

Bhutto was killed in a gun and bomb attack in the city ofRawalpindi on December 27 as she was coming out of an electionrally.

"(It) should probe and identify the culprits, perpetrators,organisers and financiers behind this heinous crime and bringthem to justice," Law Minister Farooq Naek said of theinvestigation he wants set up.

Musharraf, who has become increasingly isolated after thecrushing defeat of his allies in a February 18 election, hasopposed a U.N. investigation of Bhutto's killing.

British police helped investigate the assassination andthey backed up the government's explanation of how Bhutto waskilled.

The previous government and the U.S. CIA accused BaitullahMehsud, an al Qaeda-linked militant commander based on theAfghan border, of killing Bhutto, a staunch supporter of theU.S.-led campaign against Islamist militancy.

Mehsud's spokesman has denied involvement.

Bhutto's murder fuelled anger against Musharraf and manyPakistanis suspected that rogue elements in the intelligenceagencies could have been behind the murder of the two-timeprime minister and opponent of military rule.

Musharraf has denied his or his security agents'involvement in the killing.

Bhutto's party, which now heads a coalition government, hasdemanded a U.N. investigation.

The National Assembly resolution, moved by Naek andunanimously adopted, urged the government to approach theUnited Nations with a view to forming an "internationalinvestigation commission".

Police have arrested at least four Islamist militantssuspected of involvement in Bhutto's killing.

Bhutto's aides have expressed dissatisfaction over theinvestigations conducted by the authorities and there has alsobeen a controversy over the cause of Bhutto's death.

British police, in their February findings, corroboratedPakistani investigators' findings that Bhutto was killed whenthe blast slammed her head against armour plating around theroof hatch in her vehicle, which she had stood through to waveto supporters.

But her aides insist she was shot.

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