UK Investigators to Assist in the Inquiry of Mrs. Bhutto’s Assassination
After a demand by Bhutto’s party and third countries such as France for an independent investigation on the death of Benazir Bhutto, Perez Musharraf announced in a televised address on the 2nd January 2008, that Scotland Yard responded to its request to participate in the investigation on the ex-prime minister’s assassination.
President Musharraf has been insisting on official allegations linking Al Qaeda to the killing of Mrs. Bhutto while on contrary, her party, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), evoked the implications of high representatives close to the government and information services. In this course of event, a petition (see below) signed by different parties including the World Sindhi Institute has been demanding for a UN investigation, similar to the UN investigation on Rafic Hariri’s death, Lebanon Prime Minister assassinated in 2005. However, due to the restrictive conditions of a UN investigation (including a presumed implication by a third country), this track has been altered for an independent inquiry.
On Wednesday 2 January 2008, President Musharraf announced for the first time that he was calling for a foreign assistance in the investigation to which the
In his address, President Musharraf also announced that the elections set for next week were postponed until 18 February 2008 due to severe damages that had been done to polling stations and voters papers during the unrest following Mrs. Bhutto’s assassination on 27 December 2007. Both Nawaz Sharif’s opposition party and Mrs. Bhutto’s party have announced their participation in the elections which were promised to be free, fair and transparent elections by President Musharraf. The PPP would be led by Bhutto’s son, Bilawal Bhutto and co-presided by her husband, Asif Ali Zardari.
In the meantime, PPP leaders have said that the police were arresting party members all over in Sindh province in the recent days following Mrs.Bhutto’s assassination. There is a risk of increasing tensions as the elections dates approach and if the police continues to arrest PPP members.
Below is the petition requesting for a UN investigation:
Below is an article published by BBC News:
In a televised address, he [President Musharraf] said Prime Minister Gordon Brown had agreed to send a team of detectives from
He said "terrorists" were behind the murder, and described Ms Bhutto's death as a "great tragedy" for the nation.
Elections set for next week [08 January 2008] in
He said "miscreants and political elements" had taken advantage of the situation - "looting, burning and killing".
"Election commission offices, their centres, polling stations and their equipment were all damaged and destroyed. Hence the election commission was facing a big difficulty to hold these elections [on 8 January 2008]," he said.
Mr Musharraf said he was setting up a commission to identify who was responsible for the widespread violence, in which at least 47 people have died. At the same time, the president promised free, fair, transparent and peaceful elections.
He called for reconciliation rather than confrontation in the run-up to the polls, and said troops and paramilitary soldiers would ensure law and order during this time.
The 30-minute speech was Mr Musharraf's first major public address since Ms Bhutto's death.
Mr Musharraf referred to "the pain and anger" of Ms Bhutto's
This is a very significant investigation - all the confusion that has been created in the nation must be resolved
He paid tribute to his political opponent, saying: "I also feel the same sadness and anger - I respect the sentiments of the nation."
He repeated official allegations that al-Qaeda was behind Ms Bhutto's killing, and urged the media to "expose" pro-Taleban militant leaders who, he said, were orchestrating suicide attacks in Pakistan.
He said new evidence was coming to light but that expert advice was needed, and he thanked the British prime minister for accepting his request for assistance.
"This is a very significant investigation. All the confusion that has been created in the nation must be resolved," Mr Musharraf said.
In a statement, it said the officers would travel to
But the BBC's security correspondent Frank Gardner says that privately, British detectives are wondering how much they will be able to achieve in
Our correspondent says there is also the sensitive question of the exhumation of Ms Bhutto's body - something her family has so far opposed.
Unless her body is exhumed and examined by neutral experts it will be impossible to establish what actually killed her, he says.
Speaking shortly after the president's address, Ms Bhutto's widower, Asif Ali Zardari, said
Ms Bhutto's party has been demanding a wider, UN inquiry, and has criticised government efforts as woefully inadequate.
Mr Zardari confirmed the PPP would take part in the re-scheduled elections, saying: "It is the legacy of our leader Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto to participate in elections, no matter what the circumstances."
The BBC's Chris Morris in
The ruling PML-Q party had said the 8 January  vote should be delayed for several weeks, on the grounds that the vote would "lose credibility" if held under current conditions.
The election is seen as a crucial move towards democratic rule under President Musharraf, an important ally in the US-led "war on terror" who stood down as army chief in November .