04/16/2010, 00.00
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UN Report blames Musharraf in Bhutto assassination

The United Nations investigation criticises the Pakistani government of the time for not providing the former prime minister with adequate protection. The commission that conducted the investigation also slammed the former administration for trying to whitewash the attack that killed Bhutto on 27 December 2007. It did not however identify those who carried out the assassination.
Islamabad (AsiaNews) – The death of former Pakistani Prime Minister  Benazir Bhutto, who was killed in an attack on 27 December 2007 in Rawalpindi, “could have been prevented if adequate security measures had been taken” by General Pervez Musharraf's government, a UN report said.  For the commission that wrote the report on the Bhutto assassination, incredibly “Police records show that only 23 pieces of evidence were collected, in a case where one would normally have expected thousands.”

Led by Chile’s Ambassador to the United Nations Heraldo Muñoz, the UN-appointed commission released, after several delays, its report in New York. It laid the blame squarely on the Musharraf administration, exonerating the current president, Bhutto’s husband, Asif Ali Zardari.

The report found that the pervasive presence of Pakistan's politicised intelligence agencies hampered the investigation. It noted that incredibly the crime scene in Rawalpindi was hosed down immediately after the explosion. This, the report says, could not have happened without the knowledge of higher authorities, who ultimately failed to protect Bhutto and investigate her assassination properly.

For Muñoz, “Responsibility for Ms Bhutto's security on the day of her assassination rested with the federal government, the government of Punjab and the Rawalpindi district police”.

"None of these entities took the necessary measures to respond to the extraordinary fresh and urgent security risks that they knew she faced.”

Better protection, Mr Munoz said, had been given to two other former prime ministers who belonged to the main political party supporting General Musharraf.

The mandate of the three-member panel was limited to looking into the facts and circumstances of Bhutto's death, not assign criminal responsibility.

The report does exonerate Bhutto’s widower, Zardari, who for a long time had been viewed as the main culprit in the case. It does not however identify who actually carried out the attack.

General Musharraf initially blamed the late head of the Pakistani Taliban, Beitullah Mehsud, for organising the assassination.

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