The UN has said it will extend by three months the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry into the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.
“Because of the substantial amount of information collected by the Commission in Pakistan and further follow up work that remains, the Commissioners requested additional time to complete their report,” UN Chief Ban Ki-moon’s spokesperson Martin Nesirky said.
He (Ban) has also informed both the Pakistani government and the Security Council of the same, the spokesperson said.
The mandate of the Commission expired on December 31, 2009.
Mr. Ban confirmed last month that he had received a request from the chairman of the Commission, Ambassador Heraldo Munoz, to extend the mandate for another three months.
“They need more time to continue their investigation. I think this is reasonable. And I am positively considering extending it for another three months,” the UN Secretary General had said.
In November, the Commission met with former President Pervez Musharraf. “The Commission of Inquiry says that it had a frank, open and cordial conversation with former Pakistan President Musharraf, having been able to pose to him many queries on issues central to its mandate,” the Secretary General’s office had said.
Ms. Bhutto was killed on December 27, 2007, in a gun-and-suicide-bomb attack as she was leaving an election rally in the garrison town of Rawalpindi.
Investigations carried out by then President Musharraf’s government blamed Baitullah Mehsud, a Pakistani Taliban commander who was killed in August, 2009.
Britain’s Scotland Yard was called in to find whether Ms. Bhutto, the leader of Pakistan Peoples Party, died from the blast or the gunfire. Her party rejected the findings that she was killed from the blast and died having hit the sunroof.
Ms. Bhutto’s supporters, not satisfied by Pakistani investigations, have alleged that Musharraf and his allies were involved in the murder.
When her husband Asif Ali Zardari became president, he asked the UN to carry out an independent investigation.
The Commission, which started its work on July 1, 2009 to perform “fact finding activities in Pakistan and abroad” was criticised for having a limited mandate. It was to have submitted its report on December 31, 2009.