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Updated: July 9, 2010 12:33 IST

U.N. turns down Pakistan’s appeal to reopen probe into Bhutto’s death

PTI
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Former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. File photo
AP Former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. File photo

The inquiry of Commission set up in 2009 to ascertain the facts and circumstances of Bhutto’s death concluded that the death could have been prevented.

The UN has rejected Pakistan’s appeal to reopen its probe into the assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto saying that the work has been “completed”.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi wrote a letter to U.N. Secretary General Ban ki-Moon on June 23, raising objections over several aspects of the report of the UN commission, including the panel’s observations implying a nexus between the Pakistan Army and the Taliban.

“We’re working on the reply,” Farhan Haq, a spokesperson for the UN chief, said in response to a question about Ban’s reaction to the letter written by Mr. Qureshi.

Mr. Haq, however, pointed out that Mr. Ban was of the view that “the work of the Commission is complete.”

54-year-old Bhutto was killed on December 27, 2007 when a suicide bomber exploded himself close to her car in Rawalpindi while she was campaigning for the Pakistan People’s Party candidates in parliamentary and provincial elections.

The inquiry of Commission set up in 2009 to ascertain the facts and circumstances of Bhutto’s death concluded that the death could have been prevented.

The three-member United Nations commission, which was headed by Chile’s former UN ambassador Heraldo Munoz, presented its report on April 15.

The report also slammed the (Pervez) Musharraf government for both failing to protect Bhutto after she returned to Pakistan and not properly probing the circumstances leading to her murder.

It also found that some elements of Pakistan’s spy agency ISI deliberately prevented investigations.

“This pervasive involvement of intelligence agencies in the diverse spheres, which is a open secret, has undermined the rule of law and distorted civil-military relations,” Mr. Munoz said, at the time, noting that the ISI played a pervasive and clandestine role in every aspect of Pakistani society.

Among the positions taken by Bhutto that “touched” the “establishment’s” concerns was “her independent position on the urgent need to improve relations with India, and its implications for the Kashmir dispute, which the military had regarded as its policy domain,” the report said.

In the letter, Mr. Qureshi said the Pakistan government appreciated the work done by the commission as it will provide authorities a basis for a serious and credible criminal investigation against those who planned and executed the assassination.

However, he also conveyed the government’s objections and concerns over certain aspects of the panel’s report.

The Pakistan government has its “reservations on certain observations in the report that imply a nexus between the Taliban and the Pakistan Army”, Mr. Qureshi said.

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