Musharraf: Exhume Bhutto's body

Pakistan's president wants to end speculation over the cause of his opponent's death.

    TV pictures claim to show a gun being pointed at Benazir Bhutto just before her death [AFP]

    However, he ruled out using his executive power to order a post-mortem examination without the agreement of Bhutto's family.

    "Everything is not black and white here," he said. "It would have very big political ramifications."
     
    "If I just ordered the body exhumed, it would be careless, unless [Bhutto's] people agreed; but they will not ... because they know it's a fact there is nothing wrong."
     
    However Bhutto's family said it would agree to an exhumation only if Musharraf allows the UN to lead the inquiry into her murder, something he has ruled out. No autopsy was ever carried out.
     
    "There cannot be a UN investigation," Musharraf said. "There are not two or three countries involved. Why should there be a UN investigation? This is ridiculous."

    No trust

    Bilawal Bhutto Zardari wants the UN
    involved [AFP]

    Benazir Bhutto's son backed the UN investigation, saying he does not trust officials in Pakistan.
     
    "We do not believe that an investigation under the authority of the Pakistani government has the necessary transparency," Bilawal Bhutto Zardari told reporters in London. "Already so much forensic evidence has been destroyed."
     
    The 19-year-old Oxford University student was chosen to succeed his mother as leader of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), but day-to-day leadership is currently in the hands of his father, Asif Ali Zardari.

    The party wants an international investigation similar to the probe into the killing of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri.
     
    Bilawal criticised the US administration's support of Musharraf as a key ally in its "war on terror".

    He said: "I believe that the problem is that dictatorships feed extremism, and once the United States stops supporting dictators we can successfully tackle the extremist problem as well."


    Bilawal pleaded for privacy as he pursued his studies at Oxford, where he is in his first year.

    Musharraf's pledge

    Meanwhile, Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's president, has said his government is committed to finding the truth behind the assassination of Bhutto and vowed to punish her killers.

    At the beginning of January, Musharraf asked the UK to assist in the investigation of the murder and a team of British police officers was sent to Islamabad.

    Musharraf met the Scotland Yard detectives and said the Pakistan government was committed to "unearthing the evidence, finding out the truth and bringing those responsible for this heinous crime to justice".

    The British police said they were thoroughly sifting the evidence to ascertain the facts.

    At the same time, it was announced that the Pakistani detective who solved the 2002 murder of Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter, had joined the Bhutto killing inquiry.

    A senior Pakistan government official said: "He has joined the investigation and will co-ordinate with the Scotland Yard team."

    SOURCE: Agencies


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