Central & South Asia
UN and Pakistan agree Bhutto probe
UN says "understanding" reached on investigation into killing of Benazir Bhutto.
Last Modified: 11 Jul 2008 11:16 GMT
Bhutto's killing in December continues to cast a shadow over Pakistan [AFP]

The United Nations has confirmed a tentative agreement on the creation of an international commission to investigate last December's assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the former prime minister of Pakistan.

The announcement follows a meeting on Thursday between Ban Ki-Moon, the UN secretary-general, and Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the foreign minister of Pakistan.

A statement from the UN said a broad understanding had been reached on the nature and composition of the proposed panel, funding modalities and unhindered access to all sources of relevant information, although details have yet to be worked out.

It also said there had been agreement on elements to safeguard "the objectivity, impartiality and independence" of the commission.

Qureshi said he had found general support among members of the UN security council to set up a commission as quickly as possible.

"The broad understanding is going to be that it should be done in the shortest possible time, so that we do not want it sort of a lingering thing, going on for years,'' he said.

Qureshi told reporters Pakistan was ready to provide as much help as possible.

"We have said that we will give unhindered access to sources of relevant information," he said.

Bhutto was killed in a gun and suicide bomb attack on December 27 following an election rally in Rawalpindi, a city near the Pakistani capital, Islamabad.

Her former party, the Pakistan People's Party, now heads the country's governing coalition.

Last month Pakistan's new government officially asked the UN to set up a panel "for the purpose of identifying the culprits, perpetrators, organisers and financiers" behind the Bhutto assassination.

The government has accused tribal warlord Baitullah Mehsud of plotting the attack, although he denies the charge.

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