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Ban announces UN commission to probe Bhutto assasination

world Updated: Feb 05, 2009 14:31 IST

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UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on Wednesday said he intended to set up an international commission to probe the assassination of former Pakistani premier Benazir Bhutto during a meeting with her widower, President Asif Ali Zardari.

Zardari thanked Moon for accepting the Pakistan People's Party-led government's request for a UN probe into Bhutto's assassination, state-run PTV reported.

The international commission is expected to comprise of three members and will have access to Pakistani institutions, officials and documents. The panel will conclude its work as soon as possible, TV channels reported.

Zardari assured Moon that the Pakistan government will fully cooperate with the UN commission.

The modalities for the investigation, its cost and timeframe are expected to be announced later by the Pakistan government and UN. Reports said Pakistan will provide USD 5 million as "seed money" for the commission.

The PPP had demanded a UN probe shortly after Bhutto was assassinated in a gun and bomb attack after addressing an election rally in Rawalpindi in December 2007.

The demand was turned down by the regime of then President Pervez Musharraf, who asked investigators from Britain's Scotland Yard to ascertain the cause of Bhutto's death.

After coming to power in last year's general election, the PPP-led government submitted a formal request to the UN to conduct a probe.

During their meeting in the presidency here, Zardari and Moon discussed regional security, the global economic crisis and the Kashmir issue. Zardari said Pakistan is committed to regional peace and security.

Referring to the Mumbai attacks, Zardari said Pakistani authorities had completed their probe into the terrorist incident and their findings will be shared with India shortly.

Zardari also regretted the abduction of UNHCR official John Solecki in Quetta earlier this week and assured Moon that all-out efforts are being made for his safe and early recovery.