Benazir may have been killed for seeking better Indo-Pak ties | world | Hindustan Times
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Benazir may have been killed for seeking better Indo-Pak ties

A possible link between Benazir Bhutto's "independent" position on improved relations with India with its implications for the Kashmir dispute, and her assassination has been drawn by a UN investigation made public today.

world Updated: Apr 16, 2010 21:45 IST

A possible link between Benazir Bhutto's "independent" position on improved relations with India with its implications for the Kashmir dispute, and her assassination has been drawn by a UN investigation made public on Friday.

The brutal killing of the 54-year-old Bhutto in a gun and suicide attack outside a park in Rawalpindi in December 2007 could have been "prevented" but the then military ruler Pervez Musharraf's government had failed to protect her despite serious threats, according to the report.

The 65-page report by a three-member independent panel headed by Chile's UN ambassador Heraldo Munoz was handed over to the
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. The investigation was undertaken at the behest of the Pakistan government.

Unable to pinpoint who killed Bhutto, the panel said her assassination was "shrouded in mystery" and recommended the setting up of a "truth commission" to find who murdered Pakistan's first woman Prime Minister.

Such a Commission should follow "all leads and reasonable hypothesis, including Al Qaeda, Taliban and members of the so-called "establishment" consisting of elements of military commanders, ISI, allied political parties and business partners, it said.

The damning report underlines that Bhutto faced threats from several sources, including Al-Qaeda, Pakistani Taliban, other Jihadist groups and "establishment".

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."

Another source of concern to the "establishment" was Benazir's "alleged willingness to compromise Pakistan's nuclear programme and allow greater Western access to it."

Many sources interviewed by the Commission "believe that the establishment was threatened by the possibility of Ms Bhutto's return to the public office and that it was involved in or bears some responsibility for her assassination," the report said.

This analysis, it said, is based on "years of observation and knowledge of how the establishment works, although they do not offer any specific evidence with regard to the Bhutto assassination."