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'Musharraf's admission reinforces need for UN probe'

world Updated: Jan 06, 2008 23:08 IST

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's admission that former premier Benazir Bhutto might have been killed by a gunman has reinforced the need for an independent UN-led investigation into her assassination, her party said on Sunday.

The Interior Ministry had earlier said Bhutto died of a skull fracture sustained during a suicide attack in Rawalpindi on December 27. But Musharraf admitted during an interview to the US television network CBS that the Pakistan People's Party chief might have been shot.

Reacting to Musharraf's comments, PPP spokesman Farhatullah Babar told PTI, "The government has been constantly changing its stand and that has given rise to doubts and suspicions.

"This also reinforces our demand for an independent United Nations-led inquiry into Mohtarma Bhutto's assassination on the lines of the probe into the murder of Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri."

The Pakistan government has already ruled out any probe by the UN into Bhutto's killing. Asked about reports that Bhutto's body might be exhumed to conduct an autopsy in the wake of Britain's Scotland Yard joining the probe, Babar said this was only a "hypothetical issue" as the PPP "has not been approached by any one" with such a request.

"If such a request is made, Mohtarma Bhutto's family and the party will make an appropriate decision at that time," he said. "The family will have the first right to decide as this is a sensitive matter."

No autopsy was performed on Bhutto's body at Rawalpindi General Hospital, where she was taken after the suicide attack, at the request of her husband Asif Ali Zardari. He said he had not allowed an autopsy as he did not trust the doctors.

The government has offered to exhume the body to perform a post-mortem examination in the wake of various allegations and speculation about the exact cause of Bhutto's death.

The PPP has also expressed apprehensions about Musharraf's reported comments that the Scotland Yard team would not be allowed to question certain politicians and an intelligence chief whom Bhutto had accused of plotting to kill her.