Musharraf's Govt failed to protect Bhutto: UN report | world | Hindustan Times
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Musharraf's Govt failed to protect Bhutto: UN report

Pakistani police deliberately failed to properly probe the 2007 murder of ex-premier Benazir Bhutto which could have been averted if there had been adequate security, a UN-appointed independent panel said.

world Updated: Apr 16, 2010 17:01 IST

Pakistani police deliberately failed to properly probe the 2007 murder of ex-premier Benazir Bhutto which could have been averted if there had been adequate security, a UN-appointed independent panel said.

"Ms Bhutto's assassination could have been prevented if adequate security measures had been taken," said the report by a three-member panel headed by Chile's UN ambassador Heraldo Munoz.

The panel said responsibility for Bhutto's security on the day of her assassination rested with "the federal government, the government of Punjab and the Rawalpindi district police."

"None of these entities took the necessary measures to respond to the extraordinary, fresh, urgent security risks that they knew she face," it added.

The panel said it believed that Pakistani police's failure to probe the slaying effectively "was deliberate."

"These officials, in part fearing intelligence agencies' involvement, were unsure of how vigorously they ought to pursue actions, which they knew, as professionals, they should have taken," it added.

The panel said the Pakistani probe "lacked direction, was ineffective and suffered from a lack of commitment to identify and bring all of the perpetrators to justice."

It added it was up to Pakistani authorities to carry out a "serious, credible criminal investigation that determines who conceived, ordered and executed this heinous crime... And brings those responsible to justice."

The Munoz-led panel was tasked with establishing the facts and circumstances of the slaying and was not empowered to identify culprits.

Bhutto, the first woman to become prime minister of a Muslim country, was killed on December 27, 2007 in a gun and suicide attack after addressing an election rally in Rawalpindi, a garrison city near the capital Islamabad.

Bhutto's supporters have cast doubt on an initial Pakistani probe into her death, questioning whether she was killed by a gunshot or the blast and criticising authorities for hosing down the scene of the attack within minutes.

Munoz earlier yesterday turned over the report to UN chief Ban Ki-moon.

Pakistan's UN Ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon, who was to have addressed the press after receiving a copy of the report, cancelled the press encounter and was to take the report back to Islamabad.

The panel unwrapped the long-awaited, sensitive report after complying with Islamabad's request for a two-week delay.