Pak govt forms new team to probe Bhutto's assassination
More than a year and half after she was assassinated, Pakistan government on Monday set up a fresh probe into the killing of former premier Benazir Bhutto.world Updated: Aug 24, 2009 17:59 IST
More than a year and half after she was assassinated, Pakistan government on Monday set up a fresh probe into the killing of former premier Benazir Bhutto.
The new probe team would comprise of law enforcement and intelligence officials and headed by the director of the Special Investigation Group of the Federal Investigation Agency, a unit that is also probing last year's Mumbai attacks.
The move comes in the wake of a decision by an anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi to defer the hearing of a case related to her killing, following a request from the government.
The setting up of the new probe comes as the United Nations has formed an inquiry commission to determine the facts and circumstances of Bhutto's killing.
Members of the commission, which will submits its report by the end of this year, are currently in Pakistan to conduct inquiries. However, the UN has made it clear that its team would not have the mandate of an official probe.
Police and other law enforcement agencies, including the FIA, according to the Dawn newspaper, had completed their investigation of the case and submitted a chargesheet to the anti-terrorism court.
Five people charged with involvement in the assassination were being tried by the court in the high-security Adiala Jail.
The new investigators will be assisted by two other teams -– one comprising officials of the FIA, Sindh Police and the Intelligence Bureau, and the second one comprising police and intelligence officials from Punjab and North West Frontier Province.
The joint investigation team will have powers to bring in any official from other departments to assist it. The team is likely to start its reinvestigation this week, the Dawn newspaper reported on Monday.
Though police had completed its probe of the case and submitted a chargesheet to the court, the FIA had been striving to get permission for reinvestigating the case. The federal government too sought opinion from the law and justice division for reinvestigating the case through the FIA.
After the hearing of the case was deferred by the court, the record of the case was handed over to FIA officials. Bhutto's bulletproof vehicle and her shoes, which were seized by police as case property, will be given to the FIA team.
A pistol believed to be the one used by the terrorist to target Bhutto and spent shells recovered from the scene of the killing are also with police.
The two-time former premier was killed in a gun and bomb attack shortly after she had addressed an election rally in Rawalpindi in December 2007. Former President Pervez Musharraf had blamed Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud for masterminding the assassination.