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Scotland Yard team to leave for Pak by weekend

world Updated: Jan 03, 2008 13:04 IST
HS Rao

A crack team of British counter-terrorism police will leave for Pakistan by the weekend to assist the probe into the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto which has been marred by controversies and government flip-flops.

The Scotland Yard said it would depute a small team of officers from the Metropolitan Police Service Counter Terrorism Command to Pakistan.

"The officers will travel to Pakistan as soon as possible," a spokesman of Scotland Yard told PTI. He said the Pakistan authorities continue to lead the investigation into Bhutto's death.

Foreign Minister David Miliband said the team would leave for Pakistan by the weekend.

"At the request of President Musharraf, the Prime Minister has agreed to send a UK Police team of technical experts to assist the government of Pakistan in the investigation of the death of Benazir Bhutto," he said in a statement.

In the statement, issued after Pakistan announced the deferment of parliamentary polls, Miliband voiced hope that authorities would use the extra time to ensure the polls are "transparent and fair."

"The UK believes that free and fair elections are vital for the future of Pakistan," he said.

"As the terrible events of last week show only too clearly, Pakistan faces a very serious threat from extremism. The UK is already closely engaged with the Government of Pakistan on counter-terrorism cooperation.

"The prime minister and President Musharraf have agreed to further deepen this aspect of our relationship, and officials will travel to Pakistan to take this forward."