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UN to contact Musharraf in Bhutto probe: Pak

world Updated: Aug 05, 2009 18:42 IST

Pakistan said on Wednesday that the UN commission probing the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto intended to contact ex-president Pervez Musharraf.

The commission, which began its first working visit to Islamabad in July, is headed by Chilean ambassador to the United Nations Heraldo Munoz and includes an Indonesian ex-attorney general and an Irish former police official.

"We have got signals that the commission intends to contact General Musharraf directly," foreign ministry spokesman Abdul Basit told reporters in the port city of Karachi.

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

Musharraf, who was in power at the time of Bhutto's death, was replaced last year as Pakistan's president by Asif Ali Zardari, Bhutto's widower.

The government called for a UN inquiry after Bhutto's party won a general election in February 2008 with her supporters angered by conflicting accounts of how she died and who was responsible.

Munoz has made it clear that the commission's mandate was limited to fact-finding and it did not include a criminal investigation.

London's Scotland Yard also conducted an inquiry into the assassination in January last year and ruled that Bhutto died from the force of a suicide bomb and not gunfire.

The commission will submit a report to UN chief Ban Ki-moon at the end of the year, which will be shared with the Pakistani government and the UN Security Council.