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UN to probe Benazir assassination

world Updated: Jul 12, 2008 00:00 IST
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Pakistani Foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi reached a tentative deal with UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Thursday on setting up an independent panel to probe the slaying of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, the world body said.

A UN statement said broad understanding was reached on the nature and composition of the proposed panel, funding modalities, unhindered access to all sources of relevant information and elements to safeguard “the objectivity, impartiality and independence” of the commission.

It said Ban told Qureshi during their meeting here that “further consultation with Pakistan and others within the organisation would be required to examine the modalities and structure” of the panel.

Last month Pakistan’s new government officially asked the world body to set up an international panel “for the purpose of identifying the culprits, perpetrators, organisers and financiers” behind the Bhutto assassination last December.

Bhutto was killed in a gun and suicide bomb attack on December 27 in Rawalpindi, a garrison city near the capital Islamabad.

The Pakistani government accused tribal warlord Baitullah Mehsud of plotting the attack, though he denies the charge.

Qureshi meanwhile told reporters that during his UN visit this week, he also called on envoys of the Security Council’s five veto-wielding permanent members: Britain, China, France, Russia and the US.

He was to head for Washington Friday for talks with his US counterpart Condoleezza Rice, other top administration officials and members of Congress.