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UN will not reopen Benazir assassination probe

world Updated: Jul 09, 2010 08:56 IST

PTI
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The United Nations has rejected reopening of the independent probe into the assassination of former Pakistan premier Benazir Bhutto as the the work is "complete", but UN chief Ban ki-Moon will respond to objections raised by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

"We're working on the reply," Farhan Haq, Associate Spokesperson for the UN secretary general, told reporters, in response to a question about Ban's reaction to the letter written by Qureshi.

Haq, however, pointed out that Moon was of the view that "the work of the Commission is complete."

Bhutto was killed on December 27, 2007 when a suicide bomber exploded himself close to her car in Rawalpindi while campaigning for the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) in parliamentary and provincial elections.

The inquiry of Commission set up in 2009 to ascertain the facts and circumstances of Bhutto's death concluded that the death could have been prevented.

The three-member United Nations commission, which was headed by Chile's former UN ambassador Heraldo Munoz, presented its report on April 15.

The report also slammed the Musharraf government for both failing to protect Bhutto after she returned to Pakistan and later investigating her death instead rushing to blame Pakistan Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud.

It also found that presence of Pakistan's intelligence agency ISI deliberately prevented investigations into the death of Bhutto and may have been behind decisions like preventing an autopsy and hosing down the crime scene.

"This pervasive involvement of intelligence agencies in the diverse spheres, which is a open secret, has undermined the rule of law and distorted civil-military relations," Munoz said, at the time, noting that the ISI played a pervasive and clandestine role in every aspect of Pakistani society.

Among the positions taken by Bhutto that "touched" the "establishment's" concerns was "her independent position on the urgent need to improve relations with India, and its implications for the Kashmir dispute, which the military had regarded as its policy domain," the report said.

In a letter addressed to UN Secretary General on June 23, Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi took objection to the repeated but unevidenced finger-pointing at the role of Pakistani security agencies and establishment.

The letter was made public by the UN on Thursday.

"Comments and observations about the Pakistan Army, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) or the so-called Establishment, are only the opinions of the members of the Commission," the letter said.

"They do not represent authenticated determinations based on any fact or evidence, and the same shall neither form a precedent nor a basis to lend credence to a political position in this regard, in the practice of States and/or that of international organisations," it added.