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UN yet to decide on Bhutto death probe

world Updated: Dec 27, 2008 13:51 IST

Seven months after Pakistan made the request, the United Nations is yet to decide about setting up an independent Commission of Inquiry into the circumstances of assassination of its former premier Benazir Bhutto exactly a year ago, but hoped to establish it soon.

In a message on the first death anniversary of Bhutto, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed hope that Commission "could be established soon."

"On this painful anniversary, the Secretary-General stands in solidarity with the Government and the people of Pakistan and assures them of his commitment to contribute to their search for truth and justice," his spokesperson said.

"The Secretary-General is hopeful that with the progression of the discussions the Commission could be established in the near future," she said.

The Pakistan government had sought an independent panel to establish the circumstances leading to her killing as questions were raised about the veracity of the conclusions reached by its own investigating agencies.

The UN has held internal discussions as also talks with Pakistan to decide on the nature and scope of the Commission but, so far had not reached to a conclusion.

In July, Ban had discussed the matter with Pakistani Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmod Qureshi and a broad understanding was reached on such issues as the nature of the Commission, funding modalities, composition, unhindered access to all sources of relevant information and elements to safeguard its objectivity, impartiality and independence.

But Ban indicated then that further consultation with Pakistan and others within the UN was needed to establish details and the Commission's structure, including its scope and mandate.