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3 more experts join Bhutto's murder probe

The Scotland Yard beef up its team of investigators probing the assassination of Benazir Bhutto by bringing in three more specialists including an explosives expert.

world Updated: Jan 09, 2008 21:25 IST
Rezaul H Laskar
Rezaul H Laskar

The Scotland Yard on Wednesday beefed up its team of investigators probing the assassination of former Pakistan premier Benazir Bhutto by bringing in three more specialists including an explosives expert.

A five-member team from Metropolitan Police's Counter-Terrorism Command had arrived in Islamabad on January four to investigate the killing of Bhutto in a suicide attack.

Sources said the three investigators who arrived on Wednesday were specialists of the premier British investigating agency. The new detectives included an explosive expert who is expected to shed light on the kind of explosives used in the gun and suicide bomb attack that killed Bhutto at an election rally in Rawalpindi on December 27.

Earlier reports had said only two investigators had arrived this morning. The British team has been conducting its probe amidst tight security and has not interacted with the media here.

Officials of the British High Commission too have been tight-lipped about the investigations by the Scotland Yard team. The team has already collected forensic evidence, reconstructed the crime scene, and recorded statements from witnesses and the medical team that tried to revive Bhutto after the attack in Rawalpindi General Hospital.

The team has inspected Bhutto's bomb-damaged armoured vehicle and body parts of the victims in a mortuary in Rawalpindi. But experts have said the British team faces an uphill task as crucial evidence was destroyed when police washed the scene of the attack hours after a suicide bomber blew himself up near Bhutto's vehicle.

President Pervez Musharraf, who requested British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to send the Scotland Yard team, has urged it to get to the "bottom of the issue" in its investigation.

When the British sleuths called on him yesterday, Musharraf told them "to make all-out efforts to get to the bottom of the issue, for which the government is ready to further provide all kinds of cooperation", presidential spokesman Maj Gen (retired) Rashid Qureshi said. Musharraf also asked the team whether it needed more support from Pakistan's intelligence and security agencies.

"You do your best and we will do our best to know the truth about the death of the Pakistan People's Party leader," Musharraf was quoted as saying by Qureshi. "We want to know how it happened and why it happened," Musharraf said.

Qureshi said the team would receive the needed support from any Pakistani agency, organisation or individual. The PPP has said the Scotland Yard team is operating with its "hands tied" and demanded a UN-led inquiry on the lines of the investigation into the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.