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Scotland Yard joins Bhutto murder probe

The team arrives a day after President Pervez Musharraf says he was "not fully satisfied" with the investigation done so far.
PTI | By Rezaul H Laskar, Islamabad
UPDATED ON JAN 05, 2008 04:44 AM IST

A team from Britain's Scotland Yard arrived in Islamabad on Friday to help Pakistani authorities probe the assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto, a day after President Pervez Musharraf said he was "not fully satisfied" with the investigation done so far.

The small team from the Metropolitan Police's Counter-Terrorism Command will meet officials from Pakistan's Interior Ministry to discuss modalities of the probe and to be briefed on the investigation conducted so far.

The Interior Ministry has also asked the Special Investigation Group, the anti-terror wing of the Federal Investigation Agency that is helping in the probe into Bhutto's killing in Rawalpindi on December 27, to extend assistance to the British team.

This is the third time that British police expertise has been sought by Pakistan to investigate a high-profile political assassination in the country. But in the two earlier instances, the British teams were asked to leave Pakistan before their completed their probe.

The first inquiry was conducted in the aftermath of the 1951 assassination of Pakistan's first prime minister Liaquat Ali Khan, who was incidentally shot at the same site as Bhutto. The British team was asked to leave Pakistan before its inquiries were complete and the case was closed.

A second British police team was sent to Karachi in 1996 to investigate the murder of Bhutto's estranged younger brother and political rival, Murtaza.

Bhutto was then the prime minister and her administration enlisted the services of Scotland Yard detectives and Home Office forensic experts.

Within six weeks of the killing, Bhutto's government was sacked for alleged corruption. The Scotland Yard team was then ordered to leave Pakistan with its investigation incomplete.

During an interaction with the international media on Thursday, Musharraf said he was "not fully satisfied" with the investigation so far.

He said the police should not have washed the site where Bhutto was attacked as this would have destroyed evidence but noted that this was done due to "inefficiency" and not "by design".

He also indicated that the Interior Ministry should not have issued any definite statement about the cause of Bhutto's death. Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party (PPP) has dismissed the government's contention that she died of a skull fracture during the suicide attack as "lies" and her close aides have said she was shot in the head.

Musharraf also said he had decided to seek Scotland Yard's help to make up for shortcomings in Pakistan's forensic and technical expertise to analyse new evidence of the assassination, including photos and video footage, which has emerged.

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