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Last Updated: Saturday, 12 January 2008, 05:23 GMT
Musharraf rejects UN Bhutto probe
Pervez Musharraf (archive)
Pervez Musharraf denied Pakistan was about to disintegrate
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has ruled out a United Nations inquiry into the assassination of the opposition leader, Benazir Bhutto.

He told the French paper Le Figaro that Pakistan had its own institutions to investigate the killing and that they were being assisted by the UK.

The president said he hoped the results of the investigation would be published before February's parliamentary vote.

Ms Bhutto's son, Bilawal, has repeatedly called for a UN inquiry.

He has said his family and the Pakistan People's Party, of which he is now joint leader with his father, do not believe that a government inquiry into Benazir Bhutto's death has had the "necessary transparency".

'Not possible'

In the interview with Le Figaro on Friday, Mr Musharraf rejected the demands for a UN inquiry, saying Pakistan should not be compared to Lebanon, where the organisation is investigating the murder of the former Prime Minister, Rafik Hariri.

"It is not possible. Is another country involved?" he said. "Pakistan is not Lebanon."

The initial findings of the UN inquiry suggested Syria played a role Mr Hariri's assassination - a claim Damascus has denied.

British police in Rawalpindi (5 January 2008)
British anti-terror police have been assisting Pakistani investigators

Mr Musharraf said Pakistan had its own institutions to investigate the killing of Benazir Bhutto and that they would receive assistance from British police.

He said there was a campaign by al-Qaeda to undermine Pakistan, but denied the country was about to disintegrate and descend into violence.

"They do not have the capacity to destabilise the country, but their suicide attacks create disorder and dishearten the population," he said.

The president said the delayed parliamentary elections scheduled for 18 February would be held "whatever happens".

"We must defeat the terrorist campaign aimed at derailing the economic and democratic process. We must not play their game," he added.

"That is why elections are necessary."

The parliamentary elections were postponed from 8 January following Ms Bhutto's death in a suicide attack in Rawalpindi on 27 December.

More than 50 people were killed in violent unrest sparked by the assassination.

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