Page last updated at 23:58 GMT, Friday, 6 June 2008 00:58 UK

Pakistan seeks UN Bhutto inquiry

Benazir Bhutto
The UN is concerned about both the cost and effectiveness of a probe

Pakistan's new government has asked the United Nations to investigate the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in December.

A UN spokeswoman said the request was contained in a letter from Pakistan's Foreign Minister sent to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

The UN has hinted the request would likely be refused because no foreign country is suspected of involvement.

Ms Bhutto was killed during a suicide attack on an election rally.

Her death triggered days of deadly riots across the country.

Disputed findings

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf blamed an al-Qaeda-linked militant for the attack and refused to seek a UN probe.

He later invited police from London's Scotland Yard to assist in the inquiry into her death.

The British detectives in their report said they believed she was killed by a bomb blast.

A coalition led by Ms Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party (PPP) defeated Mr Musharraf's allies in general elections in February.

Ms Bhutto's supporters have cast doubt on the Pakistani investigation into her death.

It concluded that a lone attacker fired shots at Ms Bhutto before detonating explosives, but said that bullets were not the cause of death.

The PPP dismissed the findings.

Pakistani Law Minister Farooq Naik has said Islamabad wants the probe to take the form of an international commission which would "ascertain the truth, point out culprits, financers and perpetrators of this crime".

UN sources also say the cost of such a probe would be prohibitively expensive for uncertain results some six months after the slaying.


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