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Page last updated at 19:57 GMT, Tuesday, 30 March 2010 20:57 UK

UN report on death of Benazir Bhutto delayed

Former Pakistani President Benazir Bhutto on the day she was assassinated, 27 December, 2007
Benazir Bhutto was assassinated leaving a party rally in December 2007

A United Nations report into the assassination of Benazir Bhutto has been delayed at Pakistan's request.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon accepted a postponement until 15 April hours before its scheduled release.

Pakistan's former prime minister was killed in a gun and suicide bomb attack during an election campaign as she left a rally in Rawalpindi in December 2007.

The country's information minister said the delay was requested so two former heads of state could give their input.

Qamar Zaman Kaira said the two unnamed officials had warned Mrs Bhutto her life might be in danger and "could be helpful to the commission in finding who was behind her assassination".

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A UN spokesman, Martin Nesirky, confirmed the report had been finished and that neither the UN secretary general nor the Pakistani government had seen it.

The report, withheld at the request of Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari - Mrs Bhutto's widower - follows a nine-month inquiry into the facts and circumstances of the killing.

Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf
Ex-President Pervez Musharraf had refused to seek a UN probe

The three-person inquiry team was led by Chile's ambassador to the UN, Heraldo Munoz.

It also includes Marzuki Darusman, the former Indonesian attorney-general, and Peter Fitzgerald, who led an early inquiry into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

The panel was set up following a request from Pakistan's coalition government, led by Mrs Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party.

The previous government, led by allies of former President Pervez Musharraf, had blamed Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud for the assassination. He was killed in a US drone strike last August.

The trials of several Islamist militants charged in connection with the assassination are ongoing.

Mrs Bhutto was the first woman to become prime minister of a Muslim country. No post-mortem examination was held following her death.

Before the delay was announced, a UN spokeswoman in Islamabad was quoted by AFP news agency as saying that all of the organisation's offices in the country would close for three days from Wednesday "to avoid any unwanted situation" related to the report's publication.

It was unclear whether any closure would now go ahead.



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Q&A: Benazir Bhutto inquiry
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Obituary: Benazir Bhutto
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