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April 17, 2012

Supreme Court of Pakistan criticizes authorities over Bhutto murder

Supreme Court of Pakistan criticizes authorities over Bhutto murder

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

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Pakistan’s Supreme Court yesterday criticised official handling of the murder of politician Benazir Bhutto.

Benazir Bhutto in 2004.
Image: IFaqeer.

Since her death, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), which she led, has gained control of the nation. A number of high-profile politicians are suspects in the killing but nobody has been convicted. Bhutto’s former protocol minister Chaudhry Aslam petitioned the court to ensure a new First Information Report (FIR) was issued against a number of suspects, allowing them to be investigated.

Cquote1.svg How can a sub-inspector have enough courage to probe someone at the helm of affairs? Cquote2.svg

—Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry

The court approved his request and questioned the PPP’s opposition to a new FIR. It also questioned Aslam’s failure to approach the court earlier. Twelve suspects are named, including ex-President Pervez Musharraf, Interior Minister Rehman Malik, ex-Intelligence Bureau director general Ijaz Shah, former acting Interior Minister Hamid Nawaz and ex-Chief Minister of Punjab Pervaiz Elahi.

The court further asked all suspects to relinquish positions of authority. “How can a sub-inspector have enough courage to probe someone at the helm of affairs?” asked Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, sitting on a bench of three alongside Justice Tariq Parvez and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain. They said a fair investigation could not be carried out as long as suspects were in power.

The court also had questions concerning a report into the murder compiled by the United Nations: “Why did the government not publish the UN Commission report on which Rs60 million of the taxpayers’ money was spent? Why have no steps been taken in the light of the report? Why was the murder of an internationally acclaimed leader not been taken up in the assemblies and relevant parliamentary forums?”

Interior Minister Malik, named on the new FIR, and Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, another PPP minister, had opposed another FIR. Malik had claimed it was needless as other suspects had been charged. The court rejected this, saying the implication was the case should therefore cease to be heard. Malik’s lawyer sought a week to for his client to lodge a reply, to which Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry retorted “You want to create obstacles in the proceedings? How much longer do you want to linger?”, adding Malik should appear in person before the court.

The Benazir Bhutto case is back before the Supreme Court on April 24.



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February 13, 2011

Pakistani court seeks Musharraf\’s arrest over Bhutto murder

Pakistani court seeks Musharraf’s arrest over Bhutto murder

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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Musharraf from his time in power, before the attack

A court in Pakistan has issued an arrest warrant for exiled former President Pervez Musharraf. He is accused of involvement in the 2007 assassination of rival and ex-Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto while in power.

Currently in Dubai and residing in London, UK, Musharraf has been given until February 19 to appear before Rawalpindi’s anti-terror court. If he does not, the court says it will declare him a wanted fugitive and the government has suggested Interpol could be called upon to assist with extradition.

Bhutto served from 1988–1990 and 1993–1996 as Prime Minister. In December 2007 her election motorcade was attacked using guns and a suicide bomb, killing her. Last year two senior policemen were arrested on allegations they provided insufficient protection; prosecutors say the duo claimed they removed security from Bhutto’s motorcade just before it set off from a speaking engagement in Rawalpindi on Musharraf’s orders. The attack came soon after.

Her party, the Pakistan People’s Party, won a majority in the subsequent election and her widower, Asif Ali Zardari, is the current President. In 2008, Musharraf resigned under threat of impeachment. He had seized power from elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in 1999 after a coup from his role as army chief. Growing dissatisfaction over both foreign and domestic policy led to demonstrations until he called the elections.

The ex-President’s lawyer Mohammad Saif refuted the allegations. “This is just a drama. It is all politics,” he said, adding Musharraf was innocent and would not be appearing in court. The former dictator has not commented publically but denied involvement.

Cquote1.svg This is just a drama. It is all politics Cquote2.svg

—Musharraf’s lawyer

He has not been indicted and the court says Musharraf has the chance to defend himself as it conducts preliminary hearings on the claims. His position is that the accusations are a smear campaign led by Zardari. He blamed the Pakistani Taliban for the attack at the time; they deny involvement but lead prosecutor Zulfikar Chaudhry said the Taliban was the source of information showing Musharraf was “completely involved.”

“A joint investigation team, in its report to the court, has found Musharraf guilty of being involved in the conspiracy,” said Chaudhry, who is seeking a murder trial. No extradition treaty exists with Britain, but authorities there do decide on case-by-case requests.

Prosecutors contend he was fully aware of the plot in advance. They claim a questionaire was sent to his London home and multiple attempts were made to get in touch, to no avail. Now, investigators say, no further progress can be made without Musharraf.



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August 26, 2009

Pakistan Taliban say Baitullah Mehsud is dead

Pakistan Taliban say Baitullah Mehsud is dead

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) of Pakistan. South Waziristan is at bottom left.

Baitullah Mehsud, amīr (leader) of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), is dead, said two Taliban leaders in a phone call to the BBC. Mehsud was reportedly killed on August 5, 2009, during a U.S. drone attack on South Waziristan; however, Hakimullah Mehsud, who was recently chosen as Baitullah’s successor, and Wali-ur-Rehman told the BBC that Mehsud had died on Sunday, August 23, 2009 of injuries sustained on August 5.

MQ-9 Reaper drone

Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik delayed giving official confirmation and asked for patience and an announcement by ISPR or other agencies. Major General Athar Abbas, ISPR spokesman, and Robert Gibbs of the White House had said that his death could not be confirmed although U.S. National Security Adviser James L. Jones had claimed that there was “pretty conclusive” evidence that proved Baitullah Mehsud had been killed and that he was 90% sure of it.

Mehsud formed the TTP from an alliance of about five pro-Taliban groups in December 2007, and commanded up to 5,000 fighters. Pakistan blamed him for numerous attacks including the assassination in 2007 of Benazir Bhutto, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan and wife of President Asif Ali Zardari, according to Bloomberg News. The U.S. offered a US$5 million bounty for his capture. According to the BBC, Pakistan had been unable to provide tangible evidence of his death because of the “remote and hostile terrain” of South Waziristan.



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August 8, 2009

Wikinews Shorts: August 8, 2009

Wikinews Shorts: August 8, 2009 – Wikinews, the free news source

Wikinews Shorts: August 8, 2009

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A compilation of brief news reports for Saturday, August 8, 2009.

Leader of Pakistan Taliban may have been killed in drone attack

Pakistani and United States intelligence services believe that the leader of the Taliban in Pakistan may be dead. The home of Baitullah Mehsud’s father-in-law was attacked on Wednesday with missiles fired by CIA operated drones. Taliban sources have confirmed the death of Mehsud’s second wife but initially denied that Mehsud himself has been killed.

Mehsud is the leader of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) a group affiliated with al-Qaeda, his group is reckoned to have up to 20,000 fighters and to be responsible for 80% of the militant violence in Pakistan. The TTP has been blamed for the attack which killed Benazir Bhutto, though the group denies this.

Sources

Hillary Clinton arrives in South Africa

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has arrived in South Africa for the second leg of an eleven day, seven nation tour of Africa. Whilst in South Africa she will meet with current President Jacob Zuma and former President Nelson Mandela. Talks will center around business ties and HIV, although the situation in Zimbabwe will likely also be discussed. Hillary Clinton will hope to rekindle the close co-operation and rapport between the United States and South Africa established by former presidents Bill Clinton, her husband, and Mandela.

Hillary Clinton’s first stop was Kenya where she met with President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed of Somalia’s unity government, pledging both military aid and support. Somalia will receive money, weapons and ammunition in its fight against al-Shabaab, which controls much of the country. Eritrea was also warned that the US would take “action” if it continued to back the Islamic group. Eritrea denies supporting al-Shabaab and described Clinton’s comments as “very disappointing” and said that the United States had “failed to learn mistakes of the previous US administration.”

Sources

Anniversary of Georgian War marked by mutual accusations

The anniversary of the 2008 war between Russia and Georgia over the breakaway territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia has been marked with saber-rattling and accusations. The Russians have accused the Georgians of re-arming for a new conflict and the Georgians have accused the Russians of further territorial ambitions, both sides have accused the other of firing rockets into the territory of the other. However, European Union observers report of no evidence of such attacks.

Both South Ossetia and Abkhazia have been recognised as independent states by Russia and have become increasingly dependent on her.

Sources

Police in the United Kingdom ordered to review policing of demonstrations

Police in the United Kingdom have been ordered by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), the police watchdog in the UK, to review its policing of demonstrations. This follows an investigation by the IPCC that an environmental protestor might have miscarried after being struck by the police.

The unnamed protester was “manhandled” by the police at the climate camp protest held during the G-20 summit earlier this year might and began to suffer from vaginal bleeding so heavy that she feared for her life. Despite this, for five hours she was not allowed out of the police cordon, and said that she felt “completely dehumanised” by her treatment by the police and their reaction to her injuries.

The woman’s physician, examining her the next day, initially feared that she was a victim of domestic abuse and urged her to report her injuries. The IPCC have only been able to publicly comment on this case because the woman did not wish to pursue a prosecution. A senior police officer of the Metropolitan Police Service has offered to meet the woman to apologise.

Sources

Son of missing Japanese actress Noriko Sakai found safe

The son of missing Japanese actress Noriko Sakai has been found safe in the care of friends of the actress in Tokyo. Sakai, age 38, and her son have been missing since August 4, after the arrest of her surfer husband Yuichi Takaso on drug charges. Illegal stimulants were subsequently found at their home, and the actress was asked to voluntarily report to the police. Sakai remains missing. Signals were detected from her mobile phone in Yamanashi on Tuesday.

Noriko Sakai was popular throughout East Asia in the 1990s as a singer and actress.

Sources

Seven coalition troops killed within 24 hour period in Afghanistan

Three British paratroopers of 1st Battalion, The Parachute Regiment have been killed and a fourth remains critically wounded in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. The paratroopers were operating in support of Special Forces when their Jackal armoured vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb on Thursday afternoon.

Today, four United States servicemen fell victim to improvised explosive devices, bringing the number of International Security Assistance Force troops killed in the first week of August to 18.

Sources

Hong Kong government to begin school drug testing trials in December

Following concern that local drug dealers are targeting school children, authorities in Hong Kong have announced plans to introduce tests in the territory’s schools for the use of narcotics. Trials will initially begin in the Tai Po District.

The testing is being described as voluntary, with students being allowed to refuse to be tested. However, the plan has been criticised for creating mistrust between students, teachers and parents.

Sources

Nine killed in Belgium care home fire

Nine retirees have been killed in a fire at a care home in Melle, Belgium. The care home with some 90 residents caught fire when an electrical fault in a fan or television set fire to a mattress on Thursday night. Although confined to a single room, the victims seven women and two men succumbed to smoke inhalation. Four other residents remain hospitalised, one in critical condition.

Sources

India and China resume border talks

India and China have begun the latest round, the 13th in 28 years, of negotiations over their disputed border. The meeting will be co-chaired by Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo and Indian National Security Advisor M. K. Narayanan from August 7 to 8 in India. Mistrust lingers from the 1962 Sino-Indian War with both sides unlikely to offer concessions. The talks seek to form a framework for future negotiations.

Sources

President Kennedy’s sister Eunice Kennedy in critical condition at hospital

John F. Kennedy’s sister, Eunice Kennedy Shriver is in a critical, yet stable, condition at a Massachusetts hospital according to a family spokeswoman. She was born July 10, 1921 in Brookline, Massachusetts and is currently aged 88.

According to recent reports, she has been in hospital for about one week. Her family has been flown in to be beside her. Shriver is also known for founding the Special Olympics in the 1960s, an organization that helps aspiring athletes with an intellectual disability develop self-confidence, social skills and a sense of personal accomplishment.

Her spokeswoman, Robin Lord, declined to give any further details on her condition. “The family is grateful for the prayers of her many friends,” Lord said.

Her advocacy was largely influenced by the challenges faced by her older sister, Rosemary Kennedy, who was mentally impaired.

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September 10, 2008

Asif Ali Zardari sworn in as President of Pakistan

Asif Ali Zardari sworn in as President of Pakistan

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Pakistan
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  • 18 December 2014: Nation mourns, world condemns Taliban attack on Pakistan army school
  • 14 August 2014: Indian Prime Minister accuses Pakistan of waging proxy war
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Asif Ali Zardari has been sworn in as the President of Pakistan. The 53-year-old Zardari took oath from Chief Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar in Islamabad on Tuesday.

He took the oath as the twelfth President of Pakistan. On Sept. 6, Zardari, secured 479 votes from the total number of 702 votes of the electoral college consisting of two houses of the parliament and four provincial assemblies.

Saeeduz Zaman Siddiqui, who was fielded by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Group, received 153 votes while Senator Mushahid Hussain, a candidate from the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid-e-Azam Group, got 43 votes.

Zardari is the widower of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated Dec. 27, 2007. The election was called after former President Pervez Musharraf resigned last month.



Related news

  • “Asif Ali Zardari elected as President of Pakistan” — Wikinews, September 6, 2008
  • “Pakistan’s President Musharraf resigns; new elections to be held” — Wikinews, August 23, 2008
  • “Benazir Bhutto killed in suicide attack” — Wikinews, December 27, 2007

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August 28, 2008

Pakistan\’s governing coalition breaks apart

Pakistan’s governing coalition breaks apart

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

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The governing coalition of Pakistan split on Monday after Nawaz Sharif, former Pakistani Prime Minister, pulled his party, the Pakistan Muslim League (N) (PML-N), out of the government.

Nawaz Sharif, leader of Pakistan Muslim League (N).

The coalition formed in March 2008 after the Pakistani general election failed to produce a party that had held a majority in Pakistan’s parliament. The group consisted of the PML-N and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). The coalition controlled 50.2 percent of Pakistan’s National Assembly and together held 15 of 100 seats in Pakistan’s Senate.

The PPP and the PML-N disagree on two main issues: the reinstatement of judges fired by former President Pervez Musharraf and a nominee for President of Pakistan in the Pakistani presidential election on September 6, 2008. Musharraf resigned last week. Muhammad Mian Soomro, as chairman of the Senate, became the interim President.

The PPP opposes the restoration of judges, who they believe would invalidate the ruling which allowed PPP party leader Asif Zardari and his late wife Benazir Bhutto to return to the country. If the amnesty were to be nullified, Zardari could be indicted on corruption charges stemming from incidents as far back as 1990. Zardari was also accused of corruption in the United Kingdom but the case was dropped in March.

For the presidential election, the PML-N nominated former Supreme Court chief justice, Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui, while the PPP nominated Zardari. Other people who have filed paperwork to stand in the elections are: Sakhawat Ali, Advocate Shakil Ahmed, Dr Mian Ehsan Bari, Ameer Ali Patti Walla and Mirza Asif Baig.



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Wikipedia Learn more about National Assembly of Pakistan, Senate of Pakistan and Asif Ali Zardari on Wikipedia.
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August 8, 2008

Pakistan civilian government unites in a coalition to impeach President Pervez Musharraf

Pakistan civilian government unites in a coalition to impeach President Pervez Musharraf

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Friday, August 8, 2008

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The two dominant parties of Pakistan’s National Assembly have united in a coalition to impeach President Pervez Musharraf. The decision was announced by party leaders Asif Ali Zardari, widower of former premier Benazir Bhutto, and Nawaz Sharif, with the parties aiming for a successful no-confidence vote against President Musharraf. The impeachment process is planned to start within the following week.

Pervez Musharraf has ruled Pakistan since 1999
Image: Helene C. Stikkel.

There have been concerns that an attempt at impeachment would result in a detrimental political battle in a country already facing political instability. A senior member of a party allied with Musharraf stated that the impeachment would “open a Pandora’s box” regarding Pakistan’s future.

Once the impeachment process begins, the coalition will need to muster a required two-thirds majority in order to successfully impeach Musharraf. Musharraf has little support in the National Assembly, as most of his political allies were defeated in the February elections. If the coalition is successful, Musharraf will be the first president in Pakistan’s sixty-one year history to have been impeached.

Musharraf has canceled his trip to the Beijing Olympics so that he can focus on planning a response to the coalition. Successfully defeating the impeachment will depend largely on the support of the military, for which he acted as chief until international pressure forced him to step down a year ago. Other options Musharraf may explore include declaring a state of emergency, which could aid him in getting the support of the military, or dissolving parliament, though this would likely lead to political chaos.



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March 19, 2008

Pakistan\’s parliament elects first female speaker

Pakistan’s parliament elects first female speaker

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

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The National Assembly of Pakistan has elected Fahmida Mirza of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) as its first female speaker, weeks after the general elections which ousted President Pervez Musharraf’s party and gave the PPP the most seats in Parliament.

Mirza, a former medical doctor who has previously served three terms in the National Assembly, was the joint candidate of the PPP, the Pakistan Muslim League (N) (PML-N), the Awami National Party (ANP), and other allied parties.

She received 249 votes out of the 324 who were present. Her main rival candidate, Israr Tareen from the former ruling party Pakistan Muslim League (Q) (PML-Q), received only 70 votes.

The result was announced by Chaudhry Amir Hussain, the outgoing speaker. “Fahmida Mirza is declared to have been elected speaker of the National Assembly,” he said, as other Parliament members pounded their desks in approval.

“This is my third tenure in the National Assembly and I believe it is time that we all work together to address the challenges facing the country,” Mirza told reporters. “I am sure we will be able to face these challenges with the support of parliamentarians, our people and Pakistani media.”

Shah Mahmood Qureshi, a central PPP leader, said, “The election of Fahmida Mirza as speaker will be a big step towards the empowerment of women in Pakistan.”

Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, parliamentary leader of the pro-Musharraf PML-Q, told Mirza, “This is a big test and I hope that with the honour that Allah has bestowed upon you, you will be able to live up to expectations.”

Later, in elections for the deputy speaker, PPP candidate Faisal Kundi defeated Khush Bakhat Shujaat of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, which is allied with the PML-Q.

The coalition government headed by the PPP has yet to name a Prime Minister, but they are expected to announce their nomination in the next few days. Party insiders say the prime minister, who will be named by Benazir Bhutto’s son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, will only hold office for a few months until Bilawal’s father, Asif Ali Zardari, becomes eligible for the post.



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February 18, 2008

Pakistan votes for new parliament

Pakistan votes for new parliament – Wikinews, the free news source

Pakistan votes for new parliament

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Monday, February 18, 2008

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In a delayed poll the Pakistani vote for a new parliament today. The election was originally scheduled for January 8, but the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in Rawalpindi on December 27, 2007 forced a delay.

The elections had a slow start at 8 a.m. (0300 GMT), as fears of violence kept many voters away. To enforce security, the Pakistani police is backed up by some 80,000 troops. BBC’s Chris Morris says 80 million people are eligible to vote, but many are expected to stay at home, largely because of fears about security. Authorities reported at least five explosions that had taken place on election day, all but one of which occurred near a polling place.

The two most important opposition parties, the Pakistan People’s Party and the Pakistan Muslim League say that allies of current president Pervez Musharraf plan a massive fraud on the election. “Whether he will be able to do the Election Day rigging or not remains to be seen,” said Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, director of the Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency. “But the signs are that the government is positioning itself to manipulate the elections.” The authorities have repeatedly claimed that the elections will be free and fair, although President Musharraf has warned against street protests.

If the opposition parties gain a two-thirds majority in Parliament, they could then take steps to impeach the President. This possibility of impeachment has led some political analysts, like Talat Masood, to describe the election as “a referendum for or against [Musharraf].”

“I think we have reached the breaking point where if we don’t band together, we will lose this great nation which we call Pakistan,” says Ms Bhutto’s widower and successor as party leader, Asif Ali Zardari.

 
This story has updates
 
See Pakistan peoples party winning elections for Pakistan’s national assembly according to early results
 



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February 9, 2008

Scotland Yard says suicide bomb blast killed Bhutto, not bullet

Scotland Yard says suicide bomb blast killed Bhutto, not bullet

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Saturday, February 9, 2008

Benazir Bhutto in 2004
Image: Wikipedia user IFaqeer.

British investigators from Scotland Yard have concluded that former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was killed as the result of a suicide bomb blast and not an assassin’s bullet. The results of the investigation were handed over to Pakistani government officials in Islamabad.

The findings by Scotland Yard support the Pakistani government’s version of how Ms. Bhutto was assassinated after leaving a political rally last December in Rawalpindi. Immediately before she was attacked, Ms. Bhutto was waving to supporters from the roof of her armoured car.

The Scotland Yard detectives concluded that Ms. Bhutto died when the force of a suicide bomb blast rammed her head into the roof of the car. The head of Pakistan’s team investigating the assassination, Abdul Majeed, read the findings of the British pathologist who assisted with the investigation.

“The blast caused a violent collision between her head and the escape hatch area of the vehicle causing a severe and fatal head injury,” Majeed said.

Television footage of the attack shows a single gunman firing shots toward Ms. Bhutto seconds before the explosion. Investigators determined the person firing the gun was also the suicide bomber.

“All the evidence indicates that one suspect has fired the shot before detonating an improvised explosive device,” Majeed said. “At the time of the attack this person was standing close to the rear of Mrs. Bhutto’s vehicle.”

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf invited Scotland Yard to investigate the cause of Ms. Bhutto’s death after some of her supporters charged that the government could be involved in the attack and was covering up circumstances of her assassination.

Officials of Ms. Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party maintain she was shot during the attack. Even after the results of the Scotland Yard investigation were released, party spokeswoman Sherry Rehman insists that an assassin’s bullet hit the former prime minister.

“We clearly saw even on footage that she recoiled from a bullet and she fell inside,” Rehman said. “The issue really is that this gives us all the more reason to ask for a larger U.N. investigation into what led up to the events of December 27 and to what is behind the hand that pulled the trigger and to who are the financiers, sponsors, organizers and perpetrators of this crime.”

The Scotland Yard report notes that despite the lack of a detailed search of the crime scene or an autopsy of Ms. Bhutto’s body, sufficient evidence is available for investigators to draw what they are calling reliable conclusions.

Detectives relied on X-rays of Ms. Bhutto’s head and a detailed examination of video footage of the attack. The British team only investigated how Ms. Bhutto was killed, not who was behind it.

The Pakistani government says an al-Qaida-linked militant chief based on the border with Afghanistan is responsible for her killing.

At least four people have been arrested in connection with the case, including a 15-year-old boy who told police he was among a five-man suicide squad charged with assassinating the opposition leader.

Ms. Bhutto’s death led to widespread rioting and protests and forced a delay of nationwide elections currently scheduled for later this month.



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