– UN to shut Pakistan offices over Bhutto report (Hindustan Times)
Delay in UN report on Bhutto murder bemuses people in Pakistan
ISLAMABAD, April 1 (Xinhua) — Criticism and confusion seemed to be rising among the Pakistani people as the United Nations investigation report on slain former Pakistani Premier Benazir Bhutto has been halted Tuesday at the request of her husband, President Asif Ali Zardari.
“Common Pakistanis especially workers of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) are much worried and confused over current situation because their party first called for the UN probe but now has requested not to release the report,” said Muhammad Yusuf, a bookshop owner.
“Everyone of us is thinking why Pakistani government asked UN for delay, what they got must be publicized urgently,” Yusuf told Xinhua.
“The UN Commission that investigated the assassination will not reopen its probe in response to the Pakistani government’s request to delay the report for two weeks and its claim that two heads of state may have new information on Wednesday,” UN spokesman Martin Nesirky told media on Wednesday in New York.
“The investigation report is complete and now will be released publicly on April 15,” said Nesirky.
Bhutto was killed on Dec. 27, 2007, by a gunshot followed by a suicide bomb attack, as she was leaving after addressing a public meeting in Rawalpindi, a garrison city adjacent to the capital of Islamabad.
President Zardari, during his first weeks in office in 2008, requested the UN probe about the Bhutto assassination and a UN team started its work in July 2009, after people and government showed dissatisfaction over the findings of Scotland Yard.
The UN fact-finding team, including Chile’s UN ambassador Heraldo Munoz, Marzuki Darusman of Indonesia and Peter Fitzgerald of the Irish National police, conducted an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the assassination.
Officials at the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and the Pakistani government at the time, led by President Pervez Musharraf, blamed Baitullah Mehsud, the chief of Pakistani Taliban who was killed in 2009, for the Bhutto murder.
Bhutto’s party PPP has been hinting that the former government and its allies were involved in the case and demanded a UN probe, claiming it was the only way to explore the truth.
“It is our right to know who killed Bhutto, we paid back our loan to her spilled blood by voting her party into power in the election,” Iqbal Chandio, a die-hard PPP worker from Sindh province, told Xinhua.
“In the return, the least this government can do is to expose the murderers. What is keeping it away from getting to the bottom of the mystery?” he added.
On the day when UN announced delay of report, an investigative book “Who Assassinated Benazir Bhutto?” written by a senior Pakistani journalist came into the book stores across the country.
“I believe that assassination planners had done enough home work and research on Bhutto before chalking out the execution plan, ” Shakeel Anjum, the book author told Xinhua.
“To me, the whole system seemed corrupt and bent up hiding the facts in a case which was full of evidences and leads, but I have tried to present the facts before the nation,” said Anjum.
The book, being sold like hot cakes, was coupled with his discussion with officials of intelligence agencies, police sleuths and those who had carried out investigations, first with the British Scotland Yard and later with the UN panel.
“The book is a comprehensive study of Benazir’s murder where the writer has revealed earth-shaking news pointing towards some powerful people,” Aslam Khan, an analyst commented on the book.
“The author has tried to answer many unanswered questions in the book, if anyone considers deeply the book points out the culprits behind the scene,” he said.
by Jamil Bhatti