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Independent probe into Bhutto assassination may be set up soon, Ban says

26 December 2008 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today he hoped an independent Commission of Inquiry into the circumstance of the killing of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated one year ago, could be established soon.

In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban said his office had consulted the Pakistani Government on the nature and scope of the Commission which the South Asian country has asked him to establish to identify those responsible for the assassination and to bring them to justice.

“On this painful anniversary, the Secretary-General stands in solidarity with the Government and the people of Pakistan and assures them of his commitment to contribute to their search for truth and justice,” the statement added, noting that the Secretariat has also consulted members of the UN Security Council about the Commission.

“The Secretary-General is hopeful that, with the progression of the discussions, the Commission could be established in the near future,” it concluded.

In July, Mr. Ban discussed the matter with Pakistani Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmod Qureshi and a broad understanding was reached on such issues as the nature of the Commission, funding modalities, composition, unhindered access to all sources of relevant information, and elements to safeguard its objectivity, impartiality and independence.

But Mr. Ban indicated then that further consultation with Pakistan and others within the UN was needed to examine other modalities and the Commission’s structure, including the scope and mandate.



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