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Homeland Security

6-member UN team arrives to probe Benazir's murder

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad,April 7,IRNA -- A 6-member UN team of technical experts arrived in Islamabad on Tuesday to investigate the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, officials said.

Benazir Bhutto was killed on December 27, 2007, in firing and suicide bomb attack in the city of Rawalpindi shortly after she addressed a huge election rally.

President Asif Ali Zardari, spouse of Benazir, has resisted calls to conduct Pakistani investigation, saying the independent UN commission will establish the facts and circumstances of Bhutto's death.

The UN investigation team in its three-day stay in Pakistan would hold meetings with high officials in the Interior Ministry, the Foreign Office and the Law and Justice Ministry before formally launching the investigation.

They will also visit the site where Benazir Bhutto was assassinated, officials said.

The team would submit its Assessment Report to the Commission on April 10 after its return to New York.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon announced the establishment of the fact-finding commission on February 4 during a visit to Pakistan. The Ambassador of Chile, Heraldo Munoz, was appointed chairman of the commission.

The team will establish infrastructure in Pakistan for the fact-finding mission to begin its investigation into the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, sources said.

A United Nation team arrived in Pakistan for preparatory work, as the world body prepares to send a fact finding mission to launch a full probe into the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

The UN is in the process of recruiting officials to work in the team and to create offices in Pakistan for work related to the commission.

The technical team headed by a top UN official from Africa, Mark Quarterman, was scheduled to go to Pakistan in the second week of March but was forced to delay the visit due to the uncertain political situation in the country, sources said.

Pakistan has already given the world body USD 1.5 million for setting up the commission. The UN technical team is in the process of working out a budget and details of the commission's work.

The initial investigation by Pakistani authorities into the attack blamed Baitullah Mehsud, chief of Pakistani Taliban.

US intelligence officials too named him as the most likely suspect. Bhutto's supporters have rejected those findings, suggesting that her political opponents may have been involved and tampered with the investigation. British investigators from the Scotland Yard largely confirmed the initial findings though they admitted their access to evidence was limited.

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