UN Probe Says Bhutto Assassination Could Have Been Prevented
The assassination of Benazir Bhutto, former prime minister and head of the opposition to president Pervez Musharraf killed in 2007 in Rawalpindi during an election rally, “could have been prevented”.
This is the conclusion that emerges from a United Nations investigation opened two years ago on request of the Pakistani government.
The report was presented yesterday evening at UN headquarters in New York by the chairman of the three-member UN investigative commission, the Chilean diplomat Heraldo Munoz.
Based on testimonies and documentation, the central government, regional authorities and local police failed to adopt the necessary security measures to protect the controversial figure, who had reported receiving several death threats.
The report also indicates the inefficiency and ineffectiveness of the Pakistani official probe into the killing. The UN Commission in fact says that police actions and omissions, including the hosing down of the crime scene and failure to collect and preserve evidence, inflicted irreparable damage to the investigation.
“The collection of 23 pieces of evidence was manifestly inadequate in a case that should have resulted in thousands”.
Bhutto was assassinated a few days after her return to Pakistan from the UK and just weeks ahead of the legislative elections, in which her Pakistan People’s Party resulted the main political force of the nation.
The UN investigation was asked by current President Asif Zardari, widow of Bhutto and head of her party.
Musharraf attributed the assassination to Baitallah Mehsud, a Taliban commander of the north-western regions on the border with Afghanistan.