Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said on Tuesday his government was committed to finding the truth behind the assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto and he vowed to punish her killers.
Bhutto, twice Pakistan’s prime minister, was killed in an attack on December 27 shortly after she stood up through the sunroof of her armoured vehicle to wave to supporters as she left an election rally in Rawalpindi.
The government has blamed al-Qaeda for killing Bhutto, a staunch supporter of the United States-led campaign against Islamist militancy, but many Pakistanis suspect her other enemies, perhaps from within shadowy security agencies, were involved.
A controversy has also blown up over how exactly she was killed.
Musharraf, responding to calls to seek outside help with the investigation, last week asked Britain to assist, and a team of British police arrived in Islamabad on Friday.
Musharraf met the Scotland Yard team on Tuesday and said the government was committed to ”unearthing the evidence, finding out the truth and bringing those responsible for this heinous crime to justice”.
”He assured the investigation team of fullest cooperation by all investigation agencies,” the government quoted him as saying.
The British police said they were thoroughly sifting the evidence to ascertain the facts.
Bhutto’s murder fuelled anger against Musharraf and compounded worries about security in a nuclear-armed country seen as vital to international efforts to combat al-Qaeda and bring peace to neighbouring Afghanistan.
A wave of violence that followed her killing led to a six-week postponement of parliamentary elections, originally set for Tuesday, to complete Pakistan’s transition to civilian rule.
The elections, now due on February 18, are to elect members of the lower house of Parliament, from where a new prime minister and government will be drawn to govern in cooperation with Musharraf.
Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party has dismissed the official account of her killing and called for a United Nations investigation.
The Interior Ministry said Bhutto was killed when the force of the blast smashed her head into a lever on her car’s sunroof, fracturing her skull. Her party said she was shot.
Video footage of the attack showed a clean-shaven young man wearing sunglasses firing a pistol at Bhutto as she stood through the sunroof.
Another man photographed in the crowd with a white shawl over his head shortly before the attack was believe to be the suicide bomber, a television station said.
On Sunday, CBS News quoted Musharraf as conceding that Bhutto might have been shot. — Reuters