Force of blast killed Bhutto, not bullet

British police have concluded that Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was killed by the force of a suicide bomb and not by an assassin’s bullet, he New York Times reported in its Friday editions.

The findings, if confirmed, would support the Pakistani government’s explanation of Bhutto’s death.

Scotland Yard, the headquarters of London’s Metropolitan Police, which sent investigators to examine her death, declined to comment on the report. A spokesperson said the police force would not discuss its findings until they were made public.

Bhutto died on December 27 while campaigning in Rawalpindi.

Controversy rages in Pakistan over whether the popular politician was struck down by a bullet or by a concussive injury caused by the bomb, detonated after an assassin shot at her from close range.

President Pervez Musharraf asked Scotland Yard to help in the investigation. A poll conducted by Gallup Pakistan found almost half of all Pakistanis believed government agencies or politicians allied to Musharraf were involved in the killing.

The British police report, which will be presented to the Pakistani government and Bhutto’s family on Friday, said Bhutto died after the suicide blast detonated and she hit her head, the Times said.

It quoted ”officials who have been briefed on the inquiry”, but did not identify which country the officials came from.

The newspaper also said the inquiry determined a single gunman, whose image was captured in photographs at the scene, caused the explosion. Government officials in Pakistan initially said there were two assailants, according to the paper.

Investigators shared the findings with Musharraf’s government on Thursday, the newspaper said.

After the assassination, government officials asserted that Bhutto died after striking her head, but many Pakistanis did not accept that explanation.

The Times said it was unclear how Scotland Yard reached its conclusions. Bhutto was buried without an autopsy and the crime scene was cleaned immediately after the blast, potentially washing away vital clues.

The report comes less than two weeks before Pakistan’s parliamentary elections on Feb. 18, which were delayed by Bhutto’s slaying.

As thousands gathered to mark the end of a 40-day mourning period for Bhutto, Pakistani authorities announced two ”important arrests” in connection with her assassination.

A senior police officer in Rawalpindi identified the suspects as Hasnain and Rifaqat, but gave no other details. Two others, including a 15-year-old who admitted being a backup suicide bomber, were arrested last month. – Reuters

Keep the powerful accountable

Subscribe for R30/mth for the first three months. Cancel anytime.

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Latest stories

Bring Patrice Lumumba home

The return of Patrice Lumumba’s remains must not be an occasion for Belgium to congratulate itself, but for a full accounting of the colonial violence that led to the assassination and coverup

Nedbank features negatively in state capture report; Standard Bank defends...

So far, one of South Africa’s ‘big four’ banks faces a serious allegation levelled in the Zondo report — and more revelations may follow

President puts Mondli Gungubele in charge of State Security Agency

The presidency said the move required input from legal experts but analysts suggests it may in some way have been precipitated by the fire at parliament

Constitutional democratic order under attack: Ramaphosa

The president said slurs against the judiciary, sabotage against institutions and the findings of the Zondo commission showed the need to protect democracy
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×