UN REPORT – BENAZIR and THE ARMY

April 16, 2010

CLICK HERE FOR THE REPORT IN PDF

WASHINGTON — Pakistan’s former military regime failed to protect ex-Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto despite knowing of numerous threats against her shortly before her assassination in December 2007, and then “severely hampered” the official investigation, a U.N. report said Thursday.

“Ms. Bhutto’s assassination could have been prevented if adequate security measures had been taken,” concluded the 65-page report by a three-member U.N. commission headed by Heraldo Munoz, the Chilean ambassador to the United Nations. The commission was launched at the Pakistani government’s request.

The findings were a devastating indictment of the ousted dictatorship of Gen. Pervez Musharraf as well as of Pakistan’s most powerful spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, the police of Punjab Province and the military headquarters city of Rawalpindi, where Bhutto was killed by a teenage suicide bomber on Dec. 27, 2007.

The report cast doubt on the official Pakistani finding that the killing was ordered by Baitullah Mehsud, the late leader of the Pakistani Taliban, a coalition of extremists allied with their Afghan compatriots and al-Qaida.

“It remains the responsibility of the Pakistani authorities to carry out a serious, credible criminal investigation that determines who conceived, ordered and executed this heinous crime of historic proportions, and brings those responsible to justice,” the U.N. report said.

The U.S. intelligence community also blamed Bhutto’s death on Mehsud, who was conducting a bloody campaign of suicide bombings and attacks aimed at replacing Pakistan’s secular system of government with Islamic rule.

The findings could have implications for the current head of Pakistan’s military, Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, who was the ISI director at the time of the assassination. The Obama administration has cultivated strong ties with Kayani and the ISI as part of its strategy to eliminate al-Qaida and Afghan Taliban leaders based in the Pakistani areas bordering war-torn Afghanistan.

The U.N. commission cast a blame widely for Bhutto’s inadequate protection.

“The responsibility for Ms. Bhutto’s security on the day of her assassination rested with the federal government, the government of Punjab and the Rawalpindi District Police,” the report said. “None of these entities took the necessary measures to respond to the extraordinary, fresh and urgent security risks that they knew she faced.”

Those same agencies also failed to investigate the assassination properly, the report said.

“The investigation was severely hampered by intelligence agencies and other government officials, which impeded an unfettered search for the truth,” the report found. “More significantly, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) conducted parallel investigations, gathering evidence and detaining suspects. Evidence gathered from such parallel investigations was selectively shared with police.

“The commission believes that the failure of the police to investigate effectively Ms. Bhutto’s assassination was deliberate,” it continued. “The officials, in part fearing intelligence agencies’ involvement, were unsure of how vigorously they ought to pursue actions, which they knew as professionals, they should have taken.”

Unidentified Pakistani officials also tried to impede the U.N. inquiry, the report disclosed, saying that the commission “was mystified by the efforts of certain high-ranking government authorities to obstruct access to military and intelligence sources.”

3 Responses to “UN REPORT – BENAZIR and THE ARMY”

  1. Zainab Ali Says:

    It is finally a big relief for the nation to hear the results of the investigation carried out by UN on the killing of the former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. The government officials also termed the investigation as satisfactory.

  2. Aliarqam Says:

    @Anas
    I wanna read Ur input on it….

  3. annie Says:

    Very good and interesting article.


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