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Home > News > PTI

Bhutto's death: Scotland Yard only probing exact cause

Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad | January 11, 2008 22:54 IST

The 11-member Scotland Yard team probing former premier Benazir Bhutto's assassination has been asked to assist Pakistani authorities only to establish the exact cause of her death.

A statement issued on Friday by the British High Commission said, according to an agreement with the Pakistan government, the 'principal purpose of the (Scotland Yard team's) deployment is to assist the local authorities in providing clarity regarding the precise cause of Bhutto's death.'

The British High Commission's statement said: 'At the request of the Pakistan government, New Scotland Yard's Counter Terrorism Command (SO15) is deploying a team of investigators to support the Pakistan law enforcement agencies responsible for investigating the death of Benazir Bhutto [Images].

'The principal purpose of the SO15 deployment is to assist the local authorities in providing clarity regarding the precise cause of Bhutto's death.

'The team will provide forensic expertise and other investigative assistance as appears appropriate to the senior officer, Detective Superintendent MacBrayne, who will lead the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) team.'

The cause of Bhutto's death has become the subject of a major controversy after Pakistan's interior ministry initially said she succumbed to a skull fracture sustained during a suicide attack in Rawalpindi on December 27.

The British officers will 'assist and report to the Pakistan senior investigators' and the 'primacy and responsibility for the investigation remains with the Pakistan authorities,' the statement said.

Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party PPP dismissed the government's contention as 'lies' and her close aide Sherry Rehman said she was shot in the head.

President Pervez Musharraf [Images] subsequently admitted that Bhutto might have been shot.

The PPP has also said the British team is working with its hands tied and a UN-led inquiry is needed to identify those who were involved in planning and financing the attack on the former Pakistani premier.

The Scotland Yard team consists of experts in 'crime scene investigation, forensics and evidence analysis.'

Five Scotland Yard officers arrived in Pakistan on January 4 following a request by Musharraf to assist in the investigation of Bhutto's assassination. They were subsequently joined by six more officers.

The statement said the agreement on working arrangements for the British team was being publicised in line with the British Foreign Secretary's commitment in the House of Commons on January 7 to publish the team's terms of reference.

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