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Musharraf wants to exhume Bhutto's body
January 13, 2008 15:28 IST
Rejecting accusations that his government was complicit in the killing of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto [Images], Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf [Images] said that he favours the exhumation of her body. But he said that the post-mortem cannot be done without the consent of her family.
"Yes, I would like the body to be exhumed. Because I know for sure there is no bullet wound other than on the right side. Whether it was a bullet or a strike, I don't want to comment, I don't know," Musharraf said in a wide-ranging interview to Newsweek.
The President said that the man in charge of the security of Bhutto - who was killed in a gun and suicide attack on December 27 in Rawalpindi after addressing an election rally � had been handpicked by the slain leader.
"This area (where she was killed) was known to be dangerous. There was a death threat, intelligence that there would be an attack, and we told her, yet she wanted to go....She went into a dangerous place, and if you get out of the (bullet-proof) vehicle, you are responsible. All the others sitting inside the vehicle were safe," he said.
About the allegations that in some way the government was complicit in the killing of Bhutto, he said, "I refuse to listen to such accusations.... I am the government, OK? I am not feudal, and I am not tribal."
When asked if had seen the X-rays of Bhutto, he said "Yes," adding, "I am a soldier, I've seen a lot of bullet wounds. A bullet wound is a small hole, and if the bullet goes through it makes a big hole on the other side. Now that is what I understand to be a bullet wound. This was not that, although I'm not an expert. But how does it absolve the government if it was a bullet or not?"
"Why would we be hiding (the cause of Bhutto's death)? It's ridiculous, and when I read these comments, I laugh at them," Musharraf said.
When the questioner told him that he could order a post-mortem as the Chief Executive, he said, "Everything is not black and white here. It would have very big political ramifications. If I just ordered the body exhumed, that would be careless, unless (Bhutto's) people agreed. But they will not."
He said that Bhutto' supporters have not agreed to a post-mortem "because they know it's a fact that there is nothing wrong."
"Everybody is trying to gain political advantage; the entire opposition is trying to take political advantage... And then there's the cultural factor. Somehow, in our culture, a post-mortem of a woman is not done. When the body was at the hospital, (her husband Asif Ali) Zardari himself said it could not be done; he didn't want the post-mortem done.
Now he says if there were a United Nations investigation, he would allow a post-mortem. There cannot be a UN investigation. Two or three countries are not involved in this case. Why should there be a UN investigation? This is ridiculous," Musharraf said