Scotland Yard sleuths to join Bhutto's death probe

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London, Jan 3 (UNI) A team of Scotland Yard detectives are to fly to Pakistan to provide assistance in the probe of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's assassination.

During a televised address to the nation last night, President Pervez Musharraf had announced that British detectives had been requested to ''immediately'' help Pakistani investigators to resolve doubts surrounding the circumstances of Bhutto's death.

Bhutto was assassinated in a gunfire and suicide bombing in Rawalpindi last Thursday.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband confirmed that a team of officers would leave for Pakistan by the end of the week.

''The UK believes that free and fair elections are vital for the future of Pakistan,'' he said.

Scotland Yard sources stressed that only a handful of detectives - some with expertise in forensic analysis and the management of scenes of crime - would go to Pakistan. But critics believe Scotland Yard would be able to do little, as all evidence was hosed off from the site of the assassination within hours of the attack.

Notably, previous international investigations of crimes in Pakistan have been hampered by a lack of access to evidence and information.

The White House said Scotland Yard's involvement negated the need for a United Nations inquiry.

UNI XC SYU PM1731

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