Musharraf rejects UN probe into Bhutto's murder

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Islamabad, Jan 12: Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf ruled out an investigation by the United Nations into the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, saying the country cannot be compared to Lebanon and its own institutions and Scotland Yard team could be counted on.

Pakistan Peoples Party had called for a UN enquiry into Bhutto's death comparable to one into the 2005 killing of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik al-Hariri., whose death was blamed by many Lebanese on Syria. The president hoped that investigation report would be made public before the election scheduled for February 18. ''They will be held whatever happens. We have to defeat terrorists campaign aimed at derailing the democratic and economic process,'' the Associated Press of Pakistan quoted him as saying.

About the threat from al-Qaeda and other extremists, he said they did not have the capacity to destabilise the country, but their suicide bombers created disorder.

Pakistan was not on the verge of disintegration, he said, the country was, however, facing a campaign orchestrated by extremists, who were against all those who opposed their obscurantist views.

He also said Pakistan's economy would survive even if the United States conditioned their financial aid to Pakistan.

''Over the past six years the country has received a total of about 9 billion dollars, of which more than half was received as part of the fight against terrorism.

''The West cannot impose its way of thinking,'' he said, adding that he did more in six years to advance democracy than his predecessors did in 50 years.

Asserting that even as his popularity had comparitively dropped in recent months, he was still not ''unpopular''.

''I know very well what is the support that I have from the masses, the elite and the army. The day I think that I am genuinely unpopular, I will be the first to resign,'' he said.

UNI

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