Musharraf for exhumation of Bhutto's body

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New York, Jan 13 (UNI) Having rejected calls for a UN probe into the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has said the body should be exhumed to decide the reason behind her death.

''Yes, exhume it. A hundred percent. I would like it to be exhumed,'' President Musharraf said while ruling out ordering a post-mortem without the consent of Bhutto's family.

''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 told Newsweek in an interview.

He alleged the husband of the slain leader Asif Ali Zardari and the Pakistan People's Party were trying to drive political mileage out of it.

''Everybody is trying to gain political advantage; the entire opposition is trying to take political advantage.'' He rejected the call for a UN probe into the bomb and gun attack on Benazir Bhutto as ''ridiculous'', saying there could not be a UN investigation as no other country was involved.

Gen (retd) Musharraf said he had seen the X-rays of the wounds on Bhutto's body and mocked at suggestions that the government was trying to hide the reasons behind her death.

When asked about reports of US-led forces planning to launch operations in Pakistan to pursue Al-Qaeda and Taliban elements, he said, ''We are totally in cooperation on the intelligence side. But we are totally against (a military operation). We are a sovereign country. We will ask for assistance from outsiders. They won't impose their will on us.'' ''If the American troops came into the mountains, they would curse the day they came here. I know these areas, and I know American troops. I know our troops. This is not easy. Our troops can go on roti and water. American troops would need chocolate.'' About concerns over the safety of nuclear assets of Pakistan, specially in the context of US presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton's statement that the country should put its nuclear weapons under US supervision, the former military ruler said it was highly ''misinformed''.

''Does she know how secure [the weapons] are and what we are doing to keep them so? They are very secure. We will ask if we need assistance. Nobody should tell us what to do..We are totally under control,'' he said.

He said nuclear assets of the country were under strict control of the Strategic Planning Division which was secure like an army unit from where ''not even a rifle can be taken''.

The President also rejected charges of pre-poll rigging.

He said after the elected government comes to power his constitutional authority would remain the same, saying his personal influence over leaders from across political spectrum makes him the leader.

''I am fortunate to have my influence over everyone, over the political leaders, over the coalition. My influence is not [the result of] constitutional powers I have. If somebody listens to what I am saying, don't grudge me that. I am not using any force.'' UNI XC YA BD1205

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