Islamabad, May 1: Pakistan People's Party (PPP)'s co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari has defended his party's demand for a UN probe into Benazir Bhutto's assassination, suspecting that some external forces interested in the balkanisation of Pakistan, were involved in the killing.
His statement during a private TV programme provides impetus to some recent reports about the involvement of international players in the killing of the twice-elected former prime minister of Pakistan and raises questions about a possible international conspiracy to destabilise and de-nuclearise Pakistan.
Zardari said he was not interested in sending the killer to the gallows, but wanted to expose the external forces, wanting the balkanization of Pakistan.
Though he did not name the international suspects, he said that someone in the country's establishment was also involved in the murder.
The previous regime had fixed the responsibility on Baitullah Mahsud and Al-Qaeda on the basis of an alleged telephonic conversation reportedly monitored by Pakistani intelligence agencies.
Two months back, Zardari had told a British newspaper that the government by blaming Al-Qaeda for the murder, wanted to muddy the waters.
"Al-Qaeda has nothing to fear, why would they fear us? Are they our political opponents?" the daily had quoted him as saying then.
PPP spokesman Farhatullah Babar had recently said that Benazir was also aware of such an international conspiracy. She had realized what was brewing in certain parts of Pakistan, particularly in the tribal belt, and she was convinced it could be properly addressed through dialogue and political means once she returned to the corridors of power. According to The News, Benazir 's return from self-exile was risky because of Washington's overt support for her to be the next prime minister of Pakistan at a time when anti-US sentiments were at all time high in Pakistan.
Although she had returned to Pakistan with the blessing of the Americans, the general perception was that things were not smooth between herself and Washington.
Before her death, Benazir had distanced herself from a Washington-brokered power sharing deal between her and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, Robert D Novak, a veteran journalist recently wrote in an US newspaper.
Novak revealed that Benazir had sent a written complaint to a senior State Department official saying that her camp no longer viewed the backstage US move as a good faith effort towards democracy.
In return to her several pleas seeking US assistance for better security, the US reaction was that she was worried over nothing, and assured that President Musharraf would not let anything happen to her, Novak further wrote.