Pak foreign minister to meet UN SG on Bhutto assassination probe

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Islamabad, Jul 3 (UNI) Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi will have a detailed meeting with the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and his top legal aide at the UN Headquarters in New York on July 10.

They will discuss early constitution of an 'international commission' to probe assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, local daily The News today said.

The foreign minister will be leading a four-member team for the important meeting next week which is likely to determine the crucial aspect of whether it would be a UN Security Council sanctioned commission or one formed by the UN secretary general and under his control.

Pakistan wants the UN secretary general to appoint a commission of relevant international experts reporting to him directly.

Apparently the Foreign Office has strongly advised the government that the UNSC must be kept out of the probe at any cost, cautioning against its intrusive measures that could make sensitive state institutions vulnerable and undermine the country's sovereignty.

Notably even the letter of request addressed to the UN secretary general seeks an international commission and does not mention the Security Council in this context.

Federal Law Minister Farooq H Naek will not be a part of this important trip as initially announced.

However, the newly appointed Ambassador-at-Large Agha Karim Khan, a lawyer by profession and an international legal expert, will accompany the foreign minister.

Karim Khan has been associated as independent counsel with the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia established by the UNSC in 1993 to try those responsible for violations of international humanitarian law in the territory since 1991.

Ambassador Munir Akram will assist the foreign minister at all the talks aimed at working out a broad framework, the modalities and setting the parameters for an international investigation into Benazir Bhutto's assassination on December 27, 2007.

The foreign minister will also meet representatives of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and ambassadors of 'friendly countries' to solicit support for an international commission.

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