United Nations, Dec 28 (UNI) UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has strongly condemned the assassination of former Pakistan prime minister Benazir Bhutto, while the Security Council appealed to the South Asian nation to maintain calm.
Expressing shock and outrage at the incident, the UN chief yesterday termed the act a ''heinous crime'' and called for those behind the attack to be brought to justice.
The murder of Pakistan People's Party chairperson ''represents an assault on stability in Pakistan and its democratic process,'' Mr Ban said.
''While strongly urging calm and restraint to be maintained at this difficult time, I call on all the people of Pakistan to work together for peace and national unity,'' he added.
The Security Council made a similar appeal in a statement read out by Ambassador Marcello Spatafora of Italy, its president for December.
The Council urged all the people of the South Asian nation to exercise restraint and maintain stability in the country.
After the Council's meeting, Mr Ban welcomed the 15-member body's condemnation of the attack as a ''very appropriate measure by the Security Council''.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour also expressed her shock and condemned the attack saying she was concerned about the impact on the January 8 scheduled parliamentary elections and urged the Pakistan government to ensure that all necessary protective mechanisms are in place to ensure free, fair and transparent electoral process.