UN delays report on Bhutto's assassination
United Nations, Mar 31: The submission of UN report on the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has been delayed by a forthnight following Pakistan request for it, the United Nations said on Tuesday, Mar 30.
On Tuesday, Mar 30, the three-member panel was set to submit its report based on a nine month inquiry to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon when it was requested to delay the report until Apr 15 by Pakistan President and Bhutto's widower Asif Ali Zardari, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said.
The panel, led by Chile's UN Ambassador Heraldo Munoz, probed into the into the circumstances surrounding the attack on Bhutto after an election campaign rally in Rawalpindi city on Dec. 27, 2007, in which she was killed.
Nesirky said that the request has been accepted by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
"The Secretary-General has accepted an urgent request by the President of Pakistan to delay the presentation of the report ... until 15 April 2010," Nesirky said.
Nesirky explained that the delay would not bring any changes in the report, adding that the Ban would not have accepted the request if there was no valid reason for it.
"My understanding is, and the guidance that I have is, that this is complete, it's done, it's not to be added to," he said.
He added that the report has not been seen by neither Ban nor the Pakistani government.
While Nersiky gave no reason for the request, Pakistan's Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said that Pakistan had requested for the delay so that the statements of the former heads of state, who he said had warned Bhutto of possible attempt to take her life, could be added in the report.
Refusing to reveal the identity of the two heads of state, the Kaira in a news agency report said that they 'could be helpful to the commission in finding who was behind her assassination'.
The panel, which was set up in Jul 2009 at the request of Pakistan's coalition government, led by Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party, had its six months term extended taking into consideration the enormity of its task.
The panel is unlikely to name any suspects but its findings is expected to support any criminal investigation that will be conducted by Pakistani authorities, Munoz said.
Earlier the previous government, headed by allies of former president and army chief Pervez Musharraf, blamed that then Pakistani Taliban leader and al Qaeda ally Baitullah Mehsud, who was killed in the drone attack on Aug 2009, was the one responsible for Bhutto's death.
However, there has been speculation that Bhutto could be assassinated by one of the allies of Musharraf, who did not want her to come to power.