British detectives who have been conducting an investigation into Benazir Bhutto's assassination have found the former premier was killed by the force of a suicide blast, not by gunshots. Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party has rejected the findings.
There is confusion about how exactly Benazir Bhutto died at a rally in Rawalpindi
The keenly-awaited 70-page report by British detectives shows that Benazir Bhutto died from a head injury caused by the force of the bomb blast in Rawalpindi on Dec. 27, 2007.
“The Scotland Yard report establishes three things,” the caretaker interior minister Hamid Nawaz said. “The first thing is that the only injury on the right side of her head was not caused by a bullet. Secondly, the one who fired and the suicide bomber were the same person. Thirdly, with the force of the bomb she collided with the vehicle. These are the three things the report establishes.”
But Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party, or PPP, immediately rejected the conclusion drawn by the British detectives, insisting she was killed by the assassin’s bullet.
Rejecting the report
PPP leader, Sherry Rehman, who was with Bhutto at the time of attack and survived the blast, is angry: “We disagree with this finding but we have co-operated with them [the detectives] and we would look at the report in depth. More importantly we will continue to ask for an international probe at the United Nations level.
The report supports the version of President Musharraf’s government that effectively holds Bhutto responsible for her death by saying she was negligent about her security. Bhutto was standing in an open-roofed vehicle when she was killed.
Scotland Yard’s report has also stirred up a debate about the whole role of the British detectives in Pakistan. The detectives didn’t examine the body of Benazir Bhutto and vital evidence was not available because the crime scene was cleaned up with hoses within hours.
Not much faith left
“The political parties, civil society, the lawyers and intelligentsia don’t have much faith left in the government,” explained Riaz Khokar, an independent political analyst. “I am not so sure that the Scotland Yard report will smoothen anything.”
“There is also a feeling that United States and Britain want to bail out this government. There is a lot of negative feeling about the overall approach of the government to this particular case.”
Pakistan has a long history of political leaders dying in dubious circumstances -- from the country’s first prime minister Liaqat Ali Khan to dictator General Zia ul Haq and now Benazir Bhutto. None of the cases was solved satisfactorily.