A United Nations technical team is expected to reach Pakistan in the third week of April to set up infrastructure to launch a full probe into the 2007 assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto, media reports say.
The team headed by top U.N. official from Africa, Mark Quarterman, was scheduled to go to Pakistan in the second week of March but was forced to postpone the visit due to the political crisis arising out of the country's top court ruling disqualifying Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) leader and former two-time Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his brother from contesting elections.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced the setting up of Bhutto fact-finding commission February 4 during a visit to Pakistan. Ambassador of Chile, Heraldo Munoz, was appointed as the chairman of the commission. The point man for the probe in Pakistan is interior ministry chief Rehman Malik.
Pakistan has already given the world body USD 1.5 million for setting up the commission. The U.N. technical team is in the process of working out a budget and details of the commission's work.
The initial investigation by Pakistani authorities into the gun-and-bomb attack that killed Bhutto during a political rally in Rawalpindi in December 2007 blamed Baitullah Mehsud, a Pakistani Taliban commander.
U.S. intelligence officials too named him as the most likely suspect. Bhutto's supporters have rejected those findings, suggesting that her political opponents may have been involved and tampered with the investigation. British investigators from the Scotland Yard largely confirmed the initial findings though they admitted their access to evidence was limited.
President Asif Zardari, who has resisted calls to conduct another Pakistani investigation, said he hoped the independent U.N. commission would establish the facts and circumstances of Bhutto's death.
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