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UN reaches 'understanding' with Pakistan on Bhutto assassination probe

[JURIST] The UN said Friday that it had reached a "broad understanding" [press release] with Pakistan on logistical issues and questions of access to government officials central to a potential investigation into the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto [BBC obituary; JURIST news archive]. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met Thursday with Pakistani Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi [official profile] to discuss the possible creation of UN commission. Bhutto was killed in December 2007 at a political rally in Rawalpindi after she returned to the country from exile to lead her party in parliamentary elections. In April, the National Assembly of Pakistan [official website] formally called for a UN probe [JURIST report] into Bhutto's assassination.

Bhutto widower Asif Ali Zardari [BBC profile] has repeatedly called for an international probe [JURIST report] into her death and has accused President Pervez Musharraf's regime of involvement in the assassination. The prospect of an international probe into Bhutto's killing has nonetheless garnered some criticism [Guardian report] within Pakistan itself, and the US, supporting Musharraf, has taken the position that a UN investigation is unnecessary. AP has more. BBC News has additional coverage.

In March, Pakistani authorities filed preliminary charges [JURIST report] against top Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud [BBC profile] in relation to the killing. Meshud, who is the commander of the Tehrik-e-Taliban, a group of Islamic militants with links to al Qaeda, has denied any involvement in Bhutto's death.

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