UN commission report blames Pakistan officials for Bhutto assassination

[JURIST] An independent UN commission has blamed the Pakistani government and police forces for the 2007 assassination [JURIST report] of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto [BBC obituary; JURIST news archive] in its investigatory report [text, PDF] released Thursday. According to the report, the Pakistani federal government "lacked a comprehensive security plan" and failed to provide adequate security for Bhutto by relying on local officials without giving them "necessary instructions." In the report, the commission accused the government of failing to launch a proper investigation into those responsible for the attack. The report also accused the government of hindering their investigation and called their various failures "deliberate":


A range of Government officials failed profoundly in their efforts first to protect Ms. Bhutto and second to investigate with vigour all those responsible for her murder, not only in the execution of the attack, but also in its conception, planning and financing. ... The Commission believes that the failures of the police and other officials to react effectively to Ms. Bhutto's assassination were, in most cases, deliberate.

The commission ultimately concluded that Bhutto's assassination could have been prevented, if not for governmental ignorance. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official website] praised [statement] the commission's work and left the responsibility for any criminal investigation with Pakistani authorities.

The three-member commission was formed [JURIST report] in June. Members included Chilean Ambassador to the UN Heraldo Munoz [official profile], former attorney general of Indonesia Marzuki Darusman, and Peter Fitzgerald, a former deputy police commissioner in the Irish National Police who has served with the UN in other capacities. Bhutto was killed in a suicide attack in December 2007 that claimed the lives of at least 20 other people. At that time, Bhutto was the head of the opposition Pakistan People's Party, which was challenging then-prime minister Pervez Musharraf's Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) [party websites] in the lead-up to parliamentary elections.


 

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