ISLAMABAD (AFP) – Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf said Wednesday that a Scotland Yard team from Britain would come “immediately” to Pakistan to help probe the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.
Musharraf’s announcement in a televised address to the nation comes after intense controversy over the circumstances over the former premier’s death in a gun and suicide bomb attack at an election rally last Thursday.
“We have decided to invite a team from Scotland Yard in Britain. I am grateful to Prime Minister Gordon Brown, when I put up this request, he agreed,” Musharraf said.
“This team will be coming to Pakistan immediately and they will help in our investigation,” he said, adding that the attack had been carried out by the same “terrorists” behind a wave of other attacks in the country.
Musharraf said the team would “help to cover our deficiencies in the field of forensics.”
“I am sure this investigation with Scotland Yard will be correct and will remove all the doubts surrounding it,” he said.
Bhutto’s supporters have expressed doubts about the official government account of her death, which says that she died of a fractured skull after hitting her head on her car sunroof while trying to duck from the blast.
They say that they saw bullet wounds in her head, while television footage has shown her shawl and hair flying up just after shots were fired at her and just before the explosion.
Musharraf’s decision to call in British help was scorned by Bhutto’s husband Asif Ali Zardari, who has called for a UN investigation along the lines of the probe into the killing of former Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri.
“Now they have remembered Scotland Yard. Why did they not call it when Benazir Bhutto first demanded it after the Karachi blast?” he said.
Bhutto’s homecoming parade from exile in Karachi on October 18 was hit by a massive double suicide attack that killed 139 people.
She had called on Musharraf to allow Scotland Yard and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation to help probe the blast, but the Pakistani government rejected her demands.
Musharraf said in his speech that he had now invited a British team to assist because he wanted to rule out the “conspiracy theories” swirling around her death.
“This is a very significant investigation. All the confusion that has been created in the nation must be resolved,” said a stony faced Musharraf, wearing a dark grey suit and a tie.
The Pakistani government earlier Wednesday offered a reward for identification of two alleged suspects in the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, who were shown in a photo standing in the crowd just before she was killed.
Zardari said his party would not give any help to the investigation, saying that he had no faith in the Pakistani government to carry it out correctly.
“I am contacting leaders of other countries and Inshallah (God willing) we will get support and we will get to the bottom of this tragedy,” he told a news conference at the family home in southern Pakistan.