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Musharraf Calls Bhutto Assassination a 'Great Tragedy'


Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf says a team from Britain's Scotland Yard will assist in an investigation into the death of opposition leader and former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

In an address to the nation, President Musharraf also called her death a
great tragedy for Pakistan and blamed terrorists.

Earlier Wednesday, Pakistan's election commission announced that parliamentary elections, scheduled for next week, will be delayed until February 18th because of the unrest following Ms. Bhutto's death.

Ms. Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party says it will take part in the rescheduled elections, but condemned the delay as a tactic by the pro-Musharraf party to bolster its standings. The opposition party of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also says it will take part in the ballot.

Earlier, both opposition parties had demanded the elections take place as originally scheduled on January eighth.

The election commission said it is impossible to hold the vote next week because many of its offices were burned and voter rolls destroyed in the violence that erupted after the assassination of Ms. Bhutto. Around 60 people were killed and millions of dollars worth of property was burned and looted in several cities.

Officials also want to avoid holding the ballot during the Islamic month of Muharram, which begins next week and is a time of mourning for Shi'ite Muslims. Sectarian violence often erupts during the period in Pakistan.


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