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British Investigators Arrive in Pakistan to Join Bhutto Probe


A small team from Britain's Scotland Yard has arrived in the Pakistani capital to help with a government investigation into last week's assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto. VOA's Nancy-Amelia Collins in Islamabad has more.

Pakistani officials say the Scotland Yard team will lend forensic and technical expertise to the investigation, which is being carried out by the government as controversy swirls around the death of Ms. Bhutto.

Supporters of Ms. Bhutto, along with her family and her political party, the Pakistan People's Party, say the former prime minister was shot and killed by a gunman while leaving a political rally in her car.

Television footage shows a man firing three shots at the back of Ms. Bhutto's head. She slumps down into the car, and then a suicide bomb goes off. Her aides say they saw a bullet wound in her head after the attack.

But the government says she was killed when she ducked the blast of the suicide bomb that followed the gunshots, cracking her skull on the sunroof of her car.

President Pervez Musharraf denied Thursday that a security lapse on the government's part was to blame for the assassination. He blamed Ms. Bhutto for standing in the open and waving to her supporters when she knew there was a danger of an attack.

"Who is to blame for the coming out of the vehicle and standing outside? Who is to blame? The law enforcement agencies?" he asked. "The others were sitting inside and they were secure."

The government says al-Qaida is responsible for Ms. Bhutto's assassination. Her supporters say the government is at least partially responsible, by failing to provide adequate security, while others believe elements within the government carried out the assassination.

Mr. Musharraf says that partly because of the controversy, he decided to bring in Scotland Yard investigators.

"Here is a situation where a leader of her stature has got assassinated and the whole country is in turmoil and it has reverberations all over the world," he said. "Therefore I thought, here is a situation where maybe we need to go beyond ourselves to prove to the world and to prove to our main people here…that we don't mind going to any extent, because nobody's involved on the government side or the agency side. So therefore we went for Scotland Yard."

Ms. Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party is demanding a United Nations investigation into her murder, saying that will be the only way to get at the truth.

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