Pakistan's foreign minister was at the United Nations Thursday lobbying
the secretary-general and powerful member states to support his
government's request for an independent commission to investigate the
assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. From
United Nation's headquarters in New York, VOA's Margaret Besheer has
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi met with
U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon Thursday afternoon to discuss his government's
request, which was made early last month.
In it, the Pakistani
government asked for an independent commission of inquiry to be
established to identify the "culprits, perpetrators, organizers and
financiers" of Mrs. Bhutto's assassination last December. She was
killed in a suicide attack during an election rally in the city of
In a read-out of the meeting, Mr. Ban's office said
the U.N. chief had "responded positively" to the request, but said
further consultations with Pakistan and others within the U.N. would be
But both Qureshi and the secretary-general's office
said a "broad understanding" had been reached on some major issues. The
Pakistani minister listed them for reporters.
understanding has been reached on the following issues - the nature of
the proposed commission, funding modalities, composition of the
commission, unhindered access to all sources of relevant information
and elements to safeguard the objectivity, impartiality and
independence of the commission," said Shah Mehmood Qureshi.
Ban held a news conference on a wide array of subjects earlier in the
day. When asked whether he had made any decision about an investigation
commission he was non-committal and said he would discuss several
points at length with the Pakistani minister.
While at the
United Nations, Minister Qureshi said he also met with representatives
of the permanent five members of the Security Council - the United
States, Britain, France, China and Russia. Although he indicated that
it would not be necessary for the secretary-general to refer this
matter to the council and that the U.N. chief could appoint the future
On Friday, Qureshi travels to Washington, where he
is scheduled to meet U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other
senior administration officials, as well as lawmakers on Capitol Hill.