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U.N. probe sought into Bhutto slaying

  • Story Highlights
  • Assembly unanimously passes resolution calling for U.N. probe
  • Government, parliament dominated by Bhutto's political party
  • Polls at odds with President Musharraf's contention on blame for killing
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- Pakistan's National Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution Monday calling for a United Nations probe into the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

The move is not surprising given that Pakistan's new government and parliament is dominated by a coalition led by Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party.

Party members and Bhutto's family have repeatedly called for such an investigation since she was killed December 27 after a campaign rally in Rawalpindi, south of the Pakistani capital of Islamabad.

The resolution calls for an international inquiry into the people behind the killing, the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan said.

Until now, President Pervez Musharraf has balked at calls for a United Nations inquiry. His government -- before it was ousted from power after parliamentary elections in February -- had contended that the killing was orchestrated by Baitullah Mehsud, who as leader of the Pakistani Taliban has ties to al Qaeda.

The CIA reached the same conclusion. But two nationwide polls conducted this year found that a majority of Pakistanis believe Musharraf's government was complicit in Bhutto's assassination.

The cause of Bhutto's death is not clear. Her family has refused to carry out an autopsy.

Bhutto was standing in a moving armored car after rallying supporters for the parliamentary elections. Her head was above the roof and unprotected at the time of the attack.

A bomber blew himself up near Bhutto's limousine, and videotape showed a gunman present.

Musharraf's government concluded that Bhutto was not shot but died when the force of a bomb blast slammed her head into an escape hatch on her SUV.

Detectives from Britain's Scotland Yard -- who assisted Pakistani authorities in coming up with a "precise cause" of death -- agreed with that assessment.

But Bhutto aide Sherry Rehman -- who had been riding in the car behind Bhutto's when it was attacked -- called the government's conclusion "the most bizarre, dangerous nonsense."

Rehman told CNN in February that the party wanted to look beyond "the hand that pulled the trigger" to focus on who organized and paid for the killing.

And the former prime minister's husband, Asif Ali Zardari, has called for an international and independent investigation, one under the auspices of the U.N.

The resolution Monday takes the party one step closer toward that goal. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

All About PakistanBenazir BhuttoWorld Politics

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