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Pakistani President Denies Government Involvement in Bhutto Assassination

  • VOA News

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf is denying accusations that the military and intelligence services were involved in the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

During a news conference on Thursday in Islamabad, Mr. Musharraf also said he is not fully satisfied with the probe into the opposition leader's death.

The Pakistani president referred to the fact that shortly after the attack, local television showed blood and debris being washed from the attack site. He said this was an example of inefficiency and not a government attempt to hide evidence.

Ms. Bhutto was killed last Thursday during a shooting and suicide blast at a political rally in Rawalpindi.

President Musharraf also said he repeatedly warned Ms. Bhutto and her party about threats against her life. He also denied allegations of a security lapse, saying Ms. Bhutto was given a full security detail. He said the opposition leader was partially responsible as she chose to greet supporters through her vehicle's sunroof.

Controversy surrounds Ms. Bhutto's assassination, with Pakistan's government saying she was not killed by gunshots or by shrapnel but by hitting her head on the sunroof latch during the blast. Ms. Bhutto's supporters contend the opposition leader was shot.

Meanwhile, her Pakistan People's Party continues to call for a United Nations investigation into her death.

Opposition parties also have condemned the government's decision to delay parliamentary elections until February 18th, due to the rioting following Ms. Bhutto's death. But the opposition groups say they will participate in the elections, which were originally set for January eighth.

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