(CBS/AP) A senior government official on Monday rejected a call from former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto for U.S. and British experts to help investigate the devastating suicide attack on her homecoming procession.
"I think that sympathizers of al Qaeda and extremist militants in the security administration were responsible for trying to kill me," Bhutto said Monday on CBS News' The Early Show. "I would like an independent inquiry conducted by the government of Pakistan and assisted by the international community, which has expertise in terrorism-related matters, to clarify, inquire, and find out who the culprits were."
The Thursday night bombing in Karachi killed 136 people, wounded hundreds more, and left open the possibility campaign rallies would be banned ahead of upcoming parliamentary elections. But Interior Minister Aftab Khan Sherpao said foreign experts would not be brought into the probe, despite Bhutto's call Sunday for their involvement.
"I would categorically reject this," he told reporters. "We are conducting the investigation in a very objective manner."
Bhutto, who returned after eight years in exile, escaped the blast because she had stepped into her armored bus minutes before the bomb went off.
The government has rejected Bhutto's allegation that elements within the current administration and security apparatus were trying to kill her. She claims they are remnants of the regime of former military leader Gen. Zia-ul Haq, who oversaw the creation of mujahedeen groups that fought the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Veterans of that struggle later formed al Qaeda and the Taliban militant movement.
Bhutto has also questioned why many streetlights were not working as her convoy inched its way through the darkness, and noted the chief investigator is a police officer who had been present as her husband was allegedly tortured while in custody on corruption charges in 1999.