British detectives inspect Bhutto murder scene

( AFP )- British anti-terrorism police Saturday started examining evidence in the assassination of Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, officials said.

Armed commandos enforced a security cordon as Scotland Yard detectives made their first inspection of the Liaqat Bath public park where Bhutto was murdered as she left a campaign rally on December 27, an AFP photographer witnessed.

The arrival of the five-man British squad on Friday has only deepened the conspiracy theories swirling around the gun and suicide attack on Bhutto, which sparked violent unrest across Pakistan and set vital elections back six weeks.

"The Scotland Yard team is examining the venue where she addressed a rally and the site where she was attacked," a Rawalpindi police official told AFP on Saturday.

Pakistan's interior ministry has blamed the attack on an alleged Al-Qaeda militant and says Bhutto died from an accidental head wound sustained as she ducked for cover as a gunman opened fire on her motorcade.

But President Pervez Musharraf said in comments published Saturday that a gun shot could have caused her fatal injuries, although he denied any government culpability.

Asked in an interview with CBS television whether Bhutto might have been shot, Musharraf answered: "Yes, absolutely, yes."

He added that his government did everything possible to protect Bhutto, in the face of death threats she had received.

"For standing up outside the car, I think it was she to blame alone. Nobody else. Responsibility is hers," he said, according to an interview transcript.

Party aides who were by Bhutto's side at the time say she died from a gunshot to the head. Her husband, Asif Ali Zardari , refused to allow an autopsy before she was buried, saying "we know how she died."

The PPP said Sunday that Musharraf's admission she may have been killed by a gunman underscored the need for a UN probe.

PPP supporters, many of whom believe the authorities know more than they are saying about the murder of the head of Pakistan's most powerful political dynasty, were furious at the about-face.

"The regime is constantly changing its position and that reinforces doubts and suspicions and lends credence to demands by the PPP for an independent inquiry under UN auspices," party spokesman Farhatullah Babar told AFP.

Zardari was due late Saturday to leave Pakistan for Dubai, where the couple's children, including 19-year-old son Bilawal , the new leader of the nation's largest political party and an Oxford University undergraduate, headed four days after the assassination.

Bhutto's party faithful insist the authorities know more than they are saying about the murder of the former head of Pakistan's most powerful political dynasty, and the most potent critic of the military-led government.

Pakistan People's Party (PPP) officials said the Scotland Yard mission, here at Musharraf's invitation, is a meaningless attempt to lend credibility to a deeply flawed official version of events.

" Musharraf has himself said the Scotland Yard team would not be allowed to question those we have suspected. So he has already circumscribed their role," Babar told AFP.

"We have respect for Scotland Yard but this is inadequate."

The first female leader of a Muslim nation had survived an earlier suicide bombing on the day she returned to Pakistan from self-imposed exile in October, and had publicly accused powerful officials of planning her murder.

Bhutto's party has complained that the crime scene from the December 27 attack was washed shortly after her murder, destroying vital evidence -- a move Musharraf acknowledged later "should not have been done."

The president has denied that Pakistan's powerful secret intelligence agencies were involved in the killing, or that the government effectively allowed Islamist fanatics to kill her by failing to ensure her security.

The assassination has further destabilised a key US ally in the "war on terror" at a time of mounting militancy and broad-based opposition to Musharraf's rule.

It forced the postponement of general elections, billed as a turning-point in the country's transition to democratic rule after Musharraf's 1999 coup, until February 18.

The PPP has demanded a UN probe into Bhutto's assassination similar to the one into the murder of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri in 2005, but the government has ruled out such an investigation.

Turkey's export of grain, legumes to Russia down
Turkey's export of grain, legumes to Russia down
Russia has great demand for Turkish jewelry
Russia has great demand for Turkish jewelry
Georgia decreases import of wheat and meslin from Russia
Georgia decreases import of wheat and meslin from Russia
Loading Bars
Latest
U.S. Department of State, USAID providing $1.7M in health assistance to help Azerbaijan
Value of exported products via Astara customs announced in Iran
Azerbaijan's Internal Ministry: Entry, exit from Sheki district restricted (PHOTO)
Coronavirus cases count exceeds 200 in Kazakhstan
Most popular transport for visiting Turkey revealed
Azerbaijan's Internal Ministry: Entry, exit from Gazakh district restricted (VIDEO)
China's success in curbing coronavirus spread affected oil market - Iran's official
Turkey reveals volume of cargo transshipment from Moldova through its ports
Iran opens its first mobile coronavirus lab (PHOTO)
Total amount of donations to Azerbaijan’s Fund to Support Fight Against Coronavirus announced
BP: 3D seismic survey program on Block D230 completed successfully
Iran reveals funds allocated to battle coronavirus spread
Turkey names new minister of transport and infrastructure
Iran's export down since early March
Online supermarket created with help of Azerbaijani Agency for Development of SMEs
Iran talks investments made in Persian Gulf Mining and Metal Industries SEZ
Forecast growth in new solar, wind plants to be wiped out for 2020
Exports of products up in Iran's Isfahan province
Turkey reveals volume of cargo transshipment from Georgia through its ports
Oil price slump could lead to flow of capital towards renewable energy
Production shut-ins amid lower oil prices may be substantial this time
Azerbaijani company begins production of pure alcohol
Gross external debt of Georgia increases
International Investment Position of Georgia down
Iranian currency rates for March 28
Azerbaijan's parliament discloses MPs' coronavirus test results
Iran announces number of wells drilled in oil, gas sector
Azerbaijan’s Salyan District Executive Power announces tender for repair services
Azerbaijan’s Salyan District Executive Power announces tender
Anglo Asian Mining continuing with gold production in Azerbaijan
Iran's president urges for proper implementation of social distancing plan
WB provides additional support to improving efficiency and innovation in Azerbaijan’s judicial system
Outlook for oil market remains bleak in near-term
Kazakhstan increasing furniture, wood imports from Turkey
Armenia violates ceasefire with Azerbaijan 21 times
Coronavirus significantly affects real estate market of Georgia
Iran develops medkits for coronavirus testing
Iran hopes to curb and even eliminate coronavirus spread in upcoming weeks
Iran's housing sales drop due to coronavirus outbreak
Georgian Poti port receives permission for expansion
Georgian TPP receives electricity generating license
Galt & Taggart Investment Bank forecasts possible coronavirus impact on Georgian economy
Review of car re-exports statistics in Georgia
Review of Georgian banking sector external debt
NATO praises Georgia’s efforts against coronavirus
TAP to shape Italy’s gas market in several ways: WoodMac
Australia tightens social distancing rules to combat coronavirus
U.S. COVID-19 cases top 100,000 as deaths surpass 1,500
Number of COVID-19 cases increases in Georgia
Brunei reports first coronavirus death
Mexico registers 717 coronavirus cases, and 12 total deaths
Turkey to cancel all int'l flights over COVID-19 fears
Chile government negotiates bill-paying delay for poor as coronavirus bites
Oman announces 22 new cases of coronavirus, 131 in total
Four passengers die on cruise ship with coronavirus outbreak off Panama
Belgium extends lockdown period until April 18
COVID-19 death toll rises to 12 in Israel
Italy has yet to hit coronavirus peak, lockdown set to be extended
Azerbaijan tightens special quarantine regime
How EU gas markets prepared for coronavirus?
British PM Johnson has coronavirus, self-isolates in Downing Street
Azercell called on Azerbaijanis to show solidarity in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic
43 more test positive for coronavirus in Azerbaijan
Greenfields Petroleum announces agreement to defer payment of its senior secured debt
Azerbaijan’s president signs decree to exempt import of some medical supplies from VAT
Azerbaijan's Azeltech talks difficulties in buying composite materials for production
AZAL talks rules for flights on Baku-Nakhchivan-Baku routes for Azerbaijani citizens
Azerbaijan's logistic company talks reasons for decline in freight traffic volumes
Operation of express buses to airport limited in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan restricts entry/exit from regions
Volume of cargo transshipment through Turkish port of Cesme announced
Azerbaijan's parliament to discuss joining another international document
Azerbaijani MPs to sit no less than 2 meters apart at parliament's session
Current account deficit reaches its historical minimum in Georgia
Volume of cargo transshipment from Slovenia through Turkish ports disclosed
Volume of cargo transshipment from Tunisia through Turkish ports disclosed
Georgia increases imports of chemical products from Turkey
Georgian TBC Bank signs loan agreement with OPEC Fund
BOTAS International Limited reveals volume of oil transshipment from Ceyhan terminal
Volume of loans issued by commercial banks of Georgia decreases
S&P talks Kazakhstan's mitigation of current oil price shock effects
Volume of cargo transshipment from Iran through Turkish ports disclosed
Turkey reveals volume of cargo transshipment from Lebanon through its ports
Volume of cargo transshipment from Libya through Turkish ports disclosed
Volume of cargo transshipment from Romania through Turkish ports disclosed
Azerbaijan reveals volume of cargo transportation by all modes of transport
Turkey reveals volume of cargo transshipment from Algeria through its ports
All ventures to suspend operation in two Kazakh cites to battle coronavirus
Movement of transit trucks ensured in Azerbaijan, says ministry (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Azerbaijan's Emergency Ministry increases number of tents at border reception and sorting points (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Coronavirus cases detected in two more Kazakh regions for first time
Belavia extends flight suspension to Georgia
Azerbaijan launched additional six plants producing medical alcohol, says minister
Weekly review of Georgian capital markets
PM: Azerbaijani state to undertake all required measures to combat coronavirus
Azerbaijan increases building gypsum production
Another provocation of Armenian Armed Forces suppressed: Azerbaijan’s State Border Service
Total amount of donations to Azerbaijan’s Fund to Support Fight Against Coronavirus announced
Regular bus services may be suspended in Azerbaijan’s capital in case of non-compliance with quarantine
Medical Insurance Agency: Over 3,300 people quarantined in Azerbaijan
All news