April 15th, 2010
07:26 PM ET

U.N.: Pakistan mishandled Bhutto assassination probe

[Updated at 7:24 p.m.]  Pakistani authorities failed to provide adequate security for former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto before her 2007 assassination, and intelligence agencies hindered the subsequent investigation, a U.N. commission concluded Thursday.

The three-member panel issued a scathing report Thursday afternoon, concluding that the assassination "could have been prevented" and that the Pakistani government's investigation of the killing focused on low-level operatives and ignored people "further up the hierarchy in the planning, financing and execution of the assassination."

Bhutto was killed at a rally in the city of Pakistani city of Rawalpindi in December 2007 after returning from a self-imposed, eight-year exile to run in the country's general elections. Pakistan's government and the CIA blamed the killing on Baitullah Mehsud, a top Pakistani Taliban leader with ties to al Qaeda. Mehsud was killed last year in a suspected U.S. drone strike.

The U.N. commission's chairman, Chilean U.N. Ambassador Heraldo Munoz, said the panel's role was "fact-finding" and not prosecutorial. Asked whether the failure to protect Bhutto was deliberate, he said, "it is not up to us to make inferences."

But he added, "It is clear that warnings were passed on, on various occasions, and Ms Bhutto received also information in this regard from outside Pakistan.

Read the full CNN.com story

[Posted at 5:54 p.m.] Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's 2007 assassination "could have been prevented" with better security measures, while intelligence agencies hindered the subsequent investigation, a U.N. report on the killing concluded Thursday.

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