Scotland Yard has concluded that Benazir Bhutto did not die from a gunshot wound, but instead died from the blast of the suicide bomber’s explosion immediately afterward. The Bhutto family and her political party have rejected the findings, and they have renewed their calls for a UN investigation:
Scotland Yard said in a report released Friday that Pakistan’s opposition leader Benazir Bhutto died as a result of a suicide bomb blast, not a gunshot — findings that support the Pakistani government’s version of the events.
Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party immediately rejected the British conclusion and repeated its demand for a U.N. investigation.
The party says Bhutto was shot and suspects a government cover-up because Bhutto had accused political allies of President Pervez Musharraf of plotting to kill her.
The British probe also found that a single attacker both fired the shots at Bhutto and detonated the blast by blowing himself up moments later.
That conclusion appears to disregard the video evidence of a shot apparently hitting Bhutto’s head moments before the explosion. In the final frames before the detonation, Bhutto’s hair and head appeared to react to a gunshot. The images helped force the Pakistani government into asking for Scotland Yard’s assistance in the first place.
With this conclusion, Scotland Yard essentially confirms the Pakistani government’s conclusions, which were roundly derided by the Pakistani people. Only an autopsy would be able to settle the question, but so far Bhutto’s family has resisted one. They claim that a Pakistani autopsy would cover up evidence, and they claim that the British have too limited a mandate to conduct a truly independent probe.
At some point, the Bhutto family should have their own expert conduct an autopsy, open to the media for more credibility. Otherwise, we will continue to have nothing but conjecture and accusation, and it will continue to prove destabilizing. Perhaps that is what some would prefer.