UN panel delays BB report at Pakistan’s request
By Masood Haider
UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations Commission looking into the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto delayed the release of the report at the “urgent request of the President of Pakistan”, a UN spokesman told journalists on Tuesday.
The report will now be released on April 15, the spokesman said.
The commission had told the secretary-general that “all relevant facts and circumstances have been explored, and the report is now complete and ready to be delivered”.
In a formal statement read out at a briefing, the UN spokesman said: “The secretary-general has accepted an urgent request by the President of Pakistan to delay the presentation of the report of the Commission of Inquiry into the facts and circumstances of the assassination of the former Pakistani prime minister Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto until 15 April 2010. The commission has informed the secretary-general that, as of today, all relevant facts and circumstances have been explored, and the report is now complete and ready to be delivered.
“No-one other than the commission member has seen the report,” spokesman Martin Nesriky said when asked whether it had been shared with the government of Pakistan. He said that Pakistan’s Ambassador to UN Husain Haroon was expected to meet the UN secretary-general and explain the reason for such a request from his government.
The UN-appointed independent panel began its investigations last July at the request of the Pakistan government and was due to submit its findings to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday.
The spokesman said the report would be made public, but would not be shown to the Pakistani government before April 15. Ban him had not yet read the document.
When reminded that three weeks ago requests had been made by the Pakistan government to send the commission back to Pakistan to interview some five former army officers rounded up by the authorities, the spokesman said the commission was aware of all requests.
The commission team led by Ambassador Heraldo Munoz of Chile had also scheduled a press conference to unveil the report was cancelled.
Ambassador Haroon had also scheduled a press conference and that too was cancelled without any notice. Ambassador Haroon’s spokesman said that details of the request seeking delay would be announced later.