Musharraf: UK agrees to investigate Bhutto death

Pakistani president invites British police to Pakistan; says opposition leader "died at the hands of terrorists."

Pakistan bomb 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
Pakistan bomb 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said Wednesday that he had requested a team of investigators from Britain's Scotland Yard to assist in the investigation into the killing of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto. "We decided to request a team from Scotland Yard to come. I sent the request to (British) Prime Minister (Gordon) Brown, and he accepted the request," Musharraf said, adding that the British team would assist local investigators. "We would like to know what were the reasons that led to the martyrdom of Benazir Bhutto. I would also like to look into it," Musharraf said in a nationally televised address. Opposition officials have rejected the government's version of events surrounding Bhutto's killing in a suicide attack after a rally Thursday and demanded an international investigation. Musharraf's nearly 30 minute speech was his first major address since Bhutto's slaying. "This is a time for reconciliation and not for confrontation," he said. "The nation has experienced a great tragedy. Benazir Bhutto has died in the hands of terrorists. I pray to God almighty to put the eternal soul of Benazir at peace," he said. Following Bhutto's death, rioters rampaged through the streets for days, burning cars and shops and accusing the government of being behind her killing. The government has denied the charge and blamed al-Qaida linked militants for her death. Musharraf blamed "many miscreants and some political elements" of taking advantage of the tragedy to loot and plunder, adding that the government would deal sternly with anyone who disrupts law and order. Musharraf also said he had wanted to hold parliamentary elections as scheduled on Jan. 8, but he deferred to the decision of the election commission earlier in the day to postpone them for six weeks due to the violence.