Many questions about Bhutto's death remain unanswered

McClatchy NewspapersFebruary 8, 2008 

KARACHI, Pakistan — Scotland Yard's report on the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto leaves a number of important questions unanswered:

  • How could the British police team be certain about the cause of death in the absence of an autopsy and based solely on X-rays of Bhutto's head, the attending doctors' hurried notes and the accounts of family members to Pakistani police?

  • Why didn't Pakistani authorities exercise their right in murder cases to order an autopsy after Bhutto's husband, Asif Ali Zardari, refused to permit one?

  • Several witness accounts spoke of a bullet wound in Bhutto's neck, but the X-rays and doctors' reports say nothing about her neck. The report says that a British pathologist couldn't "categorically" exclude a gunshot wound but that other unspecified evidence "suggests there is no gunshot injury."

  • Who ordered the crime scene to be cleared and hosed down within two hours of the attack, destroying crucial forensic evidence?

  • Why was there scant police protection and no security cordon as Bhutto left the Rawalpindi rally? Why were government-provided jammers that prevent cellular telephones from being used to trigger bombs apparently not working?

  • On the night Bhutto died, doctors at the hospital first said that her death resulted from a bullet wound. What made them change their story to say that it was shrapnel?

  • If, as the report says, Bhutto's head disappeared into the vehicle escape hatch 0.6 seconds before the blast, how did she collide with the hatch?

  • Was the short distance that her head would have moved to hit the hatch capable of generating enough force to cause a fatal injury? A leaked Pakistani investigation report suggested that the distance was too short.

  • Why were the biggest questions — who did it and why? — put off-limits to Scotland Yard?

McClatchy Newspapers 2008

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