British investigators arrive in Pakistan

The Baltimore Sun

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- Scotland Yard investigators arrived yesterday in Pakistan to help investigate the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, although the extent of their mandate was unclear.

The team of British anti-terrorism officers was dispatched after Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf, under intense criticism over the handling of the Bhutto probe, agreed to accept outside aid.

Musharraf's government initially had rebuffed international participation of any kind in the Bhutto investigation. The former prime minister was killed Dec. 27 when a gunman and a suicide bomber attacked her convoy as she left a rally in the city of Rawalpindi.

At a news conference on the eve of the investigators' arrival, Musharraf said the British team would provide forensic and technical assistance. But he stressed that Scotland Yard would not be permitted to engage in "a wild goose chase and create a political disturbance."

The investigators made no comment as they landed at the Islamabad airport. Government officials speaking on condition of anonymity said they were expected to begin work today.

Much crucial evidence will be unavailable to the British team. Pakistani police hosed down the crime scene within 90 minutes of the attack, destroying many physical traces of the assault. No formal autopsy was performed.

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