Pakistan's Parliament Seeks U.N. Investigation Into Bhutto's Assassination

Lawmakers from Pakistan's newly elected parliament have passed a resolution seeking a U.N. probe into the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, officials from her party said Tuesday.

The National Assembly, the lower house of Pakistan's parliament, unanimously adopted the resolution late Monday, said Izhar Amrohvi, secretary for parliamentary affairs for the Pakistan People's Party.

Bhutto died last December in a gun and suicide bombing attack as she was leaving a campaign rally in Rawalpindi. President Pervez Musharraf has blamed a Taliban militant leader, Baitullah Mehsud, for the attack.

Mehsud has reportedly denied involvement.

Law Minister Farooq Naek, who introduced the resolution, said Monday that it sought a U.N. mandated international commission to "identify culprits, perpetrators, organizers and financiers behind the heinous crime and bring them to justice," state-run Radio Pakistan quoted him as saying.

The resolution will be forwarded to the foreign ministry, Amrohvi said.

Musharraf has opposed a U.N. probe but allowed British police to look into what caused Bhutto's death.

The Scotland Yard probe concluded that Bhutto died after slamming her head against the roof of her bulletproof sports utility vehicle during the attack. Bhutto party officials claimed that she died from an assassin's bullet.

Pakistan's new government and parliament are dominated by a coalition of anti-Musharraf groups led by Bhutto's party. They won the Feb. 18 parliamentary elections mainly on opposition to Musharraf's increasingly authoritarian rule and his handling of the U.S.-led war against terrorism.

Bhutto's party had said it would ask the U.N. to probe who was behind her killing.

The ruling coalition also has vowed to undo some of Musharraf's key constitutional amendments and reinstate senior independent-minded judges that the former army chief fired under a state of emergency in November.

Bhutto's widower, Asif Ali Zardari, who has taken over leadership of her party, was to meet later Tuesday with former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, whose Pakistan Muslim League-N party is the second-largest group in the four-party ruling coalition.

The two leaders, who are not members of Parliament, will discuss the country's "current political situation" as well as the judges issue, said Farhatullah Babar, a spokesman for Bhutto's party.

Khawaja Mohammed Asif, minister of petroleum from Sharif's party, said Monday that the two politicians were likely to finalize a strategy for restoring the sacked justices.