ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – British anti-terror police joined the inquiry into the assassination of Benazir Bhutto on Friday, invited by Pakistan's president in an effort to dispel accusations of government involvement.
President Pervez Musharraf also wants to quell growing demands for a U.N. investigation into the shooting and bombing attack that killed the former prime minister after a campaign rally Dec. 27.
He said the Scotland Yard investigators would provide forensic and technical expertise but warned they would not be allowed to go on a "wild goose chase and create a political disturbance" in the country.
The British officers declined to comment to reporters as they arrived at Islamabad airport on Friday.
"Here's a situation where maybe we need to go beyond ourselves to prove to the world and our people here, who are emotionally charged, that we don't mind going to any extent, as nobody is involved from the government side or the agencies," Musharraf said.
The president, a key U.S. ally in the war on terror, met Friday with senior security officials and the heads of the nation's provinces to assess the damage caused by four days of rioting sparked by Bhutto's killing, according to Pakistan state radio.
"Necessary steps have to be taken so that it does not ever occur again," he said.
Officials in Bhutto's Sindh province, the site of the worst rioting, estimate about $1.3 billion in damage.
Musharraf and his advisers also discussed ways to maintain order in the country ahead of parliamentary elections, which were postponed for six weeks until Feb. 18 following the unrest, the radio reported.
The government initially said the opposition leader was killed when the shock waves from the bomb slammed her head into her vehicle. Her supporters say she was killed by the gunman and accuse the government of a cover up.
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki visited Islamabad to pay his condolences to Bhutto's supporters.
"Those who have done this crime have targeted the stability and security of Pakistan," he told reporters after visiting the headquarters of Bhutto's party. "Extremism and terrorism has no place in the minds and in the hearts of the people of this region."