Following an official visit to Pakistan on Wednesday, February 4, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for the creation of a special commission to investigate the killing of Benazir Bhutto, former Prime Minister of Pakistan. Ban made the decision after what a UN spokesperson described as “extensive consultation” with Pakistani and UN Security Council representatives.
Prior to her death on December 27, 2007, Bhutto was the head of the political opposition to then-President Pervez Musharraf. She died at a political rally as a result of a bomb blast. Bhutto had previously announced that Musharraf would be responsible for any harm that came to her and during her campaign she sent Musharraf a letter alleging that Pakistani government officials were plotting to kill her. Musharraf and his party lost the February 2008 elections in a landslide and Bhutto’s aide, Yousaf Raza Gilani, became the new prime minister. In August, Musharaf resigned his post of President, ceding power to Asif Ali Zardi, Bhutto’s widower.
The Pakistani government and CIA officials have stated that Baitulah Mehsud, the leader of Panistan’s Talban, was responsible for Bhutto’s death. Nevertheless, a December Gallup Poll showed that nearly fifty percent of Pakistanis believe that Musharraf had a role in Bhutto’s assassination. A UN spokesperson confirmed that Ban had sent a letter to the UN Security Council with his plans for the three-member investigation commission.