The request for foreign assistance is timely; the Pakistani government has changed the official story of Bhutto's slaying for the third time in less than a week.
As Julian Borger and Mark Tran report for The Guardian with no trace of visible irony:
"We would like to know what were the reasons that led to the martyrdom of Benazir Bhutto. I would also like to look into it," Musharraf said in a televised address.Sure, you would, Pervez! Especially because you and the deceased were such bitter political enemies!
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has agreed to send a team from Scotland Yard to assist the Pakistanis.
The great thing about getting the UK to "cooperate" with the "investigation" is that top British officials already know who did it! Thus:
David Miliband, the foreign secretary, said a team from Scotland Yard is due to leave Britain this week.They're just going to take their anti-terror relationship forward a little bit!
"As the terrible events of last week show only too clearly, Pakistan faces a very serious threat from extremism," Miliband said.
"The UK is already closely engaged with the government of Pakistan on counter-terrorism cooperation. The prime minister and President Musharraf have agreed to further deepen this aspect of our relationship, and officials will travel to Pakistan to take this forward."
And it fits in well with the official Pakistani stance on the matter, as articulated Wednesday evening by the President:
In his first major speech since the Bhutto killing, Musharraf appealed for reconciliation.The British investigators will serve as international window-dressing, since the Pakistanis will be running the show, as Carlotta Gall and Graham Bowley report for the New York Times:
"The nation has experienced a great tragedy. Benazir Bhutto has died in the hands of terrorists. I pray to God almighty to put the eternal soul of Benazir at peace," he said.
Scotland Yard said in a statement that a small team of officers from its counter terrorism command would travel to Pakistan, but that the Pakistan authorities would lead the investigation.Therefore is seems quite safe to predict that the British investigators will not become intimately familiar with the clues provided here:
The reason why Musharraf's government wants the shooting of Bhutto story to just go away.Nah, nah, nah! It was the extremists!!
The Pakistani police seem to have the gun used to kill Bhutto now in their custody.
(The day of the shooting and bomb blast I saw a hand gun on top of a piece of fabric that had been found at the scene of the crime. This black 9mm hand gun was on top of a piece of cloth near the side of the street in the blast area. I have tried to relocate that photo that was captioned - "After the shooting and blast a few hand guns were located in the crime/blast area." I have been unable to find that same photo again, it may have been taken down.)
Now it appears the black 9mm I saw in the photo, the gun seen in the videos, and the gun in the custody of the police are all the same 9mm black handgun.
The police handgun found at the crime scene ... has been identified as a 9mm - Steyr M9 ..
Now guess who uses the Steyr M 9X19mm handgun exclusively - the Pakistani army - special forces division.
That may be the reason why Musharraf just wants the whole incident of Bhutto's assassination to just disappear and go away. Because the gun used was issued to a member of the Generalissimo's military.
In related news, the Parliamentary election originally scheduled for January 8 will now be held on February 18, against the stated wishes of the PPP -- Ms. Bhutto's party -- and one remaining major opposition leader, Nawaz Sharif. Government officials say a delay is inevitable given the damage caused to election offices and materials during rioting that broke out after Ms. Bhutto was killed. Opposition leaders have not decided how to respond to the postponement, but they say they want to establish a "united" front.
We'll see about that.