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Bhutto death explanation 'pack of lies'

December 29, 2007 05:13am

Article from: Agence France-Presse

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A TOP aide to slain Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto has rejected the government's explanation of her death as a "pack of lies".

The Pakistan interior ministry said Bhutto died when she hit her head on her vehicle's sunroof as she ducked after a gun and suicide attack on a campaign rally, and that no bullets or shrapnel were found in her.

"It is baseless. It is a pack of lies,'' said Farooq Naik, Bhutto's top lawyer and a senior official in her Pakistan People's Party.

"Two bullets hit her, one in the abdomen and one in the head.

"Bhutto's personal secretary Naheed Khan and party official Makhdoom Amin Fahim were in the car and they saw what happened.

"It is an irreparable loss and they are turning it into a joke with such claims. The country is heading towards civil war.''

Interior ministry spokesman Javed Cheema said earlier that the post-mortem on the populist opposition leader found her mortal wound came when she tried to duck after the bomber attacked.
He said the bomber fired at her but missed, and that her critical injury came when she hit the lever of the sunroof of the car she was in, as she waved to supporters after a campaign rally on Thursday.

"The lever struck near her right ear and fractured her skull,'' Cheema said.

"There was no bullet or metal shrapnel found in the injury.''

He said intelligence services intercepted a call from a top al-Qaeda figure for Pakistan, Baitullah Mehsud, who he said was behind the attack as well as a suicide bombing on Bhutto's homecoming rally in October that killed 139 people.

"The government is now claiming that Baitullah Mehsud is responsible,'' Naik said. "What is the evidence?''

He added: "She was taken to hospital. She was bleeding. It was a serious security lapse.''

Bhutto's death has unleashed a wave of unrest in Pakistan, with at least 33 people killed and countless buildings and vehicles torched.

Hundreds of thousands of people attended her funeral Friday.

Many mourners blamed President Pervez Musharraf, whose popularity has been plummeting, for at the least failing to protect her.

The government has said that Bhutto had been given warnings that Islamist militants were out to get her. Cheema, the interior ministry spokesman, told AFP earlier Friday that Bhutto was on an Al-Qaeda "hit list''. is not responsible for the content of external sites.

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