The UN should examine this, as well as claims Bhutto made that Omar Sheik is "the man who murdered Osama bin Laden".
by Olivier Knox
Wed Jan 2, 11:20 PM ET
WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States on Wednesday brushed aside calls for a UN investigation into the slaying of Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, saying Britain's Scotland Yard now leads the probe and will get "the answers" Pakistan's people deserve.
"Scotland Yard being in the lead of this investigation is appropriate and necessary and we don't see a need for an investigation beyond that at this time," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino told reporters.
"What's most important is that they proceed quickly and in a transparent and comprehensive way, so that the people of Pakistan can get the answers they deserve," the spokeswoman said.
Perino also cautiously welcomed Pakistan setting February 18 as the date for parliamentary elections, which had previously been scheduled for January 8 but put off after Bhutto's assassination in a gun and suicide bomb attack last Thursday.
"The important thing is that they have a date certain for the elections," Perino said shortly before Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf gave a major televised speech to defend the postponement and unveil the British role.
Asked whether the United States worried that the election might not be free and fair, Perino replied: "We have no indication that it wouldn't be, but of course, we'll continue to monitor."
The spokeswoman also sidestepped a question regarding the White House's refusal over the past few days to express confidence in a Bhutto slaying investigation run by Musharraf's government.
"It was the Pakistani government that decided to ask Scotland Yard for its help, and we think that was appropriate, and we welcome that decision," said Perino. "We think they'll do an excellent job."
"We urge the political parties that are there to ask their followers to refrain from violence, to look to the investigation that Scotland Yard will produce that will be transparent and fair and hopefully move ahead as quickly as possible," she said.
Perino had been asked why Washington pushed hard for a UN special investigation into the February 2005 killing of Lebanese former premier Rafiq Hariri but was not doing so in the case of Bhutto's assassination last week.
Amid charges from Bhutto allies that Musharraf's government had mishandled the probe thus far, Perino said "maybe what happened after the assassination will be a part of the investigation."
But she seemed at odds with Musharraf and Scotland Yard itself on the Britons' role: She said they were in the lead, while he said they would "help" and the venerable crimefighting service said Pakistan was still in charge.
Perino also said that she was unaware of charges by Bhutto allies that she was killed as she planned to go public just hours before her death with evidence of plans to rig the vote.
Her comments came after Benazir Bhutto's husband, Asif Ali Zardari, demanded a UN probe into her assassination along the lines of the Hariri investigation.
"We demand a Hariri commission-style investigation," he said at a news conference Sunday. "We are writing to the United Nations for an international probe into her martyrdom."
US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack renewed Washington's offer to help out with the probe.
"We stand ready to assist, if we are requested to do so. If we can provide technical assistance and that is wanted, of course we are going to do so," McCormack told reporters.