ISLAMABAD, Dec 29: The government would allow the exhumation of Ms Benazir Bhutto’s body if her party made a request, an interior ministry spokesman told a news conference here on Saturday.

“The government is ready to do this if demanded by the family of Ms Benazir Bhutto,” Brig (retd) Javed Iqbal Cheema said.

The spokesman tried to dilute the controversy about the cause of Ms Bhutto’s death and categorically rejected the demand of her party to invite foreign experts for investigation.

“It is not important now how she died because the fact is that we have lost her and the important thing is that who killed her and how can we catch them,” he said. Interior Ministry spokesman

At his Friday’s press briefing, the interior ministry spokesman asserted that she had been killed by the shooting of a suicide bomber who later blew himself up. He tried to convince the media that she had died of a wound caused by the iron lever of the sunroof of her vehicle while trying to duck after the firing.

“Don’t blame the government for the security lapse; you should better ask personal security officials of Benazri Bhutto why they allowed her to expose herself from the sunroof of the vehicle despite having been informed by the government that she was under a severe threat,” Brig Cheema told a questioner.

The spokesman rejected the demand of the PPP to get the inquiry of Ms Bhutto’s assassination conducted by foreign experts.

“We better know dynamics of the current situation which cannot be understood by foreign experts. We know how the assassination linked with our tribal areas and militant groups. Can Scotland Yard go to Waziristan and conduct the inquiry,” he asked.

In reply to a question about Baitullah Mehsud’s denial to the assassination of Ms Bhutto, the spokesman said: “Baitullah may deny his involvement in the murder, but we have ‘solid’ evidences that he was behind the killing.”

In his Friday’s press briefing, the spokesman had claimed that Mehsud was in the house of one Anwar Shah in the Makeen area, a town in South Waziristan.

When asked in Saturday’s press briefing that whether any attempt had been made by the government to trace the house of Al Qaeda leader, the spokesman said: “It is a part of investigation and we cannot share it with you.”

The PPP had termed the statement of the interior ministry issued on Friday about assassination of Ms Bhutto a pack of lies and said it was a fabricated story made to hide facts.

LOSS OF LIVES AND PROPERTY: Giving details of the loss of lives and property during the two-day violent protests across the country, the interior ministry spokesman said that 38 people were killed and 53 injured, 174 banks were gutted, 26 ransacked, 158 offices were burnt, 23 ransacked, 34 petrol stations were set ablaze and two damaged, 370 vehicles were set on fire and 61 damaged, 18 railway stations were torched and four ransacked, 72 train bogies were burnt, 765 shops, offices gutted and 19 offices ransacked.

POITICIANS ON THE HIT LIST: The interior ministry spokesman said that not only Ms Benazir Bhutto but many other political leaders were on the hit list of terrorists. Those on the hit list were: Mr Nawaz Sharif, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, former Interior Minister Arab Ahmed Khan Sherpao, former Railway Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed and former Minister for Political Affiars Amir Muqam.

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