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Pakistan offers to exhume Benazir Bhutto

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12/29/2007 01:24 PM
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Pakistan offers to exhume Benazir Bhutto
The Pakistan government today offered to exhume the body of Benazir Bhutto, as the row over the murdered opposition leader's cause of death intensified.

The Interior Ministry claims the former leader died after hitting her head on her car's sunroof during the suicide attack, a version of events that the Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, has said he has no reason to contradict.

Benazir Bhutto waves to crowds moments before the attack that killed her
Watch: Cameraman captures moment gunshots were fired

But Miss Bhutto's party dismissed the official account, branding it as "ludicrous" and a "pack of lies". One aide who bathed Miss Bhutto's body before her burial said she saw a gunshot wound in her head.

The Interior Ministry today said it was willing to exhume Miss Bhutto's body if her party requested, to quash rumours of a cover-up.

Tensions in Pakistan have boiled over since Miss Bhutto's assassination on Thursday.

The viability of the country's forthcoming elections was thrown into doubt today after the election commission said it would hold an emergency meeting to assess the impact of the violence raging across the country.

The unrest, which followed the killing of Miss Bhutto, led to the destruction of nine polling stations, including the voter rolls inside, the commission said in a statement.

The election, planned for Jan 8, is seen as a crucial step in restoring stability and bring democracy back to this nuclear-armed nation.

"All activities pertaining to pre-poll arrangements, including printing of ballot papers and logistics as well as training of polling personnel, have been adversely affected," the commission said.

In some places the security situation was "not conducive" to holding the elections, which Miss Bhutto had come home from exile in October to take part in.

The country's remaining opposition leader, Nawaz Sharif, has already indicated that his party will boycott the election.

Miss Bhutto's spokeswoman Sherry Rehman said that th Pakistan People's Party (PPP) will decide whether to take part in January's elections at a meeting on Sunday.

Rioting over the killing of Miss Bhutto, estimated to have caused billions of rupees worth of damage, continued across Pakistan, as Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf ordered security chiefs to take firm action against looters.

More than two dozen people have been killed nationwide since her assassination. Business centres, gas stations and schools across the country remained closed and many roads were deserted.

Mr Sharif and other opposition leaders met with Bhutto's family to express their condolences.

Earlier, Miss Bhutto's husband said that she had left instructions about the future of the PPP to be read in the event of her death, which would be made public on Sunday.
[link to www.telegraph.co.uk]