Pakistan formally asked the United Nations on Friday to hold a high-level inquiry into the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
Ambassador of Pakistan Munir Akram met UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and submitted a letter by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi requesting the world body to investigate the murder of the PPP leader on Dec 27 last year.
According to sources at the United Nations, Mr Qureshi recalled the events in Pakistan which led to Ms Bhuttoï¿½s assassination and subsequent resolutions by Pakistanï¿½s national and provincial assemblies.
UN officials refused to divulge any information about contents of the letter.
Ambassador Munir Akram told Dawn that the UN chief had promised to respond to the request as soon as possible, but gave no timeline.
UN secretary generalï¿½s spokeswoman Michelle Montas confirmed at the official briefing that the UN chief had received the letter and said: ï¿½We are studying the letterï¿½. She refused to give any timeline on the response.
Earlier it was reported that Ambassador Akram had opposed the request for a UN probe and is believed to have briefed PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari on the ï¿½consequencesï¿½ of such a move. He was supported by former foreign secretary Riaz Mohammad Khan, who was reportedly removed for his opposition to such a probe.
Mr Akram said that the UN chief had promised him that he would study the letter and get back to him.
According to one scenario, the UN chief could order an investigation himself and appoint a commission. But if he deems that a much wider investigation is required he could ask the Security Council to order the investigation, like the one it instituted in the case relating to assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri.
In the Hariri investigation, the United Nations had spent over $45 million without reaching any conclusion.
The United States which heads the UN Security Council for the month of June would have to submit the request to the 15-member council to make a decision on ordering any such an investigation.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Zalmay Khalilzad had met former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in New York in September last year as the Bush administration worked out a deal with President Pervez Musharrafï¿½s advisers on the return of Ms Bhutto.
At a press encounter later, Ambassador Khalilzad called Ms Bhutto a ï¿½friendï¿½.
Foreign Minister Qureshi has said the international probe was being requested in accordance with the wishes of the people of the country manifested through resolutions adopted by the national and provincial legislatures.
Law Minister Farooq Naek justified the need for an international probe and said the government is of the view that international elements were involved in the assassination of the former prime minister.
He said that Al Qaeda, which has an international network, was suspected of being involved in the attack. Baitullah Mehsud is just one of the suspects, he said, adding that the entire network had to be uncovered. Mehsud had denied the charge.
He said that probing an international conspiracy was beyond the capacity of local investigators, constrained by resource shortage, and it would be more convenient for an international commission to undertake such an investigation.