Pakistan's military-led former government failed to protect former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto before her 2007 assassination and intelligence agencies hindered the subsequent investigation, a U.N. commission concluded in a report released Thursday.
The three-member investigative panel issued a scathing report Thursday afternoon, concluding that the suicide bombing that killed Bhutto "could have been prevented" and that police deliberately failed to pursue an effective investigation into the killings.
Bhutto had returned from a self-imposed, eight-year exile to run in the country's general elections two months before her assassination and already had escaped one attempt on her life. She was killed in December 2007 by a 15-year-old suicide bomber while campaigning in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi, the seat of the country's military.
"No one believes that this boy acted alone," the report states. "A range of government officials failed profoundly in their efforts first to protect Ms. Bhutto, and second to investigate with vigor all those responsible for her murder, not only in the execution of the attack, but also in its conception, planning and financing."
A spokesman for then-President Pervez Musharraf said Friday the government offered adequate protection for Bhutto.
"I believe the government at the time did whatever they thought was reasonable," said Muhammad Ali Saif, a spokesman and adviser to the former president.