29 Dec 2007

Differing Reports on Bhutto Death

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IBNNews reports that Pakistan’s government has denied that she died of bullet wounds at all.

Mystery shrouds the death of former Pakistan prime minister Benazir Bhutto. In an explosive revelation, Pakistan’s Interior Minister Hamid Nawaz on Friday said that Bhutto did not die of bullet wounds.

Nawaz said that Bhutto died from a head injury. At least seven doctors from the Rawalpindi General Hospital – where the leader was rushed immediately after the attack – say there were no bullet marks on Bhutto’s body.

The doctors have submitted a report to the Pakistan government in which they say that no post-mortem was performed on Bhutto’s body and they had not received any instructions to perform one.

“The report says she had head injuries – an irregular patch – and the X-ray doesn’t show any bullet in the head. So it was probably the shrapnel or any other thing has struck her in her said. That damaged her brain, causing it to ooze and her death. The report categorically says there’s no wound other than that,” Nawaz told a Pakistani news channel.

Government sources say there will be an investigation to determine why no autopsy was conducted.

According to agency reports doctors at the Rawalpindi General Hospital tried desperately for 41 minutes to revive former prime minister Bhutto after she was shot but failed in their efforts.

Bhutto was declared dead 41 minutes after she was brought the hospital’s emergency department at 1735 hrs (local time) (1805 hrs IST) with open wounds on her left temporal bone from which “brain matter was exuding”, the report said.

It said Bhutto was not breathing at the time and her pulse and blood pressure “were not recordable”.

IANS adds: According to the report, “immediate resuscitation (process) was started” and she was taken to the operation theatre where she was attended by a team of doctors headed by Musaddiq Khan, principal of the Rawalpindi Medical College, Dawn reported Friday.

“Left antrolateral thoracotomy for open cardiac massage was performed,” the hospital report said, adding: “In spite of all the possible measures she could not be revived and (was) declared dead at 1816 hrs IST (6.16 p.m.).”

An autopsy was not carried out at the hospital “because the district administration and police had not requested the hospital authorities (for this)”, the report said.
Bhutto was shot not far from where Pakistan’s first prime minister Liaquat Ali Khan was killed by an assassin’s bullet on Oct 16.

Nasir Jaffry, a correspondent for Agence France-Presse, who was present at the assassination, reported that in its immediate aftermath:

A truck came from the local fire brigade. They took their hoses and started spraying water on the street, trying to wash away the blood.

And all forensic evidence.

CNN quotes an aide from Bhutto’s political party, who insists that she was shot.

Sherry Rehman, Pakistan People’s Party information secretary, said it was clear that the former Pakistani prime minister suffered bullet wounds to her head, contrary to a government report that she died because she hit her head on a sunroof lever.

Cheema noted that if Rehman — as she said — believes she saw bullet wounds that caused Bhutto’s death, “We don’t mind if the People’s Party leadership wants her body to be exhumed and post-mortemed. They are most welcome, but we gave you what the facts are.”

Cheema emphasized that the government’s conclusion on the cause of death was based on “absolute facts, nothing but the facts.”

“It was corroborated by the doctor’s report; it was corroborated by the evidence of the footage we showed you.”

Rehman — who had been riding in the car behind Bhutto’s when it was attacked — called the government’s conclusion that Bhutto was not shot “the most bizarre, dangerous nonsense.” Watch Sherry Rehman’s interview with CNN »

“It’s beginning to look like a cover-up to me,” Rehman said in a CNN interview.

Rehman said Bhutto was hemorrhaging on the way to the hospital and that the two cars used to get her there were blood-soaked.

“There were clear bullet injuries to her head,” said Rehman. “When we bathed her we saw that.”

This 0:50 video shows the gunman firing three shots.

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