April 16th (BBC News) - The assassination of ex-Pakistani PM Benazir Bhutto in 2007 could have been prevented and the subsequent inquiry was bungled, according to a UN report.
It says insufficient security measures were taken by the government of then President Pervez Musharraf.
And it concludes that the police deliberately failed to investigate the murder properly as they feared intelligence agency involvement.
An aide to President Musharraf said the report was a "pack of lies".
The independent UN commission of inquiry urges the authorities to launch a "credible, serious" investigation into Ms Bhutto's death at a rally in the city of Rawalpindi "and bring those responsible to justice".
Its report says that the pervasive presence of Pakistan's powerful politicised intelligence agencies hampered the initial inquiry.
"The commission believes that the failure of the police to investigate effectively Ms Bhutto's assassination was deliberate," the report says.
"These officials, in part fearing intelligence agencies' involvement, were unsure of how vigorously they ought to pursue actions, which they knew, as professionals, they should have taken."
The report criticises the intelligence agencies for conducting parallel investigations, gathering evidence which was only selectively shared with the police.
Speaking at a news conference at the UN in New York, the head of the commission, Heraldo Munoz, said: "A range of government officials failed profoundly in their efforts, first to protect Ms Bhutto and second to investigate with vigour all those responsible for her murder, not only in the execution of the attack but also in its conception, planning and financing."
One of President Musharraf's aides, Rashid Qureshi, told the BBC: "The report makes absurd statements. The inquiry was not well conducted."
He insisted that President Musharraf was not in charge of Pakistani security at the time of the assassination as he had already resigned as head of the army.
Ms Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party (PPP) - led by her widower, current President Asif Ali Zardari - said it was satisfied with the inquiry.
Senior party leaders told the BBC that the findings were "exactly what they had been saying all along".
And a presidential spokesman, Farhatullah Babar, said efforts to track down the perpetrators behind the assassination would be redoubled.