Be 'Nice' To Me For Protection, Musharraf Told Benazir

H S Rao/London
Be 'Nice' To Me For Protection, Musharraf Told Benazir
Former military ruler Pervez Musharraf had warned Benazair Bhutto that if she wanted protection in Pakistan she should be "nice" to him, a top ex-aide of the assassinated leader has claimed.

According to the Sunday Times report, former premier Benazir had called Musharraf, then the President of Pakistan, seeking additional security for her.

"He told her, 'I warned you not to come back until after the elections," and threatened her, "I'll only protect you if you're nice to me," said Husain Haqqani, a former Bhutto aide who was living in the US and is now Pakistan's ambassador in Washington.

"Instead of stepping up her security, it was reduced," the report quoted him as saying.

She was even told not to travel in vehicles with tinted windows, as this was against the law of the local government.

She appealed to the American and British officials who had helped negotiate her return.

"I called everyone" said Haqqani.

"I even got the US ambassador in Pakistan, Anne Patterson, to visit her. It did not go well" he added.

"Patterson wasn't nice to her," said Bhutto's cousin and confidant, Tariq Islam.

"She harped on, 'You must not talk against Musharraf.' The Americans never trusted her."

The Sunday Times in its report by its correspondent wrote, "Benazir Bhutto was brought back to Pakistan from exile as part of an international deal. Then she was killed - and all traces of evidence were immediately swept away."

"I was with her on the truck in Karachi on October 17, 2007, the first time they tried to kill her; two bombs killed 150 people, but she survived," the correspondent wrote.

"Bhutto had no doubt who was behind it."

 She emailed Mark Siegel, a US Democrat strategist, who co-wrote her last book, on October 26: "Nothing will God-willing happen. Just wanted you to know if it does I will hold Musharraf responsible."

 Bhutto was assassinated on December 27, 2007 as she left an election rally in Liaquat Park, Rawalpindi.

 Back in Islamabad, the Musharraf government appeared to be in panic. Within an hour of the attack the scene had been washed down with high-pressure hoses, wiping out almost all the evidence, the report said.

Saud Aziz, then chief of Rawalpindi police, said he issued these orders after receiving a phone call from a close associate of Musharraf. The interior ministry said they were worried about "vultures picking up body parts".
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