Benazir spoke of terror camps, bid to oust her

Four months before she was dismissed as Prime Minister of Pakistan for a second time, Benazir Bhutto spoke to U.S. officials about the existence of training camps that could be spawning terrorism, as well as an orchestrated plot to overthrow her.

A diplomatic cable ( >833: secret ) dated July 14 1996, accessed by The Hindu through WikiLeaks, records a conversation that Benazir had with American businessman and diplomat Frank Wisner and U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Thomas W. Simons Jr. It cites Benazir's concern about “picking up disturbing intelligence of the existence of religious madrassas and other institutions, including youth training camps which could be spawning terrorism.”

‘Saudi Arabian funding'

Benazir Bhutto is quoted as saying: “The most recent indications are that institutions of this nature are funded in Saudi Arabia,” Although she assumed that private finance was involved, Benazir had directed that the Saudi government be approached about this. Noting that foreign funding for such religious institutions in Pakistan is not new, she said the Iranians, the Libyans and the Iraqis had been providing it earlier.

Although the funding issue was discussed at a recent Cabinet meeting on law and order, the political context of the problem, according to Benazir , was “a fairly elaborate and articulated plot to overthrow the government.” According to her, the conspiracy involved Qasi Hussein Ahmed, Amir of the Jamait-i-Islami, and former ISI Director Hamid Gul, who was one of the “guiding forces.” It was Benazir who removed Mr. Gul as the head of the spy agency.

According to the cable, Benazir saw the conspiracy as beginning with opposition to the budget and then forging an “ever-broadening political movement with demands for a change of government.”

The Pakistan Cables are being shared by The Hindu with NDTV in India and Dawn in Pakistan

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Printable version | Jun 26, 2022 4:22:28 am |