Control Bhutto’s foes: US Senate to Musharraf


Islamabad : The US Senate has urged Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf “in plain words” to “purge” the security apparatus of “elements involved in past political action” against former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and ensure her foolproof safety.

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This is the second letter from the Senate to Musharraf asking him to take “extraordinary measures” to ensure Bhutto’s safety in the wake of the Oct 18 Karachi suicide attack on her.

The letter was submitted to the Pakistani embassy in Islamabad Tuesday.

The letter “has asked Musharraf to ensure that any individual involved in past political action against Benazir and her supporters be excluded from any part of the former prime minister’s security detail, as it is not easy to change the perception and suspicion of these folks as enemies”, The News reported Thursday.

The Senate also urged Musharraf to refrain from using security concerns as a rationale for imposing a ban on political rallies.

“We believe your government, like the governments of other nations afflicted by the scourge of terrorism, can adequately protect political leaders and their supporters without stifling the democratic process,” The News quoted the letter as saying.

“If the resources of the US government would be helpful in bringing the perpetrators of this terrible assault on innocent Pakistanis to justice, we stand ready to facilitate the provision of such resources in any way we are liable to do so,” the letter added.

US President George W. Bush has staunchly supported Musharraf as an ally in the Washington-led war against terror.

Reports say the US brokered Bhutto’s return home as part of a deal under which her Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) would share power with the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) after general elections due early next year.