Benazir urged US for "security detail" two months before murder
Islamabad, May 22(ANI): Former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto had requested the United States to "provide her with a security detail" just two months before her assassination, but the US Embassy in Islamabad 'strongly recommended' against doing so.
Pakistan People's Party (PPP) leader Bhutto died in a gun and bomb attack as she was leaving Liaqat Bagh in Rawalpindi after addressing a public rally on December 27, 2007.
Two WikiLeaks cables sent from the US Embassy in Pakistan to Washington detail Bhutto's meeting with the then US Ambassador to Pakistan, Anne Patterson on October 23, 2007.
"Bhutto requested, in writing, that USG "undertake an evaluation of existing executive security procedures and recommendation of additional resources necessary for maximum
safety." Ambassador recommends that we meet with members of her staff and provide list of security contractors who could provide this assessment," said a cable.
"We strongly recommend against providing a U.S. Government evaluation, which will inevitably expose performance gaps that would not meet American standards of training and equipment. Responsibility for security belongs with the Government of Pakistan. We will keep stressing to both sides that government and Bhutto's party must work directly together to resolve any questions or issues regarding Bhutto's personal security," it added.
On October 23, 2007, Patterson called on Bhutto at her home in Karachi, said another cable, noting that the then PPP chairman opened the meeting by expressing her dissatisfaction with the government's investigation of the October 19 bombing that targeted her homecoming procession in Karachi.
It quoted Bhutto as saying that she was still receiving threat information, and that she claimed that the Sindh Government had informed her that if she goes to Larkhana (her ancestral home), she would be attacked.
"Bhutto asked the Ambassador if it would be possible for the USG to provide her with a security detail. The Ambassador responded that she was aware of two cases, President Karzai of Afghanistan and President Aristide of Haiti, in which the USG provided personal security and both were heads of state. She added that American security would
not be consistent with the movements of a political campaign," the cable added. (ANI)
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