ISLAMABAD, Oct 22: President Gen Pervez Musharraf has made an amendment to his controversial autobiography In the Line of Fire dropping the portion relating to payment of millions of dollars to Pakistan by CIA for arresting and handing over Al Qaeda suspects to the United States.
The alteration has been included in the book’s Urdu edition titled Sub Sey Pehlay Pakistan that was launched here on Saturday.
The amendment has been made in the opening paragraph of chapter 23 titled Taaqub (Manhunt) that highlights the role Pakistan played in capturing Al Qaeda suspects after 9/11 attacks on the US.
Pointing to the fact that Pakistan had captured 689 Al Qaeda members and handed over 369 of them to the US, the president notes on page 237 of the first edition: “We have earned bounties totalling millions of dollars. Those who habitually accuse us of ‘not doing enough’ in the war on terror should simply ask the CIA how much prize money it has paid to the government of Pakistan.”
In the Urdu edition, the reference to having “earned bounties totalling millions of dollars” and prize money has been dropped.
Within two days of his book launch in New York President Musharraf had admitted having made a ‘mistake’ and indicated that an amendment was in order.
“That is my error. It doesn’t come to government of Pakistan. I should not have written that and I’m going to amend it in the future copy certainly,” he told journalists in New York on Sept 27.
His response to a question whether those dollars were staying in Pakistani economy was: “The money is certainly in Pakistan’s exchequer, in other words in Pakistan, its not anywhere.”
However, on being prompted by Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri, the president corrected himself, saying: “In our economy. Not in the exchequer.”
The Urdu version published by Ferozsons is a hard-bound edition containing 411 pages and priced at Rs495. Initially 20,000 copies have been published.
It is believed that Sehba Musharraf and president’s former deputy military secretary Brigadier Asim Saleem Bajwa, who now commands the 111 Brigade, played an active role in the publication of the Urdu edition.
The translation itself is the work of the president’s brother-in-law. Apparently, it was on their advice that the president changed the title which according to him made more sense in the Pakistan context and as he put it: “Pakistan always remains foremost in mind.”
President Musharraf has repeatedly appreciated the ‘hard work and loyalty’ of Brigadier Bajwa, the man without whom he says his book would not have been possible.
While expressing his gratitude for Mr Bajwa again on Saturday at the book launch, the president said: “He has just been promoted.” However, he hastened to add: “But that’s not because of the book!”