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Benazir says she may allow US attack to eliminate Osama

October 02, 2007

WASHINGTON, Oct 1: Former prime minister Benazir Bhutto said on Monday that she might allow a US military strike inside Pakistan to eliminate Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden if she were the country’s leader.

“I would hope that I would be able to take Osama bin Laden myself without depending on the Americans. But if I couldn’t do it, of course we are fighting this war together and (I) would seek their cooperation in eliminating him,” Ms Bhutto said in an interview with the BBC World News America.

Ms Bhutto, who has vowed to return to Pakistan on Oct 18 after eight years of exile, was speaking less than a week before an Oct 6 election that President Pervez Musharraf is expected to win despite his slumping popularity.

Asked by the BBC whether she would agree to let the Americans take action against Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, Ms Bhutto said her decision would depend on the strength of the evidence. “I think one really needs to see the information. So I would really, really need to see the evidence,” she said, according to a transcript of the BBC interview.

“But if there was evidence, my first reference would be to go in myself and if ... there was a difficulty on that I’d like to cooperate with the Americans.”

Ms Bhutto has remained in exile rather than face corruption charges at home. On Monday, one of her lawyers filed an application for bail in case authorities arrests her when she returns.—Reuters