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New ‘Al Qaeda’ assassination threat for Benazir

October 24, 2007

KARACHI, Oct 23: Pakistan People’s Party chairperson Benazir Bhutto has received assassination threats from a terrorist while there were reports on Tuesday that the government has put her name on the Exit Control List, to which the PPP has taken serious exception.

According to Ms Bhutto’s lawyer Farooq H. Naek, the threat was contained in a letter posted to him from Rawalpindi and was lying in a room of the Islamabad Bar Association where he had gone in connection with Ms Bhutto’s case in an accountability court.

He told Dawn that the two-page letter in Urdu contained derogatory remarks about Ms Bhutto, besides threat to assassinate her. Written by “the head of suicide bombers and a friend of Al Qaeda and Osama”, it also contained threat that women commandos and suicide bombers could also be used to get the PPP chairperson eliminated, Mr Naek said, adding that the matter had been brought to the knowledge of the authorities.

Ms Bhutto’s lawyer said he had also approached the interior secretary to seek withdrawal of the letter the government had written to Interpol for issuing red warrants against the PPP chairperson. He maintained that since Ms Bhutto was back in the country, the reason for issuing red warrants did not exist.

He also said that he had information that Ms Bhutto’s name had been put on the ECL. He demanded that it should be removed because it was against her fundamental right.

Through another letter, Mr Naek demanded of the Sindh home secretary to allow the PPP chief to move in a vehicle with tinted glasses and to provide necessary security staff in view of the security threat.

Commenting on the new threats, PPP information secretary Sherry Rehman told Dawn that Ms Bhutto remained undeterred and had asked for security for all political leaders, not just herself.

“Acts of terrorism occur in many neighbouring countries, but the democratic process remains uninterrupted. The Mohtarma seeks a similar uninterrupted democratic process through free and fair elections and a peaceful transition to representative civilian rule in Pakistan,” she said.

When asked about the investigation, Ms Rehman said the PPP had received no satisfactory answers so far.