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Bill Clinton visited Pak secretly: book

With credible hard intelligence that al-Qaeda had lined up its marksmen in Islamabad to assassinate him, the then US President Bill Clinton landed there secretly, off schedule in an unmarked plane and not in Air Force One, a book has claimed.

world Updated: Sep 30, 2009 17:04 IST

With credible hard intelligence that al-Qaeda had lined up its marksmen in Islamabad to assassinate him, the then US President Bill Clinton landed there secretly, off schedule in an unmarked plane and not in Air Force One, a book has claimed.

"He felt bad for the pilots who flew an empty decoy plane with the markings of Air Force One, but this nerve-racking mission was their job," said the Pulitzer Prize- Winning author and historian Taylor Branch in his book The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History with the President.

"Clinton landed secretly off-schedule in an unmarked plane, taking with him the smallest functional entourage 'consistent with the dignity of the United States'," Branch writes, referring to Clinton's visit to the Indian sub-continent in March 2000.

"On live television, he addressed the people of Pakistan ('Democracy cannot develop if it is constantly uprooted...'), and negotiated privately with General (Pervez) Musharraf about delicate topics from Kashmir and nuclear sanctions to terrorism.

"Early in April, days after Clinton's departure, Pakistani courts sentenced the deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to life imprisonment rather than the gallows," the book said, indicating it was also an offshoot of the Clinton visit during his presidency between 1993 and 2001.