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Benazir dares Musharraf to capture Osama

Bhutto has said that detaining Osama is not in Musharraf's interest, as it will deprive him of the justification for his rule.

india Updated: May 12, 2006 14:33 IST

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has dared President Pervez Musharraf to capture Osama bin Laden.

Detaining the Al-Qaeda founder is not in Musharraf's interest "because that will deprive him of the justification for his rule", she said in a TV interview in Dubai.

"If General Pervez Musharraf catches Osama, he will this way cease the justification of his rule. He will lose the justification of his rule. Musharraf will not give up his leadership. He cannot want to commit political suicide by arresting Osama," Bhutto said.

Bhutto alleged that bin Laden financed efforts to throw her out of office and commissioned Ramzi Yusuf to assassinate her.

Bhutto, who has been living in exile for several years, pointed out that that during the Tora Bora operation in 2002, Musharraf asked the US to leave the matter to him saying that the Pakistan Army would arrest Osama. However, she added, he did not do so.

Answering a question, she claimed that following the disintegration of the USSR some Arab militant leaders and Pakistani generals planned to start war against the US.

"However, I vetoed this plan. Thereafter, Osama started his endeavours to pull down my government. Ramzi Yusuf tried to assassinate me."

Bhutto said that Ramzi Yusuf had tried to blow up the World Trade Towers and added that the US then sought cooperation of her government, Dawn newspaper reported.

"I offered to US authorities to set up the FBI office in Pakistan in 1993 so that effective action could be launched to eliminate terrorism. As a result Ramzi Yousuf was arrested."

She said the Saudi king had told her in 1989 that he had not provided money to destabilise her government.

"The adviser to Saudi king told one of my ministers that Osama provided $10 million for toppling my government," she said, adding that terrorist activities began after the dissolution of her government in 1990.

She told the TV channel that after the dissolution of her government in 1996, Osama re-established camps and stared recruiting people.

She said people feared that elections would be rigged. However, US President George W. Bush underlined the need for holding polls in a fair and transparent manner. "In November 2007, elections could be held," she observed

Locked in a political battle, Bhutto, along with her arch political rival and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, is preparing to return home in time for elections.

But she is facing court cases in Switzerland and prosecution on several counts at home by the National Accountability Bureau.

Musharraf has said that all these cases were instituted by Sharif and that his government had not added a single case in the last six years in office.

First Published: May 12, 2006 13:22 IST