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October 20, 2007
Bhutto Fingers ISI in Bomb Attacks
The day after an apparent suicide bomber tried to kill her, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto pointed the finger at the Taliban and al-Qaeda as well as specifically naming up to three individuals in the current Pakistani government who may have assisted those responsible for the attacks:
“I am not accusing the government, but I am accusing certain individuals who abuse their positions, who abuse their powers,” she said at a news conference of hundreds of journalists in the garden of her home in Clifton, an upscale neighborhood of the southern port city of Karachi. Bhutto's charges of ISI complicity in the attacks surprise no one. Musharraf himself has been the target of assassination attempts by al-Qaeda who almost certainly were assisted by elements in the intelligence organization. These factions are very unhappy with Musharraf's close cooperation with the United States in our efforts to pacify Afghanistan and destroy the Taliban.
“I know in my heart who my enemies are,” she added.
“There is a poem that says that even if you hide yourself behind seven veils, I can still see your hand.” While it was not possible to assess the veracity of Ms. Bhutto’s charges, she has long accused parts of the government, namely Pakistan’s premier military intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, of working against her and her party because they oppose her liberal, secular agenda.
Aides close to Ms. Bhutto said that one of those named in the letter was Ijaz Shah, the director general of the Intelligence Bureau, another of the country’s intelligence agencies and a close associate of General Musharraf.
Now along comes Ms. Bhutto who promises even greater cooperation with America in rooting out Islamic extremists in Pakistan, although she has been critical of our policy in Afghanistan. Her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was executed on what is widely believed to be trumped up charges by former Pakistani strongman General Zia who had strong backing from conservative Islamists who were becoming concerned about the secularization of the country.
The same holds true in spades today. The conservatives are much more powerful than in her father's time. And if they are dead set on trying to kill her, it seems only a matter of time before they succeed. As long as the Islamists are willing to give their own lives to take hers, she is in mortal danger.