Islamabad: Osama bin Laden was supervising the plot to assassinate two-time Prime Minister and PPP leader Benazir Bhutto and for this the former Al Qaeda chief had shifted to Afghanistan, according to intelligence gathered by Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence, a media report said on her 10th death anniversary on Wednesday.
According to a report in The News International, the explosives to execute the assassination were provided by the courier of Osama bin Laden.
This information was provided to the Interior Ministry in December 2007 by the Pakistan Army and the ISI in three reports as well as in letters obtained from the former Al Qaeda chief’s residence.
In the secret intelligence reports, the Interior Ministry was warned that bin Laden had issued orders to kill then-President Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan People’s Party’s former chairperson Benazir Bhutto and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Fazlur Rehman.
Bhutto was killed along with 21 people in a gun-and-bomb attack outside Rawalpindi’s Liaquat Bagh during an election campaign rally on December 27, 2007.
According to the documents received by The News International correspondent, the most important letter by the ISI to the Ministry of Interior was written on December 19, 2007. The letter was directed to the Interior Ministry’s then-director coordination of the Crisis Management Cell Colonel Muhammad Imran Yaqub.
The letter, titled “President Musharraf, Benazir Bhutto and Fazlur Rehman’s murder plan”, read: “We have received this information that Osama bin Laden has issued the order to kill President Pervez Musharraf, Benazir Bhutto and Fazlur Rehman. He (Laden) has planned to send his courier, who is a national of Pakistan and a resident of Multan, named Musa Tariq, through Waziristan with explosives to be used in executing the murder plots.
“On coming Sunday — which is December 22 — this person will be in the area of Dera Ismail Khan,” it read.
The letter’s last three lines read: “Osama bin Laden is personally supervising this entire plan and for this reason, he has shifted to Afghanistan.”
The ISI requested the Interior Ministry to make urgent security arrangements. The copies of the letter were also dispatched to the Military Intelligence Directorate, General Staff Branch and General Headquarters, Rawalpindi.
After receiving the letter from the ISI, the General Staff Branch of the Military Operations Directorate of General Headquarters sent a letter to then-Interior Secretary Syed Kamal Shah on December 20.
Six days before Bhutto’s assassination, another letter was issued warning about the murder plots.
Before both of these letters were written, on December 11, 2007, ISI’s then-chief Lt. Gen. Nadeem Taj’s Colonel for DG Intelligence Fayyaz Hussain Chaudhary had written a letter to then-chief of the Crisis Management Cell of the Interior Ministry.
It was mentioned in the third letter that the terrorist and extremist groups related to Al Qaeda had planned to murder Bhutto and her then-security adviser Rehman Malik during the election campaign.
In the letter, the Interior Ministry was requested to make adequate security arrangements. Following Bhutto’s assassination, a short letter was sent to Laden after two days.
The text of the letter read: “We have taken revenge for our brothers and sisters of Jamia Hafsa and Lal Masjid.” It was recovered from Laden’s home.