ISI chief warned Bhutto of assassination ahead of her murder

ISI chief warned Bhutto of assassination ahead of her murder

ISI chief warned Bhutto of assassination ahead of her murder

Pakistan's slain prime minister Benazir Bhutto was warned of an imminent assassination threat by ISI chief hours before a fatal attack in an election rally that resulted in her death in 2007.

Bhutto, the two-time prime minister, was killed on December 27, 2007 as she came out of Liaquat Bagh park in Rawalpindi after addressing a huge election rally.

Bhutto's then security officer, senior superintendent of police Imtiaz Hussain, told an anti-terrorism court (ATC) that ISI director general Lt Gen Nadeem Taj and his deputy Maj Gen Ehsan met Bhutto on the night between December 26 and 27, 2007 to discuss her security, the Dawn reported.

Recording his statement recently before the ATC in Rawalpindi, Hussain said Lt Gen Taj and Maj Gen Ehsan tried to persuade Bhutto not to address the Liaquat Bagh rally.
"The former prime minister had told me that intelligence agencies, the ISI chief and Maj Gen Ehsan had informed her about the security threat to her life," he said.

The ISI chief's meeting with Bhutto lasted a couple of hours.

She was told that the army had received information from different sources, including intercepts, that suicide bombers had entered Rawalpindi and they could kill her before, during or after the public meeting.

Hussain, who is a prosecution witness in the Bhutto murder case, said in his statement that Benazir had directed him to travel with her, along with his weapon, and sit in the vehicle on the front seat alongside the driver.

She was attacked as she popped out of sunroof to wave her supporters outside the part.

Hussain said after the rally when they were on Liaquat Road she fell in the vehicle and her blood began oozing out.

He also said that Bhutto died of her injury before reaching the hospital.