Musharraf was hostile when he telephoned Benazir: Siegel
* BB’s confidante says Musharraf offered to drop charges if she quit politics for 10 years
* Former premier emailed him asking whom to hold accountable after October 18 incident
LAHORE: Former president Gen (r) Pervez Musharraf was hostile and had a confrontational discussion with former premier Benazir Bhutto before her return to Pakistan, a private TV channel quoted Benazir’s close friend and adviser Mark Siegel on Friday.
Siegel said Musharraf had telephoned her when she was with him in the US to discuss her return to Pakistan. He said Benazir later told him about the conversation saying Musharraf confronted her, as he did not want her to return to Pakistan.
“It wasn’t a very good conversation. He was very confrontational. He seems to be very hostile. He didn’t want her to return,” Siegel said. “She made it clear that she was returning and the preparations were underway for her return.”
Strike a deal: Siegel said right after the 2002 general elections, Musharraf offered Benazir a deal for dropping charges against President Asif Ali Zardari, releasing him from prison and giving him a ministry of his choice if she agreed to bid goodbye to politics for the next 10 years.
He said Benazir was sitting with him when Zardari telephoned her from prison and told her he had been offered a deal. “He (Zardari) said he won’t accept the deal under any conditions and would rather spend the rest of his life in jail,” Siegel said describing his relations with Zardari.
Email: Moreover, he said Benazir had sent him an email after the October 18 attack in Karachi, asking what she should do and whom to hold accountable if something happened to her. “Even though I was stunned at her death, I knew I had to continue doing what she told me to,” he said. “No matter how devastated I felt, I had to go forward and that’s when I released that email to CNN.”
He did not elaborate on the email, but said it asked him to hold Musharraf responsible in addition to those mentioned in her October 16 letter to the military ruler via the UAE embassy in Pakistan. He said her email talked about threats to her life and the denial of security she had asked for. Siegel said he had also asked the US government to directly ask Musharraf for Benazir’s security.