Pres­i­dent Zar­dari sought UAE haven for fam­ily: Wik­ileaks

The Pak Banker - - Front Page -

DUBAI: Pres­i­dent Asif Ali Zar­dari sought a pledge from the United Arab Emi­rates to al­low his fam­ily long-term refuge - as they did for his late wife - if he died or was killed, ac­cord­ing to a se­cret diplo­matic cable re­leased by Wik­iLeaks.

Asif Ali Zar­dari's wife, for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Be­nazir Bhutto, spent part of her eightyear self-ex­ile in Dubai be­fore be­ing killed in a sui­cide blast in 2007 af­ter re­turn­ing to Pak­istan.

The memo said the UAE's For­eign Min­is­ter, Sheik Ab­dul­lah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, told high-rank­ing US of­fi­cials in Jan­uary about Zar­dari's request. The leaked cable said Sheik Ab­dul­lah stressed "the sen­si­tiv­ity of the in­for­ma­tion".

It's not known whether the ap­peal was granted by the UAE's pres­i­dent, Sheik Khal­ifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Emi­rates of­fi­cials were not avail­able Thurs­day to com­ment on the re­port be­cause of a na­tional hol­i­day.

Sep­a­rate US diplo­matic memos re­leased on Wik­iLeaks por­tray Zar­dari, who took power in 2008, as wor­ried about plots against his life by po­lit­i­cal ri­vals.

Be­sides Be­nazir Bhutto, the UAE has in the past pro­vided a tem­po­rary haven for em­bat­tled po­lit­i­cal fig­ures and their fam­i­lies, in­clud­ing Chechen strong­man Sulim Ya­ma­dayev and for­mer Thai Prime Min­is­ter Thaksin Shi­nawa­tra.

Pak­istan's pow­er­ful army chief gen Ash­faq Pervez Kayani told a top Amer­i­can diplo­mat that his es­tab­lish­ment wanted re­sump­tion of back chan­nel talks with In­dia, but Pres­i­dent Asif Ali Zar­dari is against it, ac­cord­ing to a se­cret US cable leaked by Wik­iLeaks. Kayani told this to the then US am­bas­sador to Pak­istan Anne Pat­ter­son dur­ing a two-hour long meet­ing in Oc­to­ber 2009, de­tails of which are given in the se­cret cable.

The United States has termed the re­lease of these se­cret doc­u­ments as il­le­gal and an act of crime.

"Kayani said that Am­bas­sador should talk to Zar­dari about restart­ing the back-chan­nel where it 'left off'. He was not sure that Zar­dari was quite will­ing to wade into these po­lit­i­cal wa­ters yet," the cable said. -PB News

IS­LAM­ABAD: H.H. Lt. Gen Sheikh Mo­ham­mad Bin Isa Bin Sal­man Al-Khal­ifa, Com­man­der Na­tional Guards of Bahrain called on Prime Min­is­ter Syed Yusuf Raza Gi­lani at PM House. -App

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