President Zardari sought UAE haven for family: Wikileaks
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
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