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LUBP exclusive: “Sever ties with Taliban”, Benazir Bhutto advised Pakistan in 1998

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Dear readers,

I would like to share with you Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto’s important and private letter which she had sent to me in 2002 with regards to Afghanistan. The message helps us understand BB’s thinking and policy towards Afghanistan. I have removed the last part of message as it wasn’t related to the topic.

Thank you

Shiraz Paracha

 

From: MBB (sazdubai@emirates.net.ae)
Sent: 04 June 2002 20:02:44
To: bashir33 (xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx)
Cc: mohammed paracha (shiraz_paracha@hotmail.com); Dr. Javaid R. Laghari (xxxxxxxxx)

Dear Paracha Sahib,

 Thank you for the message informing about your recent visit to Afghanistan.Please extend my appreciation to Dr Rasool Amin Education Minister of the Interim Government of Afghanistan for his kind remarks about me.

I welcome your proposed joint initiative to launch a peace movement to promote peace ,progress,human rights and demilitarisation of South and Central Asia.The most populous region of the world comprising South and Central Asia which is rich in natural resources but poor in economic indicators deserves a better deal .An initiative to improve the quality of life of over one fourth of humanity in the aforesaid region can bank on my unqualified support.

Before launching the movement, however, there is a need to complete the home work and involve in that process a distinguished group of dedicated persons of proven integrity . There could be a need to wait for political dust to settle down in war torn Afghanistan before the proposed campaign can take off..The Loya Jirga will hopefully bring peace and stability in our immediate neighbourhood and prepare the ground for the kind of mission in mind.

As regards our relationship with Kabul it can not be overemphasized that Pakistan Peoples Party is the natural ally of post Taliban Afghanistan.

PPP was in forefront in opposing Taliban rule and the first Pakistani Party in 1998 to call upon Islamabad to sever ties with it.

Let me reiterate that only a democratic Pakistan can overcome the unnecessary bitterness of the past and help the war ravaged region to move in the direction of peace, stability and prosperity of the vast region under consideration. The establishment of civil rule in Pakistan will benefit not only the region but also the whole world immensely.

Meanwhile I endorse your proposed initiative, the details of which need to be worked out in consultation with all concerned. In this connection, I would depute Ambassador Bashir Malik in Islamabad to coordinate with you on the efforts. I am endorsing this note to Ambassador Malik.

On a separate note, I am associated with a non profit organisation called the SZABIST…….

 

Wishing good luck to your proposed mission,

Sincerely,

MBB

About the author

Shiraz Paracha

Mr. Paracha has worked as a journalist, with newspapers, television, radio and online companies in Britain, Central Asia and Pakistan. Between 1995 and1996, hosted and presented very popular television programs (Awami Forum and Awami Jirga) in Pakistan. His former employers include the BBC and Press TV among other notable names. Mr. Paracha is also a journalism professor and has taught journalism and communication courses at international universities outside Pakistan.

15 Comments

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  • Realities of history: BB and his close associate Maj. Gen. Naseerullah Babar played a key role in the creation of Taliban. The stuff you have printed is meaningless now.

    • You are right about General Babar but he did it without BB’s approval. I was witness to the developments in 1994 before and after the emergence of the Taliban. Babar had misled BB and was hiding important information from her. Babar and I had serious differences and my friends and I had challenged Gen. Babar’s Afghan misadventures but he wouldn’t listen.
      Babar had misused BB’s trust. One can say that she had to be careful.

      • Hamid Mir, in recent months (do not remember date, but can be dug out from Jang archives) has narrated, how BB explained the “goodness” of Taliban. It is difficult to buy in that the Prime Minister of Pakistan was being misled by his Interior Minister. There were other parties pushing for the creation of Tabilban — the UNICAL, Saudis and Pak. Military — to pluck hanging fruit of Tukmen Gas. BB, at the minimum, did not interrupt the process.
        Nevertheless, thank you for your honest account here!

      • I wont comment on what Hamid Mir sahib wrote. I am aware of his style as I know him since 1986-87 when he had started his journalism career. But regarding the Taliban BB was not fully aware of the situation. In 1994, Aftab Sherpao was CM of the then KP province. He, too, was kept in dark by Gen. Babar and his team. For example, at a meeting in Peshawar Gen. Babar was briefed prime minister Benazir Bhutto and Rustum Shah Mehmond, who is now in PTI and is an expert on Afghanistan, was assisting Gen. Babar. They were preparing ground for the Taliban project without saying it. I was sitting next to CM Sherpao and could see how uneasy he was during the briefing. As a civil servant Mehmond was instrumental in creating Afghan Mujahideen groups in the early 1980s. He would distribute money among the seven groups. He had connections with foreign masters so did Gen. Babar. Gen. Babar was the interior minister but he would put his nose in foreign affairs particularly in matters related to Afghanistan. Gen. Babar had relations with so-called Afghan Mujahids since 1970s. Gen. Babar was classmate of Gen. Fazal-e-Haq and during the Zia regime Babar had made many, many secret trips to Afghanistan. He was spooks’ bedfellow and was never a PPP man. In my opinion BB’s big mistake was her blind trust in Babar and giving him so much power. She considered him a fatherly figure and trusted him because he had worked with Bhutto sahib and he claimed to be an expert on Afghanistan. BB had realized her mistake that was why she had turned against the Taliban several years before the 9/11 incident. She had called upon the Nawaz government to sever ties with the Taliban.

      • Yeah right. We have seen a bunch of people like you who like to whitewash history. The fact of the matter is that Benazir not only knew about what her uncle Naseerullah Babar was doing but she fully backed him. In fact your Benazir visited Afghanistan in the early 90′ after some Pakistani truck were hijacked in Afghanistan.

  • yes every pakistani ruler made mistakes to work on the points of the army. That is why today there is no a single friend of pakistan and the whole world blem on pakistan for every evil accured elsewhere. Now tell me paracha sab what would be the future of such policy, to be stood behind such policy pakistan could remain as state or not ?.plz explain it

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