Four months before she was dismissed as prime minister for a second time in 1996, Benazir Bhutto spoke to US officials about the existence of training camps that could be spawning terrorism, as well as an orchestrated plot to overthrow her.
A diplomatic cable dated July 14, 1996, accessed by The Hindu through WikiLeaks, records a conversation that Benazir had with American businessman and diplomat Frank Wisner and US Ambassador to Pakistan Thomas W Simons Jr. It cites Benazir’s concern about “picking up disturbing intelligence of the existence of religious madrassas and other institutions, including youth training camps which could be spawning terrorism.”
Benazir is quoted as saying: “The most recent indications are that institutions of this nature are funded in Saudi Arabia.” Although she assumed that private finance was involved, Benazir had directed that the Saudi government be approached about this.
The Pakistan Cables are being shared by The Hindu with NDTV in India and Dawn in Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 23rd, 2011.