Musharraf ‘knew Bin Laden was in Abbottabad’: Former ISI chief

Gen. (retd) Ziaudd­in Khwaja says the Abbott­abad compou­nd ‘was made to order’ by a former intell­igence...

Web Desk February 15, 2012

Former president Pervez Musharraf was aware of Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad location and the safe house where he was sheltered was built by Pakistani intelligence agencies, according to a former Inter-Services Intelligence chief.

In an article for American news website The Daily Beast, former Central Intelligence Agency official Bruce Riedel quoted former director-general of the ISI General (retd) Ziauddin Khwaja as saying that Musharraf “knew Bin Laden was in Abbottabad”.

Musharraf has earlier categorically denied having knowledge of Bin Laden’s location or that the terrorist was in Pakistan. 

Khwaja, also known as Ziauddin Butt, allegedly said that Bin Laden’s safe house in Abbottabad “was made to order” by Brigadier Ijaz Shah, a former head of the Intelligence Bureau.

“Ziauddin says Ijaz Shah was responsible for setting up Bin Laden in Abbottabad, ensuring his safety and keeping him hidden from the outside. And Ziauddin says Musharraf knew all about it,” Riedel wrote in the article.

Shah, who the assassinated premier Benazir Bhutto had linked to a failed plot to kill her, has been closely linked to Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, a British-born Kashmiri terrorist who was imprisoned in India in 1994 for kidnapping three Britons and an American. Saeed was part of the plot to kidnap journalist Daniel Pearl and turned himself in to Shah.

However, Butt told Geo News that he had been misquoted in the article but refused to give details of what he had said which could have been misconstrued.

Butt was appointed to head the ISI by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and served at the post from 1997 to 1999. He was the first head of the army’s Strategic Plans Division, which controls the nuclear arsenal.

Riedel, however, notes that Butt had “a motive to speak harshly about Musharraf”. Nawaz had promoted Butt as the army chief in October 1999 when he tried to fire Musharraf who then launched a bloodless coup and deposed Nawaz’s government. Butt eventually spent two years in solitary confinement, was discharged from the army and his property was confiscated.

Riedel further wrote: “We don’t know who was helping hide Bin Laden but we need to track them down. If (Musharraf) knew, then he should be questioned by the authorities the next time he sets foot in America”.


Tony C. | 9 years ago | Reply

@Cautious: Dear Cautious, I am not quite sure what your timing is in this disastrous, U.S. created conflict, but if the Bush administration knew that Pakistan was caring for Osama Bin Laden why did they attack Afghanistan, and remove the Taliban Government ? It is my understanding that President Bush was conveniently, and perhaps incorrectly, holding the Taliban fully responsible. But then apart from continually telling lies the Americans usually shift position when it become convenient or when they decide upon a new strategy. For example, after fully training, and supplying the various militants (freedom fighters) some years ago, and who have now got out of hand (out of American control), they cannot blame the Taliban Government any more, or the Kabul Puppet Government so they are blaming the Pakistan Government, military, I.S.I. for all the problems they created. That is, Pakistanis are the only ones left to blame now the U.S. have got rid of all the other culprits. However, give the Americans time and they will find someone else to blame if it becomes necessary.

Tony C. | 9 years ago | Reply

This article is not really worth wasting time on, but I will. It basically boils down to some retired official reporting what some retired official told some retired official about Bin Laden being installed in an Abbottabad mansion, and that former President Mussaraf knew about it. In the whole sorry episode, all I have been able to deduce is that six U.S. helicopters flew several I hundred kilometers all across Northern Pakistan, a twenty minute gun fight took place, a U.S. helicopter blew up in flames, another was disabled, none of the mansion windows were broken, presumably a third helicopter managed to get down and pick up Osama Bin Laden's body, take it all the way across Pakistan to Afghanistan, get it to an American aircraft carrier somewhere and then drop it into the sea. Whilst all this was happening President Obama and staff watched the whole thing on television, but have not released any video footage of the incident in several months, and the navy personnel who carried out the operation were all killed a few weeks later. So what do we have ? Cent. Comm. said that they were having trouble navigating the Afghan/Pakistan border region in broad daylight and that caused the recent aircraft shoot up of 40 dead and injured Pakistani troops, in Salala, who were well inside Pakistan. However, with Abbottabad they say they crossed right across Pakistan at night, singled out a single home, created mayhem for twenty minutes and were then allowed to peacefully make their way home to Afghanistan after at least one helicopter blew up, and another crashed. As a result, we do not have is a body, no video footage, and no reliable witnesses. I am a little confused, but I think President Mussaraf is quite safe.

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