Benazir called Musharraf from Lantos’s office: Source

November 14th, 2007 - 1:53 am ICT by admin  
“She made the call from the office of Congressman Tom Lantos, the powerful chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs,” The Dawn reported.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice telephoned both Musharraf and Benazir to ensure that they had reached an agreement, the source added.

The next day, the Pakistan Government announced that it would drop criminal cases pending in Pakistan against Benazir.

The two telephone calls contradict the State Department’s repeated assurance that while the US backs the formation of “a moderate political centre in Pakistan, it does not favour any particular candidate or party.”

Congressman Lantos, who enjoys good relations with Musharraf, played a key role in incorporating democratic reforms as one of the conditions for the continued US assistance to Pakistan to a new law that the US Congress passed earlier this year.

Neither Ms Bhutto nor the congressman publicly discussed the conversation but the sources said that Mr Lantos spoke briefly with President Musharraf and then passed the phone to the PPP leader.

Meanwhile, following a fresh security threat issued by a pro-Taliban insurgent leader Baitullah Mehsud to target Benazir, the US has expressed its concern over it.

“We don’t accept Musharraf and Benazir because they only protect US interests. They’re only acceptable, if they wear the Pakistani glasses,” Mehsud was quoted as saying.

Responding to this threat call, Benazir said “I know there are security risks, people who want to kill me and to scuttle the restoration of democracy.” (ANI)

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