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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
07ISLAMABAD4813
2007-11-09 12:24:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Islamabad
Cable title:  

CONVERSATIONS WITH BENAZIR BHUTTO

Tags:   AEMR  AMGT  KFLO  PGOV  PINR  PK  PREL 
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FM AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3124
INFO RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL PRIORITY 7739
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 2191
RUEHKP/AMCONSUL KARACHI PRIORITY 7977
RUEHLH/AMCONSUL LAHORE PRIORITY 4004
RUEHPW/AMCONSUL PESHAWAR PRIORITY 2529
RUMICEA/USCENTCOM INTEL CEN MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
						C O N F I D E N T I A L ISLAMABAD 004813 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/09/2017
TAGS: AEMR AMGT KFLO PGOV PINR PK PREL
SUBJECT: CONVERSATIONS WITH BENAZIR BHUTTO

REF: ISLAMABAD 04793

Classified By: Anne W. Patterson, Reasons 1.4 (b), (d)



1. (C) Summary: Ambassador spoke to Benazir Bhutto November
8 and 9 to express concerns for Bhutto's safety and to urge
her to consider the possible effect her rally and arrest
might have on polarization and violence in the country. They
spoke again mid-day as Bhutto was trying to leave her house
but was physically blocked. The GOP, through repeated
telephone appeals from NSA Advisor Tariq Aziz, wanted the USG
and (to a lesser extent the UK) to persuade her to cancel
her rally and to remain at home. (See reftel.) Bhutto
replied that she could not abandon the party activists who
had already been arrested. Bhutto has managed to back the
government into another embarrassing crackdown--and the
government stupidly fell into the trap--while not exposing
herself or her supporters to a dangerous public meeting. End
summary.



2. (C) Ambassador called Bhutto at 10:00 p.m., November 8, to
express deep concern for Bhutto's personal safety if she
proceeded with the rally. Bhutto said that she appreciated
USG concerns but she believed she had no choice but to go
ahead. She said she was concerned about the vagueness of
Musharraf's promise to take off his uniform and wanted
elections to take place in January. Bhutto predicted there
would be threats to her en route to the Rawalpindi rally and
at the site. She mentioned two of them, an attack en route at
an intersection and threats against the actual site in
Rawalpindi. Ambassador again urged her to take care of her
physical security.



3. (C) Ambassador called Bhutto again November 9 at 9:30 a.m.
to urge her to take into account the possible political
polarization and violence that might ensue if she pursued her
plans for a rally. Ambassador said the situation seemed to
be settling down and encouraged her to move in the direction
of moderation. Bhutto repeated her concern for the election
timetable and Musharraf's retirement as Army chief. She
stressed the Pakistani government had arrested senior members
of the Pakistan People's Party the previous night. The
government even arrested one PPP member and all his family
and guests. Bhutto stressed that if she did not support her
PPP members, her leadership of the party could be called into
question. She said she would keep the Embassy informed after
senior members of her party attempted to enter her house for
a meeting on November 9.



4. (C) On the afternoon of November 9, Bhutto called the
Ambassador to say she was attempting to leave her house.
Bhutto stated government authorities were preventing her from
departing but had not yet served her with an arrest arrant.
Police were surrounding her house. (Note: In a November 8
telephone conversation, National Security Advisor Tariq Aziz
urged Ambassador Patterson to intervene with Benazir Bhutto
and informed the Ambassador that, while an arrest warrant had
already been issued, Bhutto would not be arrested until she
attempts to leave her house. See reftel. End Note.)
PATTERSON