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Letter to Pakistan's President Pervaiz Musharraf

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Following last week's terrorist attack on Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, U.S. Senators Joe Biden (D-DE), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Joe Lieberman (ID-CT) sent the following letter to Pakistan's President Pervaiz Musharraf:

President Pervaiz Musharraf
c/o The Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan
3517 International Court, NW
Washington, DC 20008

Dear President Musharraf:

We write to express our sympathy for the tremendous loss suffered by Pakistan in the October 18 suicide attack during a rally welcoming Pakistan Peoples Party leader Benazir Bhutto. The brutal murder of 140 Pakistani citizens in Karachi was a senseless tragedy, and we extend our condolences to you, to the victims' families, and to all of the people of Pakistan.

We believe this devastating attack serves as a stark reminder of the need for effective security mechanisms for the protection of all candidates and their supporters (particularly, although not exclusively, Ms. Bhutto and members of her party), who will be participating in the coming election. To this end, we ask you to take the following points under close consideration, as you and your government develop a plan to confront these serious challenges:

1. We believe it is very important to the democratic process that Ms. Bhutto be provided the full level of security support customarily afforded to any former Pakistani Prime Minister. One of the most important security provisions would be government-provided bomb-proof vehicles and jamming equipment, in order to protect Ms. Bhutto and other senior political leaders from roadside bombs and improvised explosive devices.

2. We are troubled by allegations—well-founded or not— of potential links between certain currently-serving or retired military or intelligence officials and extremist forces who might target secular politicians. In order to dispel any suspicion of complicity on the part of any past or present government officials, we urge you to ensure that any individual involved in (or alleged to have been involved in) past political action against Ms. Bhutto and her supporters be excluded from any part of the former prime minister's security detail.

3. We urge you to refrain from using security concerns as a rationale for imposing a ban on political rallies. We believe your government, like the governments of other nations afflicted by the scourge of terrorism, can adequately protect political leaders and their supporters without stifling the democratic process.

4. We urge the government of Pakistan to conduct a thorough and transparent inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the attack of October 18. We also encourage the government of Pakistan to accept whatever forensic, intelligence, and investigatory support from outside countries might be necessary to ensure a successful outcome to this inquiry. If the resources of the U.S. government would be helpful in bringing the perpetrators of this terrible assault on innocent Pakistanis to justice, we stand ready to facilitate the provision of such resources in any way we are able to do so.

We share the pain that you, and all Pakistanis, suffered at the brutal murder of 140 of your fellow citizens. We continue to believe in the critical importance of a strong friendship between the people of United States and Pakistan.

Sincerely,

Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
United States Senator

Joseph I. Lieberman
United States Senator

Patrick J. Leahy
United States Senator


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