KARACHI: Former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf has declared the claim of Mark Siegel as ‘false, fabricated, fictitious and malicious.’
In a message posted by him on social media today, Musharraf stated that he strongly and unequivocally rejects the claim of Siegel, a close advisor, paid lobbyist and co-author of the last book of the former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.
“I am shocked and amazed at Mr. Siegel’s assertion that I made a threatening phone call to Ms. Bhutto.”
The former president went on to say that besides meeting Benazir twice in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), he only spoke to her once in his life on the phone after she had returned to Pakistan in October 2007.
“In that conversation, I shared with Ms. Bhutto, intelligence information that was conveyed to me personally by the leadership in UAE, indicating suicide bombers were planning an attack against her.”
Former president further said that he finds the testimony of Siegel despicable and finds the implications to be libelous with malicious intent.
“Mr. Siegel’s statement also compels me to inquire from him, why did he choose to omit this fabricated claim from the last book of Ms. Bhutto: Reconciliation, Islam, Democracy and the West, which he co-authored and was published after Ms. Bhutto’s assassination.”
Musharraf added that, “It is also widely known in the public domain, that Ms. Bhutto wrote a letter to me a few days before her return to Pakistan in October 2007, in which she had expressed threats from General Hamid Gul, Brigadier Ejaz Shah, and Chaudhary Pervaiz Elahi. If I had also threatened her, I wonder why she would write to me to solicit protection from these gentlemen.”
Musharraf further said that, “It is also extremely mystifying as to why former president Zardari, who Mark Siegel claims was also present with Ms. Bhutto when she received this threatening phone call from me, has never mentioned it and did not pursue this claim aggressively while he was the president of Pakistan for five years.”
On Thursday, key witness, journalist and lobbyist Mark Seigel said in his recorded statement that Benazir Bhutto received a threatening call from Musharraf three weeks prior to her arrival in Pakistan.
His statement in the Benazir Bhutto murder case was recorded at the Pakistan Embassy in Washington in presence of a judicial officer via video link to an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Rawalpindi.
While recording his statement, Seigel broke into tears as he spoke about Benazir.
He went on to say that the call to Benazir was received on September 25, 2007 as she was sitting in the office of US Senator Tom Lantos.
Seigel added that as the phone rang she showed him her phone screen which said ‘Musharraf’.
He further said that after receiving the call she seemed very disturbed.
He went on to say that Musharraf in his phone call said to Benazir that her life is in danger and that her involvement in any political activities in Pakistan will be her own responsibility.
According to Seigel, Musharraf also said to Benazir in his phone call, “Your security is dependent on the relationship between us.”
Seigel said that Benazir emailed him to say that if she was killed then Pervez Musharraf would be held responsible.