Bhutto said Musharraf failed to protect her

PAKISTANI opposition leader Benazir Bhutto blamed President Pervez Musharraf for failing to protect her in the volatile months preceding her assassination, an e-mail released by US media showed.

If harmed in Pakistan, 'I wld (would) hold Musharaf (sic) responsible', Ms Bhutto wrote in the October e-mail, revealed on air on Thursday by CNN journalist Wolf Blitzer, who received it from Ms Bhutto's friend and US spokesman Mark Siegel.

'I have been made to feel insecure by his minions,' Ms Bhutto wrote of Mr Musharraf, detailing security measures which she said were not granted her after her return to the volatile country.

'There is no way what is happening in terms of stopping me from taking private cars or using tinted windows or giving jammers or four police mobiles to cover all sides cld (could) happen without him.'

Mr Siegel told the channel that Ms Bhutto had asked authorities to provide protection including a four-car police escort and jamming devices against bombs, but had not received them.

The news channel revealed the e-mail hours after Ms Bhutto, 54, was killed in a suicide attack on Thursday at an election rally in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi that sparked worldwide condemnation.

Ms Bhutto sent the email to Mr Siegel on Oct 26, a week after a suicide bombing targeted her shortly after her return to Pakistan from exile. Mr Siegel said Pakistan failed to investigate that attack.

Ms Bhutto asked for the e-mail to be forwarded to the media if she was killed.

Mr Musharraf placed Pakistan under emergency rule from Nov 3 to Dec 15, citing security fears, cracking down on opponents ahead of elections scheduled for Jan 8.

Ms Bhutto had returned amid negotiations with Mr Musharraf on a power-sharing deal.

'As we prepared for the campaign … Bhutto was very concerned she was not getting the security that she had asked for,' said Mr Siegel, who had collaborated with Ms Bhutto on a book on Islam and the West.

'She basically asked for all that was required for someone of the standing of a former prime minister. All of that was denied to her,' he added. 'She got some police protection, but it was sporadic and erratic.'

Pakistan's ambassador to United States, Mr Mahmud Ali Durrani, rebuffed the charges. 'The government of Pakistan provided all the security that was necessary,' he told CNN. 'There was a bubble around her of security.'

'It's just a blame game, and the problem is the real terrorists that have been after her.' — AFP