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What a teary Benazir said in her 'last' interview
January 04, 2008 15:12 IST
Last Updated: January 04, 2008 15:14 IST
In perhaps what can be called as her last interview, slain former Pakistani premier Benazir Bhutto [Images] wept, talked about her father's parting advice and expressed fears that terrorists were trying to kill her.
The special issue of US magazine Parade, due for release on January 6, has Bhutto on the cover and carries what it calls is her last interview. Parade's reporter Gail Sheehy was with Bhutto while she was campaigning across Pakistan for the general election before her assassination on December 27.
"You can walk away. You're young. You can go to live in London [Images] or Paris or Geneva," Bhutto's father Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, who was executed by a military regime in 1979, advised his daughter.
"No," Bhutto told him. "I have to keep up this mission of yours, of democracy," reads the interview, which has been uploaded on parade.com.
Asked if she had "healed" since then, Bhutto said, "I feel that a wrong must be righted." During the course of two exclusive interviews to Sheehy, Bhutto wept. "During our talk in Larkana, Bhutto weeps in describing her struggles after being ousted 12 years ago on charges of plundering the treasury. Her husband was jailed without charges.
"She faced constant harassment by the courts. Even while living with her three children in self-imposed exile in London and Dubai, she could not open a bank account or use a credit card because of the charges against her in Pakistan," wrote Sheehy.
"I didn't have the press, I didn't have the judiciary, I was all alone," Bhutto whimpers. As if on cue, tears fall. "I only had God," she moans.
In the interview, Bhutto insisted that there were no foreign bank accounts in her name.
When Sheehy suggested that they could be in the names of her mother or of friends, she feigned surprise.
Rejecting allegations that she was involved in siphoning funds from the UN oil for food programme for Iraq, Bhutto said, "Six other companies in Pakistan did it. Nobody investigated them."
Bhutto told Sheehy she first heard of Osama bin Laden in 1989 "when he sent $10 million to the ISI, Pakistan's infamous intelligence service, to help it overthrow her first government."
"I was ignorant of the extremist war of these new radical Islamists until my second term," Bhutto said.
"I am what the terrorists most fear, a female political leader fighting to bring modernity to Pakistan. Now they're trying to kill me."
Asked about the suicide bombing of her rally in Karachi on October 19 that killed 140 people, Bhutto said, "I had a sickening, sickening feeling."
Sheehy also quoted Bhutto's niece Fatima, who said, "She'll work with anyone to get back into power."