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'Pakistan sheltered Osama with Musharraf's knowledge'

Last updated on: December 24, 2011 22:40 IST

'Pakistan sheltered Osama with Musharraf's knowledge'

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In a sensational claim, a former Pakistan army general has said that Osama bin Laden had been kept in a "safe house" of the country's Intelligence Bureau in Abbottabad with "full knowledge" of the then ruler Pervez Musharraf and possibly current Army chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani.

General Ziauddin Butt, who was appointed as the Pakistan Army chief by the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif but could not take over as Musharraf seized power in a coup on the same day on October 12,1999, had reportedly made the claim at a conference in October.

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Image: Osama's mansion in Abbottabad, Pakistan


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'Pakistan sheltered Osama with Musharraf's knowledge'

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"In spite of denials by Pakistani military, evidence is emerging that elements within the Pakistani military harboured Osama bin Laden with the knowledge of Musharraf and Kayani," said an article quoting Butt on the website of Washington-based think tank Jamestown Foundation.

According to his knowledge, the former Director General of Intelligence Bureau Brigadier (retired) Ijaz Shah, "had kept Osama bin Laden in an Intelligence Bureau safe house in Abbottabad," Butt has said.

The website claimed that "the revelation remained unreported because some intelligence officers had asked journalists to refrain from publishing General Butt's remarks".

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Image: Osama bin Laden


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'Pakistan sheltered Osama with Musharraf's knowledge'

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The report said Butt repeated his statement in an interview to Dawn News TV channel earlier in December, saying, "he fully believed that (brigadier) Ijaz Shah had kept this man (bin Laden in the Abbottabad compound) with the full knowledge of General Pervez Musharraf. Ijaz Shah was an all-powerful official in the government of General Musharraf".

Asked whether Kayani knew of this, he first told the TV channel, "yes, but later reconsidered: [Kayani] may have known -- I do not know -- he might not have known."

However, Butt failed to explain why bin Laden was not discovered even after Brigadier Shah and General Musharraf had left the government.

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Image: An aerial view, released by the US Department of Defence, shows Osama's compound


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