Zardari didn’t want Barhamdagh in Pakistan: WikiLeaks


ISLAMABAD: A diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks has quoted President Asif Ali Zardari as telling former US Ambassador Anne W Patterson that he would ask his Afghan counterpart to keep the renegade Baloch leader, Barahamdagh Bugti, in Afghanistan.
Zardari’s comments clearly breached the country’s policy since 2007, as Islamabad had time and again pressed Kabul to hand over Bugti to Pakistan for trial. “Ambassador Patterson had asked Interior Minister Rehman Malik several times about the status of Barahamdagh Bugti, who is in exile in Afghanistan.
(Readers will recall that the status of Bugti was a major bilateral irritant between Afghanistan and the Musharraf government, since Musharraf wanted Bugti ‘deported’ to Pakistan by Karzai to ‘face justice’ for participation in separatist activities. “Bugti was now involved in conflicts for supremacy in his tribe,” revealed the diplomatic cable sent by former US ambassador Anne W Patterson on January 5, 2009.
The Pakistan-Afghanistan relations worsened during former president Pervez Musharraf’s rule in 2007, as the Afghan president had allegedly offered refuge to Baloch insurgents. Musharraf time and again asked Karzai to handover Bugti to Pakistan so that he could be tried for treason. The PPP-led government has time and again publicly held Afghanistan responsible for providing safe heavens to Baloch
insurgents led by Barhamdagh Bugti. A close confidant of President Zardari, Interior Minister Rehman Malik has also repeatedly held Afghanistan and India responsible for the unrest in Balochistan.