Washington, Oct 16: Former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has said she suspects that some retired military officers have aligned to Islamic extremists who could be plotting her assassination on her return to the country.
The Guardian reported that a Taliban commander, Baitullah Masood, has threatened to deploy suicide bombers against her, but Benazir said that the real threat came from within the military establishment.
"I'm not worried about Baitullah Masood, I'm worried about the threat within the government," she said, adding, "People like Baitullah Masood are just pawns. It is those forces behind him that have presided over the rise of extremism and militancy in my country."
She singled out as her most potent enemy retired military officers "who have fought the jihad".
"They have a lot of supporters and sympathisers within the echelons of administration and intelligence," Christian Science Monitor quoted her, as saying in the report.
Reacting to Benazir"s allegation, a government minister called it a "ridiculous claim."
Meanwhile, elaborate security arrangements have been made for her returns to Pakistan on Thursday. Thousands of security forces and bulletproof cars will be used to shield her.