IB chief one of the three persons mentioned by Bhutto

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Islamabad, Oct 20 (UNI) Pakistan's intelligence bureau (IB) chief was one of the three persons mentioned by former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in her letter to President Pervez Musharraf.

''The PPP leadership pointed their fingers at the head of the Intelligence Bureau Brig (Retd) Ejaz Shah, holding him responsible for the bombings,''The News reported today.

Ms Bhutto mentioned his name with displeasure a few days ago in London and claimed that Ejaz Shah was trying to sabotage reconciliation between the PPP and Gen Musharraf.

The newspaper quoted Ms Bhutto's husband Asif Ali Zardari as claiming that Shah had old links with Islamic radicals. He claimed that Shah was the person who managed the surrender of Omer Sheikh in 2002, a suspect in the killing of American wall street journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

Mr Zardari is sure that people like Ejaz Shah have encouraged Islamic radicals to attack his wife. In fact, Ejaz Shah was the home secretary of Punjab in 2002. He belongs to Nankana Sahib area of the Indian Punjab.

Mother of Omer Sheikh was also from Nankana Sahib. When the security agencies raided the house of Omer's grandparents in Nankana Sahib, Ejaz Shah contacted the uncle of the alleged terrorist who was a sessions judge at that time. The uncle convinced his nephew through Ejaz Shah to surrender and that was how Omer Sheikh was arrested.

Some PPP sources have said that the IB chief was the person who created the ruling PML-Q in the Punjab. He was also a key figure in breaking more than 20 members of the National Assembly from the PPP after the 2002 election.

He is considered a trusted confidant of Gen Musharraf, but he is also very close to the Chaudhries of Gujarat.

According to reliable sources, the PPP chairperson has declared not only Ejaz Shah but also the Chief Minister of Punjab, Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, as an enemy after her life in a letter written to Gen Musharraf recently.

Top government sources are not ready to agree with Ms Bhutto. They think that she should make an alliance with Gen Musharraf against terrorism instead of fighting with his old allies.

One source claimed that it was Brig Shah who was the head of anti-narcotics force in 1998, when the-then Nawaz Sharif regime tried to involve Mr Zardari in a narcotics case through him.

But he refused and later the Nawaz regime booked Mr Zardari in the same fake case through the Punjab police. It is also viewed by some government circles that the head of a civilian intelligence agency is a soft target for the PPP and the real target is the boss of Ejaz Shah, who is no doubt Gen Musharraf.

The PPP is trying to pressurise Gen Musharraf by targeting people like Ejaz Shah and Ch Pervaiz Elahi for getting some more concessions. It is also believed that this mistrust between the PPP and Gen Musharraf is not good for both of them.

However, the government has no plan to remove DG Intelligence Bureau Brig Ejaz Shah on the demand of Ms Bhutto, another media report said.

The DG IB is completing his contractual tenure in government service in February next year.

The former Prime Minister demanded his removal late Thursday night after the blasts rocked the public rally she was leading after her arrival in Karachi.

She had aired her reservations about the said officer earlier in London. The government has asked her to furnish any proof about the officer for her accusations.


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