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Bhutto 'suspicious of regime'

  • Story Highlights
  • Benazir Bhutto suspects some regime members over last week's bombing
  • The former Pakistani PM said she had written to President Musharraf
  • She has called for an independent inquiry into the blasts that killed 136 people
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(CNN) -- Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto told CNN she suspects members of President Gen. Pervez Musharraf's regime may have been indirectly involved in last week's suicide bombing that targeted her convoy.

Benazir Bhutto said she had written to General Musharraf about "certain people."

"I have written to General Musharraf about certain people, some of whom are not in government, and some of whom are in the security and administration of this regime," Bhutto told CNN International on Thursday, when asked about suspicions about Musharraf's regime that she voiced shortly after the Oct. 18 attack.

"I know General Musharraf trusts them, I respect his trust in them, but I also have my own suspicions," she said. "All I'm asking is that, please, let an independent inquiry investigate this matter so that it can be laid to rest."

She said she became a target of militants in Pakistan nearly 20 years ago.

"It started way back in 1988 -- I know who the people were who brought Osama bin Laden back to Pakistan after the end of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

"I have not gone public with the names because I do not want to have an adversarial position with General Musharraf."

Bhutto stressed that Musharraf's regime must go beyond identifying the single suicide attacker and rout out the financiers and sponsors of the October 18 attack and other militant attacks on Pakistani forces and civilians.

The suicide bombing that targeted Bhutto's convoy in Karachi last Thursday killed 130 people hours after her arrival in the southern port city of Karachi.

She said the incident involved two attacks, the first of which targeted the police guards surrounding her convoy. She credited her bodyguards with thwarting the second attack, which was aimed at her.

"The only reason that the rest of us on the truck survived was because the bodyguards surrounded my truck and did not allow the second attack to take place on my truck," she said. "Otherwise all of us would have been dead."

Those on the truck sustained minor injuries, including Bhutto, who said her eardrum was perforated by the loud sound of the explosion.

She said she is asking Musharraf for "basic security," including permission to use vehicles with tinted windows, and private guards in addition to the police guards.

Despite the security risks, Bhutto said she intends to visit her constituency and ancestral village on Saturday, noting that the decision to return to Larkana was "a very big dilemma."

"I do not want to risk the life of another single person, but my colleagues and I have thought long and hard and we feel that if we will not take the risks of traveling then in fact the militants and their sponsors, organizers and financiers will succeed in stopping the democratic process," she said.

No one has claimed responsibility for the Oct. 18 suicide attack, but Pakistan has said it suspects al Qaeda may have been behind the bombing. A senior U.S. official said the attack "bears the hallmarks" of an al Qaeda attack, and noted the group has threatened Bhutto before.

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Bhutto returned to Pakistan last week after eight years in self-imposed exile. She intends to seek a third term as prime minister, possibly under a power-sharing deal with Musharraf.

Despite the possible deal, Bhutto has been highly critical of Musharraf's response to the build-up of Taliban and al Qaeda militants within Pakistan's borders. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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