Osama bin Laden used to finance, support Nawaz Sharif, reveals former ambassador

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s former ambassador to the United States Abida Hussain has said that Osama Bin Laden had supported and funded former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

During an interview with a private news channel, Hussain said: “Yes, he (Osama Bin Laden) supported Mian Nawaz Sharif at one time. However, that is a complicated story. He (Osama) used to extend financial assistance (to Nawaz Sharif).”

Abida, also an ex-cabinet member of Nawaz Sharif’s government, recalled that at one time Osama Bin Laden was popular and liked by everyone including the Americans but at a later stage, he was treated as a stranger.

She said she was appointed as an ambassador during the first premiership of Nawaz Sharif after she lost the election.

During her stint as an envoy to the US, the Pakistani official disclosed that most of her communication used to be with President Ghulam Ishaq Khan. Khan had tasked her to keep the Americans engaged in talks till Pakistan completes its nuclear program in 18 months.

The US administration including the diplomats, senators, and congressmen used to advise Pakistan against the execution of the nuclear program, she revealed.

Responding to a question, Hussain said though she used to be spied on in the US, she did not undertake any suspicious activity which could be used against her by intelligence agencies.

When asked about the source of communication between her and President Ishaq Khan in absence of modern tools, Hussain revealed she visited Pakistan five times to get briefings from the president during 18 months

However, she used to avoid using the phone knowing that it could be tapped. Since the nuclear program was under the purview of the president, she said most of her conversations used to be with him, and not the prime minister.

“This is also because President Ghulam Ishaq Khan did not trust anyone,” she maintained.

When asked about whether Nawaz felt bad for bypassing him and directly communicating with the president, she said: “He never expressed it.”

Abida Hussain said though Pakistan had started its nuclear program in 1983 during the Ziaul Haq regime it was completed in 1992. The Pakistani official also revealed that she was made ambassador on the president’s recommendation.