Thursday May 19, 2022

Osama supported, funded Nawaz: Abida Hussain

January 31, 2021

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

“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,” she said in an interview with a private television channel.

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.

She said during her stint as envoy to the US, most of her communication used to be with president Ghulam Ishaq Khan.

Khan had tasked her to keep the American engaged in talks till Pakistan completes its nuclear programme in 18 months.

She said the US administration including diplomats, senators and congressmen used to advise Pakistan against execution of nuclear programme.

To a question, she said though she used to be spied in the US, she had no such suspicious activity which could be used against her by the intelligence agencies.

Asked about the source of communication between her and President Ishaq Khan in absence of modern tools, she said during 18 months, she visited Pakistan for five times for briefing from the president.

However, she used to avoid using phone knowing that it could be bugged.

As the nuclear programme was under the purview of the president, she said, most of her conversation used to be with him, not the prime minister.

This is also because President Ghulam Ishaq Khan did not trust anyone.

Asked whether being a prime minister, Nawaz Sharif did not 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 programme in 1983 during Ziaul Haq regime, it was completed in 1992. She also revealed that she was made ambassador on the president’s recommendation.