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“Musharraf blocked Bhutto from hiring U.S. bodyguards”

Benazir Bhutto had tried to hire American and British security professionals to protect her, the (London) Sunday Telegraph reports today.
But President Pervez Musharraf refused to allow the foreign personnel into Pakistan to help, according to Mark Siegel, Bhutto’s U.S. spokesperson. “She and her husband repeatedly tried to get visas for such protection, but they were denied by the government of Pakistan.”
Following the suicide bomb attacks that killed more than 140 during her homecoming parade on October 19, Bhutto had tried to bring in guards from the American Blackwater private security firm, and from the London-based Armor Group, which guards British diplomats in the Middle East. A Blackwater spokesman yesterday confirmed that Bhutto had approached them.

The report will add to the controversy over Bhutto’s security arrangements, which have been criticized as completely inadequate given the dangers she faced.

Tom GrossTom Gross is a former Middle East correspondent for the London Sunday Telegraph and the New York Daily News.

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