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CIA paid prize money for terrorists: Musharraf

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September 28, 2006 00:16 IST

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf may be under pressure from the United States to withdraw some passages from his book In the Line of Fire, but experts believe that Musharraf may be telling the truth for a change.

In the chapter titled 'Manhunt', Musharraf gives statistics of the number of Al Qaeda terrorists arrested by Pakistan and how many of them were handed over to United States. "We have captured 689 and handed over 369 to the United States. We have earned bounties totalling millions of dollars. Those who habitually accuse of "not doing enough" in the war on terror should simply ask the CIA how much prize money it has paid to the government of Pakistan," he writes on page 237.

Then he gives instances of some specific terrorists captured by Pakistan including Abu Zubeida, a Palestinian national whose real name is Zain-ul-Abideen for which Pakistan was paid a reward of $5 million.

One of the most interesting comments that Musharraf makes in the book seems to have gone unnoticed. He calls Maulana Masood Azhar as a fake maulana. "When he was released by India as part of the bargain for their hijacked plane... he (Azhar) feared that we would hand him back to India," he claims in his book.

Musharraf's book comprises 352 pages, including reference and has been priced at $28 (Rs 950) in India currently.

"We have great demand for the book. We normally give discounts to encourage sales, but this book is in short supply and we have sold out all the copies that we had booked," said a sales executive of Jain Book Agency.

Musharraf gives detailed description of his flight to Karachi from Colombo after he was dismissed by Nawaz Sharif as the chief of army staff.

In the chapter 'Plane to Pakistan', Musharraf lays bare his anxiety when he learnt that his plane was not being allowed to land anywhere in Pakistan and he was not able to contact his trusted commanders.

"'We have hardly an hour's worth of fuel left,' the pilot told me... The whole thing seemed diabolical. Since India was the country closest to us, we would have no option but to go there, given our dangerously low fuel. This would put us in the hands of our most dangerous enemy, against who we had fought three full blown wars," he writes.

But luck was on his side and he was relieved when he heard the voice of one his trusted generals on the cockpit microphone.

"Two books are selling on the Kargil controversy, one written by our former foreign minister Jaswant Singh entitled Call of Honour and now we have Musharraf giving his version of the conflict. We know the Pakistan president has exaggerated his claims on the so-called victory in Kargil, but has inadvertantly admitted that it was the Pakistan army which was fighting in Kargil and not terrorists or militants," a top ranking intelligence official told

Onkar Singh in New Delhi