‘Pakistan bribed 9/11 commission’


New Delhi, March 19, 2006

Pakistan gave tens of thousands of dollars through its lobbyists in the United States to members of the 9/11 inquiry commission to convince them to drop anti-Pakistan findings from the report, according to Islamabad daily The Friday Times (TFT). The news report said this was disclosed by Foreign Office officials to the Public Accounts Committee at a secret meeting held last Tuesday.

The final 9/11 commission report only mentioned that “The country’s vast unpoliced regions make Pakistan attractive to extremists seeking refuge … Almost all the 9/11 attackers travelled the north-south nexus of Kandahar–Quetta–Karachi.” It recommended that the US should help President Pervez Musharraf with a comprehensive aid effort for Pakistan.

Now Pakistan Foreign Ministry sources have reportedly told TFT that the 9/11 commission left out information damaging to Pakistan from its report after commission members were paid to do so. The TFT story cites Foreign Ministry sources as saying “dramatic changes” were made in the final draft of the report after a meeting between lobbyists and Commission members.

The story emerged after the Pakistan Public Accounts Committee grilled Foreign Ministry officials about millions of dollars given to lobbyists for unknown reasons.

The Foreign Office has defended the decision to hire lobbyists in the US, saying — rightly — that it is a common practice.