| Musharraf at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London on Tuesday. (AFP)
London, Dec. 7: Scotland Yard was tonight investigating a breach of security around General Pervez Musharraf after top secret documents covering details of the police protection accorded to the Pakistani President were found lying in a London street.
The documents were in a brown A3-sized envelope outside Marco Pierre White's exclusive Mirabelle restaurant in Curzon Street, Mayfair, and were picked up by a delivery driver hours before the President and his wife flew into Heathrow.
The driver handed the envelope to the Daily Mirror, which gave the documents to the police but has also carried a detailed story about the breach of security.
The main 17-page document was titled, 'Visit of His Excellency General Pervez Musharraf, President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan', and signed by metropolitan police commissioner John Stevens.
The paper reproduced a section reading: 'Protection officers deployed in plain clothes carrying firearms can be identified by the wearing of a ********** [section blanked out].'
Details of three police radio channels, a Command Channel, Working Channel and Security Channel, were also given in the dossier. Another section explained how to identify the armed plainclothes police officers assigned to protect the President, who has come for talks with Prime Minister Tony Blair and to urge the Pakistani community not to 'hide' their women and be otherwise 'backward'.
The documents also revealed the hotel where the President and his entourage were staying and featured maps showing the General's movements.
According to the Mirror, Musharraf is 'the world's No. 3 assassination target after President Bush and the (British) PM'.
'General Musharraf is a prime assassination target for Islamic fundamentalists since backing the US-led war on terror,' the paper explained. 'He has already survived two attempts on his life.'
The paper consulted a former senior police chief, John Stalker, who has considerable experience of tackling IRA terrorism.
Commenting on the documents, he told the Mirror: 'They're dynamite. This is a terrible security gaffe.'
He added: 'If terrorists had got hold of this, it would have been a death warrant not only for Musharraf but for the British hosting him. It's astonishing the keeper of these absolutely sensitive documents could be so blase not to look after them properly. This could have been disastrous. These sort of documents should have been under lock and key.'
In the document were the names of the 10 senior officers assigned to Musharraf and their call signs; the direct line phone number for the special operations room at New Scotland Yard; locations at specific times and call signs of special branch and anti-terrorist officers, plus nine maps detailing intelligence on protests.
The police deny Musharraf's life was at risk but a spokesman said that its directorate of professional standards was investigating, adding: 'We immediately reviewed operations.'
To be fair to Musharraf, he does come across as a moderate in his views. Last night, for example, in a soft interview with presenter Kirsty Wark on BBC TV's Newsnight, he said hiding women under veils was wrong.
'I don't believe in that,' he said, passing a message to the ultra-orthodox sections of Britain's Pakistani community, among whom honour killings of women have been high. 'This is a backward view of the religion. This is a totally backward view of Islam and I don't believe in it, and this is exactly what I meant when we are saying that in Pakistan the vast majority is moderate. My wife is travelling around. She is very religious but she is very moderate. So this is a very backward view.'
Musharraf was asked whether he would let the International Atomic Energy Authority speak directly to A.Q. Khan, who helped Pakistan develop the nuclear bomb, but also allegedly gave nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea.
He replied: 'We have no inhibitions of not passing the information on, so why shouldn't they be trusting us' Will anyone who comes and meets him be more capable than our organisation, than us' So I think it's... it's thinking that we are just incapable or we are not trustworthy.'
Further questioned on whether there was a remote chance, because of Khan's actions, that Osama bin Laden could eventually get his hands on some kind of nuclear capability, he replied: 'I don't believe in alarming... he is not competent, he cannot produce a bomb.'