Islamabad: In a U-turn from his earlier remark, Pakistan's former defence minister Ahmed Mukhtar on Wednesday denied that top civilian and military leadership had knowledge of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's presence in the country.
Mukhtar, who was Pakistan's defence minister between 2008 and 2012, termed the clips of his interview being shown on an Indian TV channel as "utter nonsense" and "totally misquoted", the Dawn reported.
In those clips, Mukhtar is shown to be agreeing to the idea that Pakistan's top civilian and military leadership may have known about Osama's presence in the country much before the US Navy SEALs killed him in a raid in 2011.
Pakistan former president Asif Ali Zardari, then army chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and joint chief of staff all knew that Osama was in Pakistan, Mukhtar had told an English TV channel.
"Regarding the interview being shown on news channel, and having been the defence minister, I categorically deny and consider these statements utter nonsense and totally misquoted," Mukhtar told Geo News.
He added that if Pakistan knew about Osama residing in Pakistan, it would have taken action against him.
"The statements have been taken out of context...For example, if we knew about Osama Bin Laden, then we would have taken action ourselves much earlier," he said.
Osama was killed in Abbottabad on May 2, 2011 in a raid by the US Navy SEALS.
Pakistan has been claiming that it was unaware of Osama's presence in the country until the US Navy SEALs killed him.