Malik says no question of bin Laden, Zawahiri being in Pak

Pakistan Monday strongly denied reports that the world`s most wanted men -- al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and his deputy Aiman al-Zawahiri – were hiding in the country.

Karachi: Pakistan Monday strongly denied reports that the world`s most wanted men -- al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and his deputy Aiman al-Zawahiri – were hiding in the country.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik said the al Qaeda bigwigs were in no way present in Pakistan and asserted that his government had already assured the international community that it will share all information on terrorists.

"I categorically deny the presence of Osama bin Laden, his deputy Aiman al-Zawahiri and even Mullah Omar in any part of Pakistan," Malik told a news conference here.

A CNN report Monday said that bin Laden and al-Zawahiri may be hiding close to each other in houses in northwest Pakistan, protected by some members of ISI.

Malik said the government has assured the world community that it will cooperate fully in sharing information about the terrorist leaders.

Replying to a question, Malik said there are lacunae in anti-terrorism laws that facilitate the release of accused who make confessional statements to the police.

"The federal and provincial governments have given their recommendations to the Law Ministry to look into the loopholes," he said.

He said the federal government was deeply concerned about a fresh wave of targeted killings in Karachi and is working on various proposals of the Sindh government to tackle
this problem which recurs after every two or three months.

Over 30 people, most of workers linked to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and the Awami National Party, have been gunned down in Karachi over the past few days.

Malik said law enforcing agencies had arrested several accused allegedly in these killings and they confessed to their crimes while admitting their affiliation with one or
the other political party.

Referring to his meetings with law enforcing agencies, he said that nobody will be spared if they are found involved in any criminal activity.

Action will be taken against such persons even if they belong to the MQM, ANP or the ruling Pakistan People`s Party, he said.

The police force of Sindh does not have enough manpower to control crimes and had approached the federal government to induct an additional 10,000 personnel to tackle
law and order problems.

"Karachi is the heart and the economic hub of the country and we need to give it due importance," he said, referring to concerns of foreign investors and local
residents.

PTI

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