‘Mullah Omar, al-Zawahiri not hiding in Balochista
Last Updated: Thursday, August 04, 2011, 23:53
Islamabad: The Chief Minister of Pakistan's restive Balochistan province Thursday said Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar and al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri were not hiding in the region.

Chief Minister Aslam Raisani made the remarks during a meeting with US Ambassador Cameron Munter in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan.

Raisani also denied the existence of the Quetta Shura, a grouping of Afghan Taliban leaders that the US believes is based on the outskirts of the provincial capital.

Following the killing of Osama bin Laden in a covert operation by American special forces in the garrison city of Abbottabad on May 2, the US has called on Pakistan to take steps to capture or kill several other top terrorists, including Mullah Omar, al-Zawahiri and Ilyas Kashmiri.

In recent weeks, Balochistan has witnesses a spike in sectarian and militant violence.

Nearly 20 members of the minority Shia community were gunned down in the province.

Raisani contended "some elements" wanted to incite sectarianism in Balochistan and claimed there were no differences between the ethnic Baloch and Pashtuns.

He backed a policy of reconciliation to avert confrontation. In an earlier meeting with provincial assembly speaker Mohammad Aslam Bhotani, Munter said Balochistan is important for the US and solving the problems of the province was a priority.

He told the media that the US will continue to provide financial aid for ongoing projects and new dams in Balochistan.


First Published: Thursday, August 04, 2011, 23:53

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