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Osama is not in Pakistan: Interior Minister

By H S Rao
November 30, 2009 20:20 IST
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Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik asserted on Monday that Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is not in his country and if anyone provided information about him the government would take action.

"If anyone has information about the presence of Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan, then it must be shared with our government. We would take action," Malik told media-persons in London.

His comments come in the wake of a statement by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Sunday attacking the Pakistani leadership in exasperated tones, demanding that it "take out" Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman Zawahiri.

"The Pakistan government has started to take on the Taliban and to take on al-Qaeda in south Waziristan, but we have got to ask "ourselves why eight years after September 11, nobody has been able to spot or detain or get close to Osama bin Laden, nobody has been able to get close to Zawahiri, the number two of al-Qaeda," Brown told BBC.

Malik said "We are facing 9/11 everyday in Pakistan. If we come to know Osama is in Pakistan, I assure you we will take action."

Brown told the BBC that eight years after the 2001 attacks on the US, nobody had been able "to spot or detain or get close to" the al-Qaeda leader. He said more progress was needed "in taking out" Bin Laden and his number two Ayman Zawahiri. Brown has spoken broadly the same points to BBC and SKY News during the Commonwealth summit. He told Sky News that "We believe Osama bin Laden is in Pakistan...we will want to see more evidence of Pakistan action, not just troops in south Waziristan but the whole of government machinery".

Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani is due to meet Brown in 10, Downing street this week.

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H S Rao in London
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